Harper open to missile defence?

Prime Minister Harper told reporters last week that the Canadian government has not changed its position on missile defence. But he declined to rule out joining the program in the future (Steven Chase, “Harper won’t rule out Canada joining U.S. missile defence program,” Globe and Mail, 5 June 2014):

Speaking after a Group of Seven meeting in Brussels, the prime minister said Canada has not changed its position.

But, he added, Canada is taking note of “changes occurring in the world.”

“Policies like this are examined on an ongoing basis to see whether they serve the security interests of Canadians,” Mr. Harper told reporters in Brussels.

“It was our judgment in the past that Canadians did not need the security of participation in the anti-ballistic missile defence system. Obviously there are changes occurring in the world and we will continue to examine whether that does or does not serve Canadian interests and we will make whatever decision is in the best security and safety interest of Canadians.”

The governing federal Conservatives appear to be trying to gauge the Canadian public’s appetite for joining the U.S. missile defence program.

Speaking publicly last month, James Bezan, the Conservative parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Defence, said there is concern about the accuracy of missiles being developed by rogue states that might target the United States but end up striking Canada.

Tory-dominated committees in both the Senate and House have been examining the merits of the U.S. program, which former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin opted against joining in 2005.

Last month, two former Liberal defence ministers appeared before a Senate committee to say they feel the time is right for Canada to join the U.S. missile shield program.

Previous coverage on Ceasefire.ca here.

Photo credit: DND

Tags: Ballistic Missile Defence, Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Stephen Harper