Trudeau says flying objects brought down in the past week may be linked
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday the four mysterious flying objects brought down over North America over the past week may be somehow related.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and RCMP personnel in the Yukon, Trudeau said there was reason to believe it was no coincidence that the four objects were discovered in such a short time.
“Obviously there is some kind of pattern. The fact that we’ve seen this in a significant way over the past week is a cause for interest and special attention, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
WATCH: ‘Obviously there’s some kind of pattern’
Trudeau said this was “a very serious situation” and pledged that both Canada and the US would take steps to protect territorial integrity from potential threats.
US service members earlier this month shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon drifting over the continent.
It followed the discovery of an unidentified object in the sky over Alaska, which was neutralized by the US on Friday.
On Saturday, the US Air Force, in cooperation with its Canadian counterparts, shot down another object flying in Canadian airspace over the Yukon as part of a NORAD mission. And on Sunday, another unidentified object was shot down in the area around Lake Huron, which straddles Michigan and Ontario.
The US and Canada have not publicly identified the source of the latter three objects.
Timeline of shot objects
Speaking to reporters at the White House, John Kirby, the US National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, said the first object spotted was clearly a Chinese spy balloon – and the balloon’s path shows he is interested in monitoring sensitive US military sites may be.
“These other three – they had no propulsion and they were not manoeuvred. We’re not sure if they had a surveillance aspect,” Kirby said.
Officials have not said whether the Chinese regime in Beijing is responsible for launching the objects identified over the weekend.
Now the question is whether there are more such objects in North American airspace, what their purpose might be and what the military has learned from those recovered so far.
Trudeau said the CAF and RCMP were conducting a joint mission to the area where the Yukon object was brought down.
Trudeau said wintry weather in the Northern Territory makes searching for debris difficult.
The unidentified object was mined over sparsely populated area, he said, and whatever is salvaged could pose a safety hazard.
It’s crucial to recover as much as possible to know exactly what violated Canada’s airspace, he said.
“A lot of analysis is being done at the highest levels of NORAD,” Trudeau said, adding that “the very best resources” from the CAF and RCMP have been deployed to handle the recovery effort.
Canadian Coast Guard on duty at Lake Huron
Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, who is also in charge of the Canadian Coast Guard, said CCGS Griffon will soon be in Lake Huron to help with debris recovery in a “key search area”.
The ship is carrying drone equipment and a drone operator, she said, and two Coast Guard helicopters based in Parry Sound, Ontario. are also on standby, ready to be deployed to search the lake.
WATCH: Ministers update on recovery of unidentified airborne objects
“We will do our best to secure this footage so we can better understand the purpose and operations,” she said.
Canadian officials told reporters Monday that the object shot down over Lake Huron was first spotted over Alberta.
Officials said they couldn’t say definitively what the objects are, but Major General could. Paul Prévost said one was a “suspicious balloon”. He said finding the objects is the first step in determining their purpose.
RCMP spokesman Sean McGillis said there’s a chance search teams might not be able to find them.
“We’re working very hard to find them, but there’s no guarantee we’ll find them,” McGillis said, noting that wintry conditions in both search areas are making the job difficult.
Trudeau said the US Air Force shot down the object over the Yukon because their planes were closer — not because Canada was unable to shoot down the spacecraft itself.
Trudeau said the Americans quickly dismantled it to keep the object from drifting in the dark.
“NORAD is one of the few joint territorial defense commands in the world,” Trudeau said.
“We will continue to work seamlessly and integrated. We’re not worried about who gets the credit. We are more concerned about the results we are striving for.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre called the airspace intrusion “a clear violation of our national sovereignty” and said it should be “a wake-up call” for the Liberal federal government.
Pointing to the US role in shooting down the object over the Yukon, Poilievre said, “After eight years of Justin Trudeau, Canada cannot defend itself.”
“The prime minister’s failure to counter foreign interference and adequately resource our military for eight years has made us more vulnerable to foreign aggression,” he said.
The government has made some investments in the military in recent months.
In the last federal budget, Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland pledged approximately $4.9 billion over six years to modernize NORAD and replace the aging Northern Alert System, which is used to detect aerial threats. This money will help Canada and the US build a new Northern Approaches surveillance system.
Last month Canada also signed the definitive contract to purchase F-35 jet fighters to replace the Air Force’s aging CF-18s. Canada is buying 88 of the fighter jets, with deliveries slated to begin sometime in 2026.