U.S. will not defend Canada from ballistic missile attack: General

The deputy commander of Norad says under current U.S. policy, the American military would not defend Canada in the event of a ballistic missile attack.

Lt.-Gen. Pierre St-Amand's comments come as the House of Commons' defence committee holds hearings into whether Canada is ready for an attack by North Korea.

They also appear to confirm the worst fears of many people who believe it is time for Canada to join the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield, after opting out of the program in 2005.

St-Amand says Canada would have no role in deciding what to do if a ballistic missile from North Korea or any other country was detected heading toward North America.

Military personnel working at the North American Aerospace Defence Command would instead be forced to sit and watch as U.S. officials decided how to act, even if the missile was heading toward Canada.

St-Amand's testimony follows that of officials from Global Affairs Canada and National Defence who say it is likely only a matter of time before North Korea is able to launch a nuclear attack on North America.