House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was norad.

Topics

Question No. 221
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all other questions be allowed to stand.

Question No. 221
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is that agreed?

Question No. 221
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

May 29th, 2003 / 10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate this morning that the House leader of our party and ourselves have a difference of opinion on the interpretation of the rules. I thought that among all party members in the House, in following the rules, we treat each other in a gentlemanly way. Basically what happened was I got a call from the whip's office this morning at 7:45. He knew this meeting was in progress. He chose not to advise us but rather to come into the House and make that intervention, citing some previous ruling. I used to practise law. This is what we call trial by ambush.

In any event, what I want to do is state what I did not state this morning. This morning's meeting was a continuation of last night's meeting and it was in camera. That is a very important point. I am sorry that I failed to make that point when I was caught off guard this morning, and I wish you would consider it when you are deliberating this.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, I obviously have not spoken to the House leader in relation to what my hon. colleague has just stated, but I want to note that he has not indicated that the House leader was aware of the circumstances regarding translation prior to the meeting taking place.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the intervention that was just made suggested that the House leader did not know, or the whip did not know, that there was not simultaneous translation available. Where did he think that was coming from when the meeting clearly said that it was in the parliamentary dining room?

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Unless hon. members want to add something new, we are sword swinging here. I do not think I will allow that.

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Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

moved:

That this House affirm its strong support for NORAD as a viable defence organisation to counter threats to North America, including the threat of ballistic missile attack; and support giving NORAD responsibility for the command of any system developed to defend North America against ballistic missiles.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great honour to rise today and lead off this debate about national missile defence. However, before I go into detail about what ballistic missile defence, the BMD, program is all about, I believe it is useful to quote my leader, who is the only future prime minister who cares for this country.

It is taken from the forward to “The New North--Strong and Free”. It is the nationally acclaimed Canadian Alliance defence policy paper. That defence policy paper is recognized as having the only fresh thinking for the first time in over 10 years in the defence policy of our nation.

This primer on national defence policy should be required reading for all Canadians who wish to receive a truthful analysis on just how bad the current government has allowed the Canadian armed forces to deteriorate.

To quote the leader of the official opposition:

In a time of growing international instability, Canada’s military is inadequatelyequipped, under funded and short of personnel. A crisis in defence exists. Canadians are proud of the men and women who serve in the Canadian ArmedForces, but are increasingly uneasy, or even embarrassed, by the government’scontinued neglect and politicization of our national defence capabilities.

The indecision toward ballistic missile defence is part of that policy of neglect. History tells us that when military preparedness is overly underestimated, which no one can doubt is happening in Canada today, tragic results occur.

Canadians realize that the EH-101 helicopter contract was cancelled for political reasons. The Liberal Party has made a political football out of the need to replace the 40 year old Sea King helicopters.

We remember Major Bob Henderson, a father of three, and Major Wally Sweetman, who died at the controls of their Sea King helicopters. He was burned alive after making an emergency landing that saved the lives of two crewmen who managed to scramble to safety before they too were engulfed in flames from the burning helicopter.

I quote from the retired Canadian Forces fighter pilot who wrote this to the Prime Minister about the tragedy:

I hope for their sake that your legacy will not be blood-stained by the loss of loyal air crews in the Sea King, during the years they should have been serving us in their new aircraft.

The legacy is also blood-stained with the deaths of Captain Colin Sonoski, who the people in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke remember during the time he was stationed at CFB Petawawa, and Captain Juli-Ann Mackenzie who both died piloting a CH-146 Griffon helicopter. They died on the evening of July 18, 2002 during a search and rescue mission they should have never been called out to do.

The Griffon helicopter is basically a commercial helicopter painted green. There are currently 98 Griffons in use in the Canadian armed forces and of that number, 9 are being used in search and rescue, primarily as combat assistance.

In the case of the 444 combat support squadron, it was to support the allied training program. The two young pilots, Captain Sonoski and Captain Mackenzie were called out because proper search and rescue helicopters were not available.

These are only a few examples of the policy of neglect that has characterized the Liberals mistreatment of our military and the incredible burden that it is placing on the men and women who serve in our military, and the tragic results that occur when one is unprepared.

