Given heated anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from Iran’s leadership, it may be well to ask whether Canada might sign a mutual agreement that would oblige it to go to Israel’s defence should the latter be attacked? As a strong believer that Israel has a right to exist, I’d welcome such a pact.
“The steps that we’re taking today are in fact bringing our countries closer together, and they are also allowing us to further build on a strong foundation of co-operation that will build tangible results, not just to our two militaries, but to Canada and Israel more broadly.”
– MP Peter MacKay
A mutual-defence agreement, apparently, is not at all farfetched, for, as reported by the National Post, “Canada and Israel are about to complete a number of defence co-operation agreements that will significantly tighten military bonds between the two countries as tensions grow over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” And Defence Minister Peter MacKay refused on Wednesday to rule out such an agreement.
Under the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada has dropped all pretence of neutrality in Arab-Israeli dealings. And, as it’s become clear through positions taken at the United Nations and elsewhere, Canada is an Israeli ally. The Conservative government, in fact, has been criticized here and abroad for its unambiguous pro-Israel policy.
With war between Israel and Iran becoming a real possibility—the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency released a report last week detailing Iran’s alleged efforts to build a nuclear arsenal—Israel’s allies need to take tangible steps to confirm their support of the Middle East’s only Western-style democracy. It’s nice to see Canada front and centre in this regard, as Mr. MacKay seems set to cement the bi-lateral relationship with the mortar of international defence co-operation agreements.
Mr. MacKay and his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, said in Ottawa they expect to complete negotiations by the end of the year.