Nils Ørvik

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Person.png Nils Ørvik   AlchetronRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Skåtøy, Norway
Died2005-02-10 (Age 87)
Developed the "defense against help" concept, where Canada's contribution to common North American “defense" protected it from US infringements on Canadian territorial sovereignty

Nils Ørvik was a Norwegian historian who also worked in Canada.


Ørvik was a Ph.D. Researcher at the Norwegian Armed Forces' Department of War History from 1951 to 1963. He was a lecturer in political science at the University of Oslo from 1963 to 1971.

His 1970 Bilderberg performance must have been noted, as he was headhunted to Canada.

Ørvik was Professor of International Politics at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario (Canada), from 1973. He was director of the newly founded Canadian Center for International Relations, which conducts research in matters of national and international security and other aspects of international relations, from 1975 1985.[1]

Defense against Help

Ørvik developed the idea of "defense against help" —that Canada’s continuing contribution to common North American “defense” (including buying expensive US weapons systems) dissuades the United States from offering excessive “help” in the form of regular infringements on Canadian territorial sovereignty.[2] This idea of course works as a rationale for further subservience to US needs and demands.

Given the helpful, but ominous, role which the United States played in Canada’s national security due to strategic interdependence, Ørvik thought that the concept justified a stronger Canadian Armed Forces better prepared “to defend our part of the continent, [and to lessen] the probability of unrequested American help.[3]

In 2010, Philippe Lagassé, a Canadaian defense acadmic, broadened the idea:

 Today, Canadian defence against help is as much about passing legislation, improving police and intelligence capabilities, and tracking shipments and money as it is about antisubmarine warfare, aerospace defence, and military aid of the civil power. As a result, when analyzing whether Canada is pursuing a defence-against-help strategy, today’s scholars must pay as much attention to Canada’s refugee policies as they do to Canadian defence spending. When they do so, they discover that defence against help explains Canada’s behaviour quite well. Moreover, even when gazes are turned squarely on Canada’s continental defence efforts, the country appears to be attaining its defence-against-help objectives. This implies that descriptive uses of Ørvik’s catchphrase are likely to remain more appealing than his prescriptive admonitions. [4]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/197017 April 197019 April 1970Switzerland
Hotel Quellenhof
Bad Ragaz
the 19th Bilderberg meeting, in Switzerland.


  3. Nils Ørvik, “The Basic Issue in Canadian National Security,” 8-1 - cited in
  4. Philippe Lagassé, “Nils Ørvik’s ‘Defence against Help’: The Descriptive Appeal of a Prescriptive Strategy,” International Journal 65/2 (2010): 464