National Post: How prepared is Canada for a nuclear attack? ‘We get on our knees and pray’
It is “only a matter of time” before North Korea develops a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of reaching North America, said Stephen Burt, assistant chief of defence intelligence. And Canada would be essentially defenceless should such a missile be launched.
Or as James Fergusson, director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, testified in front of the Standing Committee, “We get on our knees and pray.”
He and other experts agree that the kind of global war of total annihilation feared during the 1980s is now unlikely. But a nuclear exchange would nonetheless be devastating. The Nukemap, an online tool created by science historian Alex Wellerstein, shows the projected impact of nuclear warheads on different cities. It forecasts that 728,000 people would be killed if a 150-kiloton bomb — believed to be the size of the one tested by North Korea in August — were detonated above New York City. Detonated over downtown Vancouver, the same bomb would kill an estimated 98,000 people….
Fergusson, however, told the House of Commons committee it’s unclear how well North Korea has mastered missile guidance systems — meaning a misfire is possible. Canada could also be what he called a “demonstration target.” A North Korean regime on the verge of defeat in a conventional war might “look at Canada and say, ‘We can fire at Canada, undefended, along a path which would demonstrate our ability to hit Washington D.C.,’” he said.