The spy-balloon saga carries a down-to-earth message about Canada’s defence

The spy-balloon saga carries a down-to-earth message about Canada’s defence

By Shachi Kurl, President

Balloons! For 10 days in February, we were captivated by them. Flying through the air / How did they get there / Where did they come from / Was much harm was done? *

It feels like the stuff of The Tragically Hip or Blue Rodeo. Northern balladeers, paying homage to the quirky and the Canadian. And so it was — mostly — quirky, with U.S. officials saying three of the four unidentified floating objects brought down in recent days were most likely “benign,” and one U.S.-based hobby group openly speculating that one of the balloons might have belonged to them.

And so the issue might have floated away, but for that first object that also spent time over Canadian airspace: an alleged Chinese spy balloon. The presence of this more sinister object (the Chinese government claims it was merely a weather balloon that blew off course) has renewed conversations on the general lack of awareness about how our defence systems with our American partners actually operate, and our own readiness and ability to defend ourborders, especially the Arctic frontier.

Some politicians scoffed and harrumphed. Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong complained in a tweet about the fact that it was a U.S F-22 military jet that took out the balloons, tweeting “hard questions” were required regarding the “state of the Canadian armed forces.”

Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.

Image – Dylan McLeod/Unsplash

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