A Continuing Commitment: Canada and North Atlantic Security


202 pages
ISBN 0-919769-44-6
DDC 971.064'7




Edited by Alex Morrison
Reviewed by Paul D. Dickson

Paul D. Dickson is a post-doctoral fellow in military history at the
Department of National Defence.


The Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies has provided an important
collection of intelligent and informed assessments of Canada’s role in
post–Cold War Europe in the published proceedings of its 1992
conference. Although some of the discussion on the effectiveness of
structures like NATO and the Conference on Security and Co-operation in
Europe has been superseded by events in the former Republic of
Yugoslavia, this collection is a useful starting point for anyone
interested in the shape of Canada’s future relations with Europe.

The consensus that emerged from the conference is that Canada must
maintain a military relationship with Europe as well as contribute to
its security, not least for the perceived and real economic and
political benefits that such relations bring. The nature of Canada’s
commitments, however, is a point of contention. At this conference, a
split emerged between government employees/politicians and supporters of
a visible military commitment whose main concern was that fiscal
considerations were dictating the nature of strategic policy.

All the presenters believed that the current structures and
institutions are sufficient to deal with the problems of nationalism and
social unrest that have accompanied communism’s decline. Recent
events, however, suggest that political will is the key to any effective
and unified response, and none has been evident thus far. How a
concerted policy is to be enforced and force projected is not dealt with
in this collection, despite its fundamental importance to enhancing
North Atlantic security against the types of threats it is likely to
face in the near future. Similarly, when dealing with the benefits
Canada obtains from a strong military relationship with Europe, few
presenters ventures beyond impression, although this undoubtedly
reflects the limitations of such conferences as well as the intangible
nature of many of the benefits.


“A Continuing Commitment: Canada and North Atlantic Security,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/12251.