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Missile shield doesn't fly as an issue: Liberal, Conservative positions are entrenched PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Tuesday, 15 June 2004 01:33
Ottawa Citizen: But these days, with a poll showing Mr. Broadbent heading to victory in his riding, and the Pentagon's unveiling of recent plans that would move ahead with the development of weapons in space as part of the shield, the NDP now counters it's [Defence Minister] Mr. Pratt who is out of date.

From: "Sara Kemp" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
To: "Peace Listserve" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Missile shield doesn't fly as an issue: Liberal, Conservative positions are entrenched; NDP fights o­n (and other news stories o­n BMD)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 09:51:54 -0400
Missile shield doesn't fly as an issue: Liberal, Conservative
positions are entrenched; NDP fights o­n
The Ottawa Citizen
Tue 15 Jun 2004
Page: C4
Section: Federal Election 2004
Byline: David Pugliese
Source: The Ottawa Citizen

In April, Defence Minister David Pratt took a swipe at the
NDP and its claims that the U.S. *missile* *defence* shield Canada is
looking to join is a throwback to president Ronald Reagan's
controversial Star Wars plan.

"Star Wars is an '80s concept just like Ed Broadbent," said Mr.
Pratt, referring to the former NDP leader who has come out of
retirement to run in Ottawa Centre.

But these days, with a poll showing Mr. Broadbent heading to
victory in his riding, and the Pentagon's unveiling of recent plans
that would move ahead with the development of weapons in space as
part of the shield, the NDP now counters it's Mr. Pratt who is out
of date.

This past week, NDP leader Jack Layton vowed to make Canada's
participation in the missile shield an election issue.

But it appears that in a political contest where voter anger is
focused o­n recent scandals, accountability and government waste, the
NDP leader could be facing an uphill battle.

At this point, the sides are well established in the *missile*
*defence* debate.

The Conservatives are eager for Canada to take part and have
repeatedly called o­n the government to sign o­n to the system, which
would use ground-based interceptors to shoot down rockets.

The NDP and Bloc Quebecois are opposed, warning it would lead to
weapons in space and start a new arms race. Mr. Layton and the
Bloc's Gilles Duceppe have accused the Liberals of already deciding
to take part in the shield, but keeping that information hidden from
the public until after the election.

The Liberals deny that, although they acknowledge they support the
idea of a Canadian role in the system.

They say no decision has yet been reached, but there is little
doubt the government wants a successful conclusion to negotiations
currently taking place. Indeed, Canadian officers have already taken
part in missile shield war games as they learn about how the system
would work.

On the thorny issue of whether the shield would place weapons in
space, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham has said such claims are
in the realm of science fiction. Besides, he notes, Canada would
walk away from any missile shield deal if such devices become part
of the system. Mr. Pratt has aggressively gone after the NDP,
accusing it of scaremongering by linking the shield to Star Wars.

That may be the political line for public consumption, but it's not
what Mr. Pratt and Mr. Graham's officials are saying behind the
scenes.

Last year, the Defence Department produced several studies
acknowledging that weapons in space, some with their genesis under
Mr. Reagan's Star Wars program, were to form an important part of
the shield in the future.

One study produced last spring acknowledged the shield may pave the
way for putting weapons into orbit and could threaten the peaceful
use of space for years to come.

American analyst Theresa Hitchens says the Liberal government's
claim that weapons in space are not part of the shield is highly
misleading.

While such a statement is true now, U.S. President George W. Bush's
administration is clearly headed toward launching weapons into
orbit, adds Ms. Hitchens of the Washington-based Center for Defense
Information.

She notes that in its recent budget request, the U.S. *Missile*
*Defense* Agency asked for an initial $47 million U.S. to start
development of a space-based interceptor to be ready for testing in
2012.

In February, the U.S. air force unveiled its plan to put weapons
into orbit and destroy other countries' satellites as part of a
strategy that views space as being dominated by the U.S. and its
allies. The plan, strikingly similar to the Star Wars scheme,
outlines the building of systems such as a space-based radio
frequency weapon and anti-satellite missiles.

Canadian defence analyst Alain Pellerin acknowledges space weapons
could come at a later stage in the shield's development. But he
questions whether that will even be an issue.

"I'm not convinced that the general public is too concerned about
having weapons in space," says Mr. Pellerin of the Conference of
Defence Associations lobby group.

The dilemma for Canada would come if and when space weapons go into
operation sometime after 2012. Does the government of the day then
follow through with Prime Minister Paul Martin's promise to withdraw
from the shield, which at that point will be fully controlled by the
joint Canadian-U.S. North American Aerospace Defence Command?

Not likely, argues Ms. Hitchens. "If you think you had a political
problem with the U.S. now over your decision not to support the Bush
administration o­n the Iraq war, just wait until you try to leave
*missile* *defence* o­nce you've signed o­n and it's up and running," she
says. "Then watch the fireworks really begin."


Edition: Final
Story Type: News
Length: 792 words

 

Harper aims to fix what isn't broken
The Record (Sherbrooke)
Tue 15 Jun 2004
Page: 6
Section: Community Forum
Byline: Ivy Weir
Column: Viewpoint
Source: The Record

'Embarrassing and gutless' he said. Canada was abandoning her
allies and 'cheering for Saddam Hussein.' Petulant anti-Americanism
guided the decision. Those were Stephen Harper's own words o­n our
country's refusal to join the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Seven out of
ten Canadians lauded the government's courageous stance which held
out for the missing U.N. sanctions to validate such a momentous
decision.

For a man who extols the virtues of grassroots support up to and
including a referendum to recall a Member of Parliament who strays,
Harper's position o­n Iraq was curiously out of step with the nation.
He even took the time to disavow any association with Canada's
official position in an article published in U.S. World Today in
which he supported the George W. Bush war unequivocally. Given the
consequences to date of that invasion, is it any wonder that Harper
is now trying desperately to backpedal?

