The Canadian flag flies from the stern of HMCS Shawinigan, already docked at the Crawford Wharf, as HMCS Summerside heads towards the dock at Kingston, Ont. on Wed., Sept. 21, 2011.
Credits: MICHAEL LEA\THE WHIG STANDARD\QMI AGENCY
"Canadian preparations would primarily be focused on the aftermath of an attack by either the Israelis or the United States against Iranian installations," said Philippe Lagassé, a defence expert and professor at the University of Ottawa.
"I would be very surprised and very shocked, actually, if Canada took part in any pre-emptive action alongside those two countries."
His comments follow Defence Minister Peter MacKay's musings about military planning.
In an exclusive weekend interview with Sun News Network, MacKay said Israeli-Iranian conflict is "something the national defence department takes very seriously" and that the military is "always preparing."
That's just "basic prudent planning," according to Christian Leuprecht, a professor with Royal Military College and Queen's University.
With a frigate already in the Mediterranean Sea for a NATO anti-terror mission, Leuprecht says the focus for military planners is likely the Royal Canadian Navy.
"Do we send a frigate to help the Israeli navy enforce its blockade against the Gaza Strip, for instance, so that the Israeli navy can focus on other problems?" asked Leuprecht.
Lagassé agrees Canada's focus would probably be on the navy, especially if Iran reacts to a pre-emptive strike by trying to block the Straits of Hormuz, a highway for oil tankers, or by restricting Persian Gulf access.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Canadian naval forces operating in and around the area, or perhaps other ships, were asked to contribute either to an American or a NATO effort to re-open the straits or to defend the area against Iranian vessels," Lagassé said.
But if a prolonged conflict threatened Israel's territorial sovereignty, Leuprecht said Canada's response might become more muscular.
"Canada would not want Israel's ability to act as democratic force in the Middle East to be compromised."