Junior Foreign Affairs minister Peter Kent is suggesting Canada stands ready to throw its full military weight behind Israel, telling a Toronto publication that "an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada."
His office says Mr. Kent, the minister of state for Foreign Affairs of the Americas, was merely "paraphrasing" what Stephen Harper has said in the past regarding Israel.
"It's not too far from what the [Prime Minister]has said," Norm McIntosh, Mr. Kent's chief of staff, told The Globe.
But the junior minister's statement would appear to be evidence that the Harper government is shifting to an ever more solidly pro-Israel stance.
Mr. McIntosh declined to confirm whether this means that Canada would automatically declare war on an aggressor that attacked Israel.
In an interview published in Shalom Life, dated Feb. 12, Mr. Kent said: "Prime Minister Harper has made it quite clear for some time now and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada."
Mr. McIntosh pointed to Mr. Harper's statements from May, 2008, marking the 60th anniversary of Israel, where the Prime Minister said: "Our government believes that those who threaten Israel also threaten Canada, because, as the last world war showed, hate-fuelled bigotry against some is ultimately a threat to us all, and must be resisted wherever it may lurk."
"In this ongoing battle, Canada stands side-by-side with the State of Israel, our friend and ally in the democratic family of nations," Mr. Harper said. "We have stood with Israel even when it has not been popular to do so, and we will continue to stand with Israel, just as I have always said we would."