For now, Canada unlikely to join in if U.S. invades Iraq

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

TORONTO -- Canada is unlikely to join a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq unless proof emerges that Saddam Hussein plans to attack the Western world, Defense Minister John McCallum said.

In comments published Tuesday with Canadian newspapers, McCallum said the government had yet to decide whether to take part in a military campaign against Iraq, but he believed there was insufficient evidence now to justify Canadian participation.

Shane Diaczuk, a defense ministry spokesman, confirmed the accuracy of comments attributed to McCallum.

"While we continue to support the war on terror, the Canadian government hasn't taken a position on Iraq except to indicate nervousness," the Globe and Mail quoted McCallum as saying. "As it stands now, it seems very unlikely that we would participate in a war against Iraq."

In the Maclean's interview, McCallum responded to where Canada would stand by saying: "From what we know today, I would be very skeptical about us having any participation."

McCallum went on to say they can't entirely say no because the decision depends on evidence that Hussein would attack the entire Western world.

His comments reflected growing Canadian unease with the U.S. war on terrorism.

While Canada pledged backing for its neighbor and largest trade partner in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, it has scaled back participation in the Afghanistan military campaign.

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