I tend to subscribe to the diversion theory, diversion for what purpose? Who knows. We all know the major players can see just fine from satellites. I agree with @Ernst
that the only benefit to floating balloons over enemy territory that any of us plebs could possibly discern is how long until they are discovered and intercepted. Is that the only reason? Lord only knows.
What I just found out today, CCP activities have been a huge concern for the US and Canada and the rest of the 5 Eyes partners for decades. AND, that Canada's inaction on the domestic influence and infiltration of CCP proxies has been a real thorn in the side to US intelligence for a very long time. It just disappoints and saddens me terribly to learn this. Though I've suspected as much, it's always hard to hear it from people in the know. We've watched our armed forces dwindle and languish over many decades now and have watched the Canadian intelligence community be treated with disdain for sounding the alarm.
(As an example...in the days immediately following 9/11, as soon as air traffic was allowed to resume, my mom was flying home from a visit with my brother. This was a Canadian, domestic flight from Calgary, AB to Vancouver, BC. There was an FBI agent, obviously armed and assigned to that flight. That tells you and me just what US security and intelligence thinks of Canadian capabilities. I guarantee you there was no asking, no requesting, no back and forth in those "discussions" between the USA and Canada. It was already in motion before the first courtesy call even hit the Prime Minister's office...of that I am certain.)
Even if we started today, without an imminent threat on our doorstep (don't say Russia, cuz they've been there for a long time too...we've just been wilfully blind) it will take decades to rebuild the CAF to anything even remotely close to what we were immediately after WWII...if we ever get there again.
Apathy, it would kill us if we let it. If that's all it was, maybe we could fix that with a good scare. Greed doesn't scare as easily. I don't think this problem is going away easily. Even in the face of huge scrutiny and pressure, the Turd has yet to even call for a public inquiry on Chinese interference in our elections...the tentacles run deep fellas. The scary part is, the intelligence whistle-blowers are saying that Canadian governments going back to the 90's would be shamed and embarrassed if all the dirt came to light. THAT is...that is reprehensible and that's just to start and saying it's reprehensible is being kind. And, when once again no one is called to account and made to pay the price, the whole stinking mess just keeps on going.
I am afraid that our western "culture" may have reached it's zenith some time ago and we are on the agonizing slide down to the end. Our best days are behind us I fear and only uncertainty looms in our future.
***Don't mean to derail the balloon thread, but it's all China mucking around in our affairs related to one degree or another.***