Canadian national security task force fears the USA is 'backsliding' into a 'source of threat and instability'

Canadian national security task force fears the USA is 'backsliding' into a 'source of threat and instability'
Donald Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 (Wikimedia Commons).

While the United States appears to hold true to the ideals of democracy, Freedom House, an international group that promotes global democracy, warned that the country is backsliding.

"Its democratic institutions have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan pressure on the electoral process, bias and dysfunction in the criminal justice system, harmful policies on immigration and asylum seekers, and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity, and political influence," said the site.

The watchdog group said that the U.S. slipped 11 points in the past ten years. The U.S. is now ranked below Argentina and Mongolia.

According to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), the government to the north is fearful of what that might mean for them. Former national security advisers and directors at the Center for Strategic and International Studies warned Canada that the U.S. could become a "source of threat and instability" in the coming years.

Writing for CBC, Catharine Tunney cited those experts pondering a reconsideration of the alliance with the U.S.

Citing things like Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump's attempt to overthrow the government, and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they have a growing list of anti-democratic warnings. Their data gathering comes from top-secret information and a briefed cabinet on emerging threats. It warns that Canada has been complacent and warned it's time to tackle things like Russia and Chinese espionage.

"The United States is and will remain our closest ally, but it could also become a source of threat and instability," the report says.

"The 'democratic backsliding' in the United States, a rise in cyberattacks and climate change," said the report.

"We believe that the threats are quite serious at the moment, that they do impact Canada," said former Canadian national security adviser Vincent Rigby, a co-author of the report. "We don't want it to take a crisis for [the] government of Canada to wake up."

The main point for Canada to pivot has to do with the U.S. While Canada has its own extremist groups, according to intelligence reports, they are coordinating with the United States.

"There are growing transnational ties between right-wing extremists here and in the U.S., the movement of funds, the movement of people, the movement of ideas, the encouragement, the support by media," Rigby said.

The trucker convoy was a big wake-up call, he said. The small minority of angry truckers furious over the Canadian vaccine mandate resulted in a stand-off on the streets of Ottawa. Approximately 90 percent of truckers were vaccinated, but those under 10 percent were infuriated by the mandate. They sat in the streets blocking residents from work and home. They honked until all hours of the night. American anti-vaccine activists have adopted a similar protest, but their endeavors have been less successful.

"When we think about threats to Canada, we think about the Soviet military threat, we think about al-Qaeda, we think about the rise of China, we think about the war in Ukraine. All of these are true. But so is the rising threat to Canada that the U.S. poses," said Thomas Juneau, co-director of the task force.

"It certainly would not be couched in a way of, 'You're the source of our problems.' That would not be the conversation. The conversation would be, 'How can we help each other?'" he said. "We had those conversations during President Trump's tenure and business continues. Does it become a little bit more challenging when you have a president like Mr. Trump? Absolutely, without a doubt. But we are still close, close allies."

Rigby and Juneau are hopeful that the report will launch a new strategy moving forward.

"I know there's a certain cynicism around producing these strategies ... another bulky report that's going to end up on a shelf and gather dust," said Rigby. "But if they're done properly, they're done fast and they're done efficiently and effectively — and our allies have done them — they can work and they're important."

Read the full report at CBC.

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