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Martin may sign "Star Wars" agreement in secret PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 30 June 2004 02:03
Sara Kemp of the Ottawa - based Polaris Institute notes that the Martin government could sign an agreement with the U.S. to partcipate in missile defense without conssulting Parliament. Here's how...  
Hi everyone,

With the election behind them, the Liberal minority government may soon sign
on to the US missile defence system in secret.

Although former Defence Minister and missile defence supporter David Pratt
was not re-elected, we must not assume that Canada's decision to sign o­n to
the US missile defence system will be delayed.  In fact, the NORAD agreement
will likely be amended in the next few weeks to allow for missile defence,
and the US is stepping up pressure o­n Canada to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the US government which will finalize Canadian
participation in the US missile defence system.

Amending NORAD and signing a Memorandum of Understanding o­n missile defence
DO NOT REQUIRE A VOTE IN PARLIAMENT: it is as simple as an exchange of
letters between the US and Canadian governments.  Recently, the Australian
government signed a 25-year MOU with the US o­n missile defence.  This
quarter-century commitment may be a good indication of what the Canadian-US
MOU may look like.

If the UK and Australian decisions to sign o­n to the US missile defence
system are any indication of how this process will unfold, the signing of a
MOU will likely be done in secret, without a vote in parliament.  The
Canadian Liberal minority government knows that missile defence is unpopular
in Canada, as it is unpopular in Australia and the UK.  So instead of
allowing for a democratic process, or even waiting to see the results of the
Canadian defence and foreign policy reviews which will surely indicate that
missile defence is not a priority for Canada, the Liberals will sign o­n by
stealth.

However, we have the results of the recent election o­n our side.  A minority
government can not plough through with their own agenda without risking the
wrath of the other parties.  Although the Conservatives definitely support
missile defence, the NDP and Bloc are firmly against it.

Today, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and NDP Leader Jack Layton publicly stated
that they will continue to oppose missile defence.  It is crucial that the
NDP and Bloc continue to state that there will be consequences if the
Liberals persist in paving the way for Canadian participation in missile
defence.  They must state that any decision to amend NORAD will be regarded
as "participation in missile defence through incrementalism".

Please lobby your MP and write letters to the editor.  This is an extremely
urgent matter.

More to follow,

Sara


--------------------------------------
Sara Kemp
Coordinator,
Canadian Campaign to Oppose Missile Defence
(613) 237-1717 ext. 106




U.S. envoy to Canada: 'The clock is ticking' o­n missile plan:
Minority government threatens PM's pledge he'll support shield
The Ottawa Citizen
Wed 30 Jun 2004
Page: A1 / Front
Section: News
Byline: Sheldon Alberts
Source: The Ottawa Citizen

WASHINGTON * The Bush administration urged Prime Minister
Paul Martin's minority government yesterday to go ahead with
controversial plans to join the U.S. *missile* *defence* shield, despite
the prospect of strong opposition in Parliament from the resurgent
New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois.

"The government has to make decisions and move forward, and we
expect that is what the government will do. We hope that the
government will make a favourable decision," said Paul Cellucci, the
U.S. ambassador to Canada. "As you know, we are looking at some
deployment in the fall. So the clock is definitely ticking here."

The results of Monday's federal election have thrown a cloud of
uncertainty over Canada's commitment to the continental *missile*
*defence* plan, which the U.S. intends to deploy beginning in
September.

The federal government entered formal negotiations with the
Americans over participation in the missile shield in January,
signalling "our intent" to join the system in a letter to the
Pentagon. But the Liberals will now need help from another party in
Parliament to authorize a Canadian role.

The opposition Conservatives support *missile* *defence*, but the
Liberals risk Bloc and NDP support o­n other legislative issues if
they press ahead with plans to participate.

The government's plans were also complicated by the electoral
defeat of Defence Minister David Pratt, o­ne of the shield's
strongest proponents.

"We know it's a minority government. We expect that will present
some challenges," Mr. Cellucci said. "On *missile* *defence*, we will
have to wait and see how that plays out."

U.S. analysts warned that Canada risks becoming a marginal player
in continental defence if it rejects taking even a nominal role in
the system.

"It is possible that Canada could just be left out," said Charles
Doran, director of the Centre for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins
University in Washington, D.C. "In which case, for the first time in
40 years, Canada would not effectively be a part of decision-making
critical to its national security. That is a pretty high cost for
any country to face in terms of its national interests."

Without Canada's involvement, the *missile* *defence* system would
likely be deployed outside of Norad, the joint Canada-U.S. military
command charged with protecting continental airspace. "We are
reviewing that right now in terms of when we will have to assign
that mission, the aerospace early warning mission, whether it will
go to Norad or to some other command," Mr. Cellucci said.

"We think Norad should continue to play its essential role in
safeguarding North America and we think that anything we can do to
maintain and strengthen Norad would be a good thing."

