Let's be honest for a moment. Not long, just a moment. Won't hurt that much.
Without insulting anyone who currently is or has ever been in the military, Canada simply isn't a player, war-wise. Never a leading man, the country has historically embraced supporting roles. Canada's been the good-natured buddy who throws himself on a grenade to save everyone else, or the guy who rushes headlong into certain death because to do otherwise would be dishonourable. Canada doesn't start wars, threaten others with nuclear annihilation, or overthrow unfriendly governments. Canada doesn't have The Bomb, which puts us somewhere well below Pakistan in the Threat to Humanity race.
The thought of this country invading another country or actually starting a war seems as absurd as the idea of Justin Bieber doing a tribute album of Neil Young covers. Okay, maybe not that absurd... but farfetched nonetheless. I mean, heck, simply getting around to buying military hardware has been an angst-ridden exercise for successive Canadian governments.
Perhaps because of that, Canada doesn't really have what you might call an external enemy. We don't fear the terrorist boogieman the way the U.S. or even Britain seems to. We lack the international skullduggery infrastructure to conjure up real threats to our national security. Our internal network of spies bears closer resemblance to the black and white duo who used to grace the pages of Mad magazine than a crack intelligence network. We largely "borrow" threats to appease the paranoid Americans rather than perceive any ourselves.
It's inconceivable we would ever go to war with, say, France over Saint Pierre and Miquelon the way the English did with Argentina over the Falklands three decades ago. It's so... so unCanadian. We worry about the sovereignty of the Arctic but we'll never have a military infrastructure sufficient to "defend" it against frozen interlopers.
Truth be told, our continued existence relies on close ties with our southern neighbour, the rule of international law, good relations with most of the rest of the world, and a global profile resembling a prairie landscape. We are easily overlooked and in the current geopolitical climate, that is a blessing.
Despite the occasional chest beating coming out of Ottawa and the uncomfortable transition of the Canadian Forces from peacekeepers to combat troops, Canada for the most part does everything it can to foster its Mr. Rogers-like good neighbour profile. We welcome immigrants and refugees, albeit forcing them to drive taxi instead of using their medical or engineering degrees. We cling stubbornly, if less proudly, to the tenets of multiculturalism. And our politicians tend not to harp on the shortcomings of other countries, thus depriving the leaders of those countries the reciprocal pleasure of harping on our own.