To reveal such flawed judgment o­n such a major issue in complete
opposition to the Canadian electorate says a lot about Stephen
Harper. When prime ministers make decisions, they don't have the
luxury of second guessing if and when it becomes politically
expedient. The dead can't be unburied.

The U.S. *Missile* *Defense* System appears to meet with Harper's
approval without any pause for considering the consequences of
weaponizing space.

Dubbed Star Wars under the Ronald Reagan regime, sober U.S.
strategists themselves doubt that it is doable, much less that it
offers any effective defence of the continent in an age when box
cutters and an envelope of white powder can effectively bring the
most powerful nation o­n earth to a standstill.

A willingness to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override the
charter of rights promises a troubled future of reopening old wounds
on such loaded topics as Quebec separatism or the death penalty or
abortion. Allowing for free parliamentary votes o­n such policies
invites much more acrimony and discord than casual references to
them might suggest.

Harper is emerging as a throwback to the past, dealing with issues
already agreed upon by the Canadian electorate for those old enough
to remember or informed enough to know. Who wants to revisit
bilingualism or to generally unbalance major issues that were so
painstakingly woven into the fabric of the nation?

Who among us as we observe the convulsions occurring elsewhere in
the world has not remarked o­n how privileged we are to live in this
great and tolerant and stable country. Stephen Harper is obsessively
determined to fix what is not broken. He wants rigid laws that
punish crime, not those that prevent it. He wants to respect the
U.S. first amendment o­n the right to bear arms, forgetting that he
lives in another country that seeks an acceptable means to control
them. His shameless support of the Fraser Institute's right wing
agenda o­n health care while painstakingly omitting the word
'privatizing ' also deserves close scrutiny.

Concerns for the environment, a national day care plan, primacy of
the Charter of Rights don't consume much space in the doctrinaire
Harper bible.

His revivalist fervour subscribes to two commandments. Cut taxes
and increase military spending, deservedly unleashing warning
signals of again straying unto the Bush reservation. Canadians share
a healthy skepticism of the same so-called god who directs a nation
to wage war, just or unjust. Quebecers have good reason to remember
that confusing the lectern with the podium has not served us well in
the past.

What ails Canada can be corrected without traumatic realignment of
the body politic. As the election approaches and Harper's favourable
polls inch upward, his well-documented black and white conservative
policies fade to gray, all the better to lure the wider audience.

Let us not be so easily fooled or we will end up with the
government we richly deserve but don't really want. Picture o­ne
possible scenario of a Bloc Quebec with Harper reigning over the
rest of Canada. Could de facto separatism without a referendum in
sight be far behind ?


Edition: Final
Story Type: Opinion
Length: 664 words


Voters make their voices heard
The Spectator
Mon 14 Jun 2004
Page: A11
Section: News
Byline: Joan Walters
Source: The Hamilton Spectator

Roy Oommen

Engineer, MBA student

Hamilton Centre

For Roy Oommen, who believes voting is a privilege, none of the
major parties feel just right.

"What a depressing time to be a Canadian of majority age," he says.

"A colleague pointed out that if I'm so despondent, I should simply
not vote. But o­nly a hypocrite would salute the 60th anniversary of
D-Day, then not exercise the very privilege afforded to him or her
by those who died."

Oommen, 26, believes the Conservatives are intolerant and too
right-wing and that the NDP is anti-corporation.

"I happily work for o­ne of the large Canadian corporations, which
(Jack) Layton would tax into bankruptcy."

As for the Liberals, they "know how to squander and lose millions,
if not billions of dollars," he says. Plus, the party's "child-like
infighting" does not inspire confidence. Still, he says, at least
the Liberals have delivered balanced budgets and more employment.

"Given the lack of options," he guesses he has to "go with the
Liberals because the other two terrify me."

Ruth and Reuven Kitai

Retired

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale

Like many Canadians, Reuven and Ruth Kitai believe better public
health care and education are important election issues.

But they are particularly concerned about Canada's possible
involvement in the U.S. Ballistic *Missile* *Defence* plan (BMD), known
as Star Wars.

The U.S.-led program would deploy a BMD system for all of North
America by this fall.

The Paul Martin government continues to participate in discussions.

"We deem this to be an extremely undesirable and dangerous
undertaking," says Ruth.

"Canada is not threatened because our foreign policy is o­ne of
peacekeeping.

"The U.S. is endangered as a consequence of their meddling with the
internal affairs of and/or invading other countries."

The Kitais are leaning to the Liberals, but want more information
on what a Martin government would do o­n BMD.

Pat Klein

Retired nurse

Burlington

The issues that count most for Pat Klein centre o­n the welfare of
families and children -- from ethics to health care to poverty
prevention.

That's because "I, like lots of others, have given hundreds of
volunteer hours to programs that help kids in our community and
their parents," she says.

She looks for politicians who support traditional households,
because "stable families are clearly in the best interest of our
kids.

"As a society we need to strengthen our families rather than
continue to stress them."

Specifically, Klein wants to see better low-cost housing,
decent-paying jobs with benefits, so that parents are able to
adequately care for children, parenting courses and teaching
money-management to youth.

"But it would be hypocritical to demand that politicians alone
effect these changes.

"These are challenges for all responsible Canadians."

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

905-526-3302


Edition: Final
Story Type: News
Length: 448 words


--------------------------------------
Sara Kemp
Coordinator,
Canadian Campaign to Oppose Missile Defence
(613) 237-1717 ext. 106
www.ceasefire.ca/campaign

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 June 2004 01:33
 

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