April 7, 2013 11:54 am
Updated: April 7, 2013 2:59 pm

It’s time for Canada to join ballistic missile defence: former diplomat


As nuclear-armed North Korea continues to threaten war, a former Canadian diplomat says it is time for Canada to reconsider its decision to not join a ballistic missile defence program.

“You can’t be sure whether something aimed at the United States isn’t going to strike Canada. Our interest is in protecting Canadians, ” Colin Robertson said in an interview on the Global News program The West Block with Tom Clark.

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Robertson’s call comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un began mobilizing long range missiles and cleared his army to launch a nuclear attack on North America. Diplomats in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang have also received warning that their safety will not be guaranteed past Wednesday and have been urged to leave.

Although no one is absolutely convinced Kim has the capability to follow through with his threats, the United States has sent a land-based missile defence weapon to Guam, where it has a base. The weapon would detect any attacks and could likely keep Canada safe — even though both the Stephen Harper Conservatives and the Liberal government before that have both refused to endorse the protective umbrella.

“The circumstances have changed and it’s probably time to reconsider that decision,” Roberston said. “Why wouldn’t we be part of this, particularly because conditions are changed and now our homeland is threatened?”

If Canada joined ballistic missile defence, Robertson said, it wouldn’t mean putting weapons on Canadian soil.

Instead, Canada’s main contribution would be satellite technology to track missiles coming over the North Pole.

“This takes us back to Canada’s geography and our critical placement as kind of the backdoor, or the screen, towards America,” Robertson said.

While there’s an open invitation for Canada to join ballistic missile defence, Robertson said he doesn’t expect U.S. officials to pressure their Canadian counterparts into making a decision.

“They understand the Canadian position,” he said. “They do not want to be George Bush … Eisenhower or Kennedy – don’t push Canada because you create such a reaction in Canada, that becomes the issue. It becomes Canada versus the United States, and that’s not where they want this to be.”

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