Canada must have 'broader discussion' about missile defence: Toews
Published Sunday, April 21, 2013 1:09PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 21, 2013 6:50PM EDT
As North Korea’s nuclear threats against North America continue to intensify, Canada’s Public Safety Minister says the government must have a ‘broader discussion’ about missile defence.
CTV News has learned from U.S. sources that in light of ongoing threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the U.S. has asked Canada to participate in an anti-ballistic missile shield.
Appearing on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, Toews would not confirm or deny the reports. When asked by host Kevin Newman whether Canada needs missiles in its arsenal for security, Toews replied: “I think we need to have a broader discussion about that and I'm not prepared to venture an opinion at this time.”
Toews added: “What I can say is co-operation with our allies, especially in relation to a terrorism-related threat, is absolutely essential to keeping Canadians safe.”
The Paul Martin Liberal government rejected calls to join the controversial U.S. Ballistic Missile Defence program in 2005 in the face of strong political opposition from the Bloc Quebecois. But the Conservative government has since said it is open to restarting talks on missile defence with Canada’s closest ally.
New Democrat MP and foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said Sunday that Canada should be moving towards stronger nuclear non-proliferation and “not act as if we’re going to have missiles sent at us tomorrow.”
“No one wants to encourage North Korea to continue down the path they’re going,” Dewar told Question Period. “The question is, is this the way to go?”
He said the Canadian government should instead pressure China, North Korea’s main ally, to urge the country to denuclearize in a peaceful manner.
Dewar added: “In 2005, it was not just Paul Martin that said no, Canadians overwhelmingly said no to this approach.”