North Korean threats buoy calls for Canada to join ballistic missile defence program

·Politics Reporter

Is it time for Canada to join the U.S. in a continental ballistic missile defence (BMD) program?

On Tuesday, according to Reuters, North Korea warned foreigners to leave South Korea to avoid being drawn into a nuclear war.

[ Related: North Korea urges foreigners in South Korea to evacuate amid rising tension ]

This latest threat comes amid a month of posturing from the North Korean regime which has included missile mobilizations and tests along with threats of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States.

Despite the acts of aggression, the experts don't seem all that worried.

"I agree with Jonathan Manthorpe of the Vancouver Sun and others that the likelihood of North Korea attacking South Korea is still small despite all the incendiary rhetoric coming from Kim Jong-un since January," former Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific and Yahoo! contributor David Kilgour said at speech on Monday.

"The world can only hope that sanity in the region will prevail."

But what if 'sanity'' doesn't prevail?

While Canada doesn't appear to be in any direct danger, a nuclear attack on the United States would certainly affect us and, because of that, there are renewed calls for North American BMD.

[ Related: How should Western countries deal with North Korea? ]

As recently explained by the National Post's Matt Gurney, the Paul Martin government nixed the idea in 2005.

"The ostensible reason given for the decision were fears over the weaponization of space and international controversy," Gurney wrote.

"In truth, it was more like fear of being seen as too close to Washington, during the unpopular presidency of George W. Bush. That was a shortsighted decision, one that has left Canada out of the loop ever since."

Colin Robertson, vice president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, suggests that North Korea could be the catalyst for Canada to get back on board.

"Membership in the alliance entails obligations. But it also brings great benefits that serve our national interests," he wrote for the Globe and Mail.

"Incorporating our satellite and land-based tracking facilities into Ballistic Missile Defence could make a difference in shielding Canadians should the missiles be launched. A Senate report in 2006 concluded that an effective BMD “could save hundreds of thousands of Canadian lives.

"Last summer, ministers John Baird and Peter McKay prepared a memorandum for Mr. Harper presenting Ballistic Missile Defence options. The Prime Minister decided the timing was not right. Circumstances have changed. BMD should now be incorporated into our ‘Canada First’ defence strategy."

Maybe Canadians would now be more open to the alliance considering how popular Barack Obama is north of the border.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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