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article imageCanada sets aside two bunkers over North Korea missile threat

By Karen Graham     Nov 30, 2017 in Politics
Rising tensions, particularly between North Korea and the rest of the world, have prompted Canada's federal government to review, and in some cases, take action on contingency plans to assure the continuity of the government in the event of a crisis.
CBC News Canada outlined what was happening in Ottawa in a report dated November 29, 2017. According to documents obtained by CBC through the access to information act, the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic wing of the Prime Minister's Office, drafted an agreement with National Defence in 2016 to open up bunkers on two military bases should the National Capital Region become "unviable."
The location of the two bunkers is classified, and they are only referred to as "Alpha and Bravo sites." The agreement, dated August 2, 2016, is part and parcel of a plan to assure "Continuity of Constitutional Government," which aims to "ensure minimal or no interruption to the availability of critical services" in the event of a natural disaster or crisis.
Parliament Hill in Ottawa  Ontario.
Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario.
Canada's contingency plans, known as CONPLANS. has been around for a long time. CONPLANS is an outline for the government and National Defense forces covering a number of emergencies, from floods and earthquakes to terror attacks and all-out war.
Canada looks at reviving Cold War plans
However, with the dangerously escalating "Twitter War" between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Trump, Canadian government officials are being forced to take the threat of a missile attack by the reclusive country seriously, regardless of it being a targeted attack or an accidental one. This is the reasoning behind the "Cold War" bunker plans.
Earlier this week, Pyongyang tested the Hwasong-15 intercontinental missile, which North Korea claims can be tipped with a "super-large heavy warhead" and is capable of striking anywhere on the continental United States. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was asked Wednesday what would happen should a missile land in Canada.
North Korea says it can now hit anywhere in the United States with a nuclear tipped missile  but ana...
North Korea says it can now hit anywhere in the United States with a nuclear tipped missile, but analysts think this ability remains some way off
"When it comes to any type of foreign threats, we take them extremely seriously," he said. "We've been looking at North Korea right from the beginning when I was given this portfolio. I am very mindful of the country's missile testing that they have been doing. We believe that the diplomatic solution is the way to go because I think that there is hope for it."
Andrew Rasiulis a defense expert with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says the early 1990s saw the end of the Cold War mindset among most nations. "After the Cold War was over, we stopped thinking about those things. It fell off the radar, so to speak. At the time, it was really a whole cultural shift."
Canadian Forces Base North Bay is an air force base located at the City of North Bay  Ontario about ...
Canadian Forces Base North Bay is an air force base located at the City of North Bay, Ontario about 350 km (220 miles) north of Toronto. The base is subordinate to 1 Canadian Air Division, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and is the centre for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) operations in Canada, under the Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters.
Magnum x at English Wikipedia
Canada's Cold War legacy
During the Cold War, when tensions between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world were sky-high, Canada's military had a series of bunkers where the members of the federal government could retreat, including the Diefenbunker, near Carp, Ontario.
In 1958, at the height of the Cold War and the infancy of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) threat, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker authorized the creation of close to 50 Emergency Government Headquarters, nicknamed "Diefenbunkers" by opposition parties across Canada. These bunkers became part of the government's Continuity of Government plan.
Diefenbunker gate and entrance in Carp  Ottawa  Ontario  Canada. This photo is of a cultural heritag...
Diefenbunker gate and entrance in Carp, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This photo is of a cultural heritage site in Canada, number 4169 in the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
There were also deep, underground complexes at North Bay and another center at the now-decommissioned military base in Calgary. Rasiulis notes that there is now a whole generation of public officials who have never had to think about things such as bunkers and missile strikes.
Rasiulis does think reviving the continuity of government plan is a good idea, though, even though he feels the chance of a North Korean missile hitting Canada very remote. But there is more to think about besides just continuity of government.
Maintaining the government in an EMP attack
People don't want to think about this, but a nuclear attack like the U.S. detonated over Japan is horrible to think about, but a nuclear blast that sets off an electromagnetic pulse (NEMP) or a high altitude EMP (HEMP) could be devastating in today's high-tech world.
The main conference room inside the Diefenbunker  an underground bunker  to provide continuity of Ca...
The main conference room inside the Diefenbunker, an underground bunker, to provide continuity of Canada's government activities that were legal and constitutional in case of a nuclear attack.
A nuclear EMP is the abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation resulting from a nuclear explosion. The resulting rapidly changing electric fields and magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges. an abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation resulting from a nuclear explosion.
An EMP attack could destroy the electrical grid nationwide, disable cell phones and other electronic equipment and even cause death on a wide scale. But as for continuity of government? Well, with everything today on computer discs, it would all be wiped out. And this is just the start - Sewage and water plants - basically, all public infrastructure would be crippled.
Sean Maloney, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and a Cold War expert, says, "That is just the start of the problem. People have not thought that through and they don't want to discuss it because it's too overwhelming for them."
The North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is desi...
The North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command's sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack
A commission set up by the George W. Bush administration in 2004 to study EMP's and the vulnerability of the U.S. to attacks was defunded by the Trump administration in September of 2017. In 2004, the commission warned: "the United States should undertake a national effort to reduce the vulnerability of interdependent infrastructure. Most critical infrastructure system vulnerabilities can be reduced below the level that potentially invites attempts to create a national catastrophe."
In all the years since that time, nothing has been done. Earlier this month, Congress reactivated the commission. And Canada needs to look into setting up a contingency plan in the event of an EMP attack. As the EMP Commission noted, “A crisis such as the immediate aftermath of an EMP attack is not the time to begin planning for an effective response.”
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