Nicholson said Canada has willingly entered into several bilateral arrangements, such as NATO, Norad and free trade, and Canadians understand that external and internal security threats make increased co-operation necessary.
Nicholson said the case for co-operation has already been made and the relationship with the U.S. works.
"I think Canadians accept that," he said. "I don't buy into the idea that somehow anybody's giving up anything."
Norad's commander, U.S. Gen. Charles Jacoby, was also part of the panel. He said current arrangements work because there is such confidence and trust on both sides of the border.
"I don't see it as a giving up or gaining equation," said Jacoby. "I think we have mechanisms in place that allow plenty of decision making space for our political leadership."
Both made the comments while part of a panel discussion at the opening of the sixth annual Halifax International Security Forum.
Forum president Peter Van Praagh said the three day event has attracted 300 participants from 60 countries, including a large U.S. congressional delegation led by U.S. Sen. John McCain.
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