NDP leader shoots down missile defence program: Layton warns it will
spark arms race
Artists show support at church rally
BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH, OTTAWA BUREAU
Friday, June 11, 2004
The U.S-led missile defence program will spark a dangerous new arms
race and Canada should have no part of it, NDP Leader Jack Layton
Layton used a rally at a downtown Toronto church last night to lash
out against the proposed program, denouncing it as a costly, ill-
conceived hold-over from the Cold War that will ultimately put weapons
And as he vowed to make missile defence an election issue, he got
some high-profile help from members of Toronto's arts scene, who added
their own angry voices in condemning the proposed program.
"It is shocking to see that Canada would even be considering
joining such a Cold War again," singer Steve Page, of the Barenaked
Ladies, told a crowd of about 200 people at the Church of Saint George
Pianist Anton Kuerti said the costs of the program would make the
sponsorship scandal look like a "little appetizer."
"We need to be getting rid of missiles, not encouraging others
to build more," he said.
Noted environmentalist David Suzuki said the scheme, which involves
using ground-based interceptors to shoot down incoming missiles, is
"It's madness to think it would work," he said.
Canada is currently in talks with the United States about joining
in the program. But unless voters reject the idea in this election,
the first phase could be deployed this fall, Layton said, "and
we'll be on the road to the next arms race."
"I do not think the young people of this planet want that future,"
would call for vote on missile defence
June 9, 2004
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said yesterday a Conservative government
would put to Parliament a decision on whether to participate in the
U.S. initiative on Ballistic Missile Defence.
The Conservative platform advocates a combat-ready military force,
but also free votes on all but budgetary matters.
Harper said the party hasn't made a decision on participation, but
cast that decision as important for Canada's sovereignty.
"I certainly want to discuss this situation with the Americans.
We have significant participation of Canada in NORAD. And for us,
it's important for a sovereign country to have a part of our air defence.
"And I don't want to see a situation in the future where the
United States controls our air defence," Harper said.
"But we need to see the proposals of the Americans and ... I'm
committed to ensuring that with a new military project, our Parliament
is consulted and approves with a commitment like that."
"Paul Martin says Canada will be involved if
he becomes prime minister," May 9, 2003.
"Missile defence: It was wrong then and it's
wrong now," by Paul Hellyer, minister of national defence from 1963 to
May 9, 2003
Paul Martin says
Canada will be involved if he becomes prime minister
SIKU CIRCUMPOLAR NEWS
If enemy missiles are ever intercepted and shot down over Canadian
airspace, Canada will want to be involved at least if front-running Liberal
candidate Paul Martin becomes prime minister in 2004.
Martin recently said
his government would participate in the National Missile Defence program that's
designed to knock out missiles before they reach North American targets.
a missile is going over Canadian airspace, I want to know. I want to be at the
table before that happens
. You want to talk about sovereignty? My sovereignty
says you don't send missiles up over my airspace unless I'm there," Martin
Sheila Copps, the federal Heritage Minister and leadership candidate,
said she opposes the NMD because it threatens world peace.
Missile Defense debate first surfaced last week when two cabinet ministers said
Canada is once again considering some involvement in the NMD.
Minister Bill Graham and Defence Minister John McCallum both said the NMD would
be good for Canadian security.
"We have a proud tradition of co-operating
with our American allies on the security of the continent," Graham said.
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said Canada hasn't received a request from
the U.S. to participate in the NMD system.
"There is the possibility
of a discussion," Chrétien said last week in Parliament. "We
have not started discussing it. We don't know exactly what will be the requirement.
Perhaps the wise thing to do is to try to find out what they are asking
of us if they ask anything. Let's wait to know if they are asking something,
The debate continued this week in the House, with cabinet
expected to recommend Canadian involvement.
defence: It was wrong then and it's wrong now
Canada: Globe & Mail
UPDATED AT 11:58 AM EDT Thursday, May. 15, 2003
is almost 40 years since U.S. secretary of defence Robert
McNamara asked me
if Canada would be interested in helping develop
an anti-ballistic missile
defence for North America. I was able to
say, "Thanks, but no thanks,"
which was the position of the Pearson
government and one that I fully endorsed.
were good reasons for not disturbing the balance of power and
arms race. The reasons for not joining NMD are even
more compelling today
when there is no military threat to North
America, and U.S. unilateralism
is creating a new source of
The Minister of National Defence,
John McCallum, and some of his
colleagues have been giving us the usual spin
that one would expect
from the military. Unless we are sitting at the table,
will not be heard; there will be industrial benefits; Canadian lives
might be saved; and if we don't make up our minds soon, the
will proceed without us.
Only the most naive of Canadians would suggest
that being at the
table with the Commander-in-Chief Northern Command would
give us one
iota of influence. This is one of the most spurious of arguments.
CincNorCom listens to his boss at the Pentagon and to no one else.
is possible that Canada might derive some minor industrial
benefits, but the
extent would probably be determined by our cash
contribution to NMD. We could
obtain equal benefit by spending the
same amount of money on equipment that
the Canadian Forces
desperately need for their assigned tasks.
that NMD will save Canadian lives is unquestionably the
most far-fetched of
all the arguments. We have no enemies with a
long-range missile capability.
In fact, the stated reasons for NMD --
protection from "rogue states"
-- is a cover story for its real
function, which is far more sinister.
the warning from our military that if we don't sign on soon
the U.S. will
proceed on its own is quite correct. That is exactly
what it will do because
the Bush administration is committed to it.
Our participation would undoubtedly
be welcome, especially if it
meant easier access to our territory, if required,
contribution toward the cost. But it doesn't really matter.
went through the same ritual with the Bomarc missiles in the
Years later, we learned that it was our air force
that wanted to play with
the big boys' toys and keep their cushy
jobs at Colorado Springs.
time, the stakes are higher and the consequences far more
serious. For the
first time in my memory, the U.S. administration is
dominated by a small group
from the Pentagon. Vice-President Dick
Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
deputy defence secretary
Paul Wolfowitz and a handful of their close associates
involved in a 1992 Pentagon document, Defence Planning Guidance,
post-Cold War strategy.
One of its key sections read: "Our first
objective is to prevent the
re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory
of the former
Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order
posed formerly by the Soviet Union."
When a copy was leaked
to the press, its belligerent tone caused
such a furor that it had to be withdrawn
and rewritten. The language
of the revised version, signed by Mr. Cheney when
he was secretary
of defence, was more diplomatic, but the intent remain unchanged.
The U.S. would build up its forces to the point where it could
any country on Earth without fear of significant retaliation.
Missile Treaty had to be abrogated. The U.S. had
to develop a multilayered
anti-missile system on a global basis to
protect not only the continental
United States but also military
The 2000 copy of
the document makes very clear that NMD is just one
step in the direction of
a system that will involve "interceptors"
and weapons of mass destruction
in space. It will be designed to
pulverize any military or civilian installation
on Earth and have
the capacity to zap any person in their garden.
picture is so abhorrent that it is beyond any sense of shock and
even though the plan is no secret, it is almost certain
that none of the Canadian
cabinet ministers who intend to make us an
accessory have read it. If they
had, surely they wouldn't recommend
anything so totally incompatible with
Instead, Canada should accept the long-standing invitation
Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio to launch a conference to seek
of an international treaty to ban weapons in space. That
would be a positive
Canadian contribution toward a more peaceful
Paul Hellyer was
minister of national defence from 1963 to 1967.