Canada’s awkward AUKUS situation

A new report co-authored by former national security advisor Vincent Rigby found that not only did Canada’s allies leave it out of the AUKUS security pact, they never sent an invite.  

Catch up: In 2021, Australia, the UK, and the US formed AUKUS, a nice ‘lil security pact in the hot-button Indo-Pacific region. 

  • One of its two main pillars includes being very into submarines—and not the yellow ones, but the nuclear-powered ones.
  • Canada’s invitation got lost in the mail because its aspirations to operate a fleet of nuclear subs fell short of AUKUS ambitions.

Why it matters: According to Rigby, this cold shoulder “speaks volumes about the way Canada is perceived by its allies... that we're not necessarily seen as a significant player on the international stage.” The report also urges Canada to put together a bid to join AUKUS, especially as Russia makes overtures in the Arctic and China meddles in domestic affairs.

Yes, but: Without nuclear subs, Canada would have to join AUKUS on the basis of its other pillar, the transfer of military technology and intelligence. Canada has been criticized for its lack of investment in military technology, but reportedly has still inquired about joining the pact—a development Defence Minister Anita Anand has neither confirmed nor denied

Bottom line: Whether or not Canada joins AUKUS, there is growing pressure on the country to ramp up defence spending and increase its cooperation with allies.—QH