The U.S. intends to deploy five land-based missile interceptors in
Alaska by September and up to 20 by the end of 2005. But the system
has been plagued by technical problems and no final decision has
been made o­n when the system will be operational.

The Bush administration considers Canada's decision a "litmus test"
of its commitment to continental security, said Christopher Sands,
an expert in Canada-U.S. relations at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies.

"There was some hope here that Martin would do it. It wasn't done
before the election. It is hard to imagine the new government taking
that step," Mr. Sands said.

The Canadian election campaign caused barely a ripple of attention
in the U.S. media, and the results were all but ignored by major
American media organizations.

On a day when the handover of sovereignty to Iraq dominated news
coverage in the U.S., the New York Times carried a story o­n the
Canadian election results o­n page six of its national edition. The
story merited page 15 coverage in the Washington Post.

U.S. officials downplayed earlier speculation that the Bush
administration was nervous about potential political instability
that would be caused by a minority government.

"Canada has had an election. The government will be formed,
presumably after some delay in terms of the new cabinet," said o­ne
state department official. "And we will go o­n with relations with
Canada. There is really not a whole lot for us to say."


 


Pratt's defeat a serious blow to defence agenda: analysts:
Observers predict 'period of uncertainty and stagnation' in military
affairs
The Ottawa Citizen
Wed 30 Jun 2004
Page: A4
Section: Federal Election 2004
Byline: David Pugliese
Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Defence and security matters could now take a back seat as a
minority Liberal government scrambles to find its way in an arena
likely dominated by social and health issues, say political and
military analysts.

Officers at National Defence headquarters privately voiced their
concerns yesterday that they have lost their main voice in cabinet
with the defeat of defence minister David Pratt. The Nepean-Carleton
MP, who was considered extremely knowledgeable in defence matters,
had been pushing hard for re-equipping the Canadian Forces and for
Canada to assume a role in the U.S. *missile* *defence* shield, a
proposal supported by many in the military leadership.

But the loss of Mr. Pratt, and the fact that Prime Minister Paul
Martin will likely have to strike deals with the NDP or Bloc
Quebecois to keep his government operating, doesn't bode well for
defence, say analysts. Neither the Bloc nor NDP are seen as strong
supporters of the Canadian Forces.

"It will be a period of uncertainty and stagnation o­n security
issues," said Allen Sens, a political scientist at the University of
British Columbia. "I think a lot of decisions that are really needed
won't get made."

He noted that it is also likely that a review of foreign affairs
and defence policy, expected to be completed in the fall, will be
delayed as the Liberals try to come to grips with their minority
situation. More controversial decisions, such as whether Canada will
join the Pentagon's *missile* *defence* shield, would also be stalled,
added Mr. Sens.

Mr. Martin came o­n strong in defence matters earlier in the year,
visiting Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B., to announce a $7
billion re-equipment package for the military and reaffirm his
support for the troops. During that announcement he was cheered by
army officers and soldiers.

But during the election campaign, Mr. Martin distanced himself from
defence issues, instead attacking Conservative leader Stephen Harper
for his plan to rebuild the Canadian Forces. o­n election night, Mr.
Martin emphasized health and child care and education as the issues
on which he wants to move ahead.

During the election, the Liberals stuck to their previously
announced equipment purchases, plus a new promise to boost the size
of the military by 5,000 members for the creation of a brigade for
peace support operations.

But David Rudd, executive director of the Canadian Institute of
Strategic Studies, said it is going to be a challenge for the
Liberals to deliver o­n those promises now. With existing brigade
groups already lacking the needed number of soldiers, Mr. Rudd
questioned the rationale for creating a new unit.

In addition, the push to create a new brigade comes during a period
when large numbers of military personnel are expected to retire.
"They'll probably need 5,000 more people just to compensate for
those leaving the service," Mr. Rudd noted.

But Mr. Rudd said the Liberals' minority status could give the
government a way out o­n following through with their defence
promises. "They could easily say that given the current
circumstances, they don't feel it is time to move ahead with these
proposals," Mr. Rudd said.

The Liberal party also did not release timelines o­n when it planned
to create the new brigade, he added.

Defence officials said yesterday they are still sticking to the
plan to announce which company will win the $3-billion contract to
build new maritime helicopters to replace the military's aging Sea
King choppers. Mr. Pratt had said during the election that an
announcement would be made by July 15, but department officials said
that won't be happening. However, they noted the announcement of the
winner will be made by the end of the summer, a plan originally
devised earlier this year.

On the web for seven-day subscribers: The pragmatic David Pratt.
Read an archival profile.



 


--------------------------------------
Sara Kemp
Coordinator,
Canadian Campaign to Oppose Missile Defence
(613) 237-1717 ext. 106
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 June 2004 02:03
 

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