Canadians Ship out to the Gulf
Date: Tuesday, February 25 2003
Topic: Canadian Politics
As the Canadian destroyer HMCS Iroquois left Halifax harbour for the Persian Gulf yesterday, Gloria MacKay was torn between pride for her son and concern Canada might take part in a conflict she questions.
The Sarnia mother of Master Seaman Scott MacKay said she accepts Canada's role in the war against terrorism.
"That's his job," she said.
However, if the federal government assigns Canadian warships to support a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, MacKay said she has deep misgivings.
"It isn't necessary right now," the woman, in her 70s, said as she strained to see her son on the warship.
"I don't believe they need to be talking of going to a war yet. They should be negotiating a little more."
While she spoke, a bitter wind turned up whitecaps on Halifax harbour.
The stinging gusts brought tears to many eyes.
Mothers, among the 500 attending the sendoff, hugged their children tightly.
The new mission for the refitted, 31-year-old warship is to act as the command-and-control base for a multi-national task force of up to 20 ships, including two Canadian frigates.
It is the warship's second mission to the region in the last 10 months.
Once again, it will help enforce UN sanctions against Iraq, search the sea for terrorists and escort allied vessels in the lower part of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
But that mission could change if there is war with Iraq.
Defence Minister John McCallum confirmed on the weekend the roles of the destroyer and two smaller frigates could include providing protection to U.S. ships while an invasion of Iraq is underway.
Source: London Free Press By MICHAEL TUTTON