Rising global tension, notably over North Korea, has prompted Canadian federal officials to review and in some cases revise a series of critical contingency plans, including one that involves the evacuation of the federal cabinet to a secure military base outside of Ottawa.
The Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic wing of the Prime Minister's Office, drafted an agreement with National Defense to open up bunkers on two military bases should the National Capital Region become "unviable," according to documents obtained by CBC News under access to information legislation.
Each location is classified in the heavily redacted briefing and only referred to as "Alpha and Bravo sites."
The agreement is part of the federal government's overall plan for the "Continuity of Constitutional Government," which aims to "ensure minimal or no interruption to the availability of critical services" during an emergency or natural disaster in Ottawa.
The federal government has long had contingency plans, known internally as CONPLANS, for a variety of emergencies running the gamut between earthquakes and floods through terrorism to full-scale war.
What is different lately, according to experts, is that officials are being forced to think more often in Cold War terms, particularly when it comes to the threat of a North Korean missile striking Canada, either as an accident or by design.
On Tuesday, Pyongyang tested the Hwasong-15 intercontinental missile, which the regime of Kim Jong-un claims can be tipped with a "super-large heavy warhead" and is capable of striking anywhere on the continental United States.
Canada Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan was asked Wednesday what would happen should a missile land in Canada.
"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."
The notion that Canada could be hit by incoming missiles was part of the Cold War defense mindset and planning, which disappeared in the early 1990s, said Andrew Rasiulis, a defense expert with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
"After the Cold War was over, we stopped thinking about those things. It fell off the radar, so to speak," said Rasiulis, a former senior official at National Defense who once ran the Directorate of Nuclear and Arms Control Policy. "At the time, it was really a whole cultural shift."
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