Citizens who are proud Canadians have every right to be offended by the surrender of sovereignty explicit in a Liberal defence policy that expects the United States to assume the defence of Canada should we ever face a military threat.

Even small technically neutral nations, like Switzerland and Sweden, have always understood that their independence depends upon having a credible military. Canada's military, neglected for the past decade, has been sliding this country down the long slope of disarming our nation, resulting, in the words of the Conference of Defence Associations, military bankruptcy. In international circles Canadians are known as defence free loaders.

It would seem that only the Liberal Party does not understand that future military performance depends on investments made today. Just as the Liberal cuts to health care in the early and mid-nineties put our health care system in the crisis of today, today's underfunding crisis in our military challenges the ability of Canada to continue as a sovereign nation in the future.

As the official opposition critic for science, research and development, a particular concern of mine, on behalf of Canadians, is that Canadian indecision on ballistic missile defence and the virulent anti-American dogma that articulates that position has undermined Canada's role in the joint Canada-U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command, Norad, to the point that Canada will no longer enjoy the benefits of that relationship, including privileged access to the United States space command.

More specifically, it would appear that the government is totally unprepared for the consequence of its wait and see position toward ballistic missile defence, and that will result in Canada being removed from the ballistic missile defence planning and end Canada's much coveted by other countries access to American space assets.

As a member of the generation of Canadians who dreamed along with our American neighbours about space exploration and shared with them their sense of pride and accomplishment when America put the first man on the moon, for Canadians the dream of space is coming to an end.

I know it was with a great sense of Canadian pride, which I felt with my fellow Canadians, when in April 1984 we watched Marc Garneau become the first Canadian in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. It would be truly unfortunate if the dream dies with Julie Payette as the last Canadian in space in the present generation.

The Canadian space program has evolved around a niche strategy that heavily relies upon the United States. In fact Canada has chosen to make no investment in a national launcher program or a domestic satellite navigation system. Canada relies on the United States based on the reality that this country at most might spend $250 million U.S. annually in public sector space activities as opposed to the United States that spends more than $28 billion U.S. annually. The most significant aspects of the Canadian space program have been jeopardized by the current government's policy of criticizing our American allies on the one hand, while freeloading on American capabilities on the other.

The 1994 white paper on defence proposed a policy of consultation between Canada and the United States on ballistic missile defence on account of the fact that from a military point of view, with the end of the cold war, the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction favoured ballistic missile defence. Despite the end of the cold war standoff and the need by the United States to terminate the anti-ballistic missile treaty in order to pursue the ballistic missile defence, by Canada not declaring a position in regard to ballistic missile defence, the U.S. has proceeded to move ahead on missile defence unilaterally and without the use of Canadian territory. The Canadian government has known since 1994 and more recently since December 31, 2001, when the United States announced that it was withdrawing from the ABM treaty, that a Canadian position on national missile defence and on ballistic missile defence had to be made known.

On December 27, 2002, changes in the way the Americans structured North American defence resulted in the creation of a new regional command, the United States northern command, also known as U.S. Northcom, with a command realignment. The United States space command, also known as Spacecom, was merged with strategic command, Stratcom. Previously, combatant commander Spacecom was also combatant commander of Norad. Linking the two commands made sense to the Americans. Canada's decision not to participate in ballistic missile defence, and the severing of Spacecom from Norad, has short and long term repercussions to the Canadian space program. For Canada, the Spacecom-Stratcom unification spells the end to joint Canada-U.S. outer space development.

When Spacecom was at Norad, Canada enjoyed special access to American space technology and initiatives. Years of chronic under-funding of our national defence budget means that we no longer have the finances to fund any type of space capability. In the end, Canada will be totally dependent on the United States for whatever critical space technologies it may or may not decide to share with us, while at the same time losing our nearness to Spacecom.

Considering the fact that the federal government's own declaration in its space policy framework that the maintenance of Canada's sovereignty in the new world economic order depends on using the space program to assist in our transition to a knowledge-based economy, the Liberal government's indecision on ballistic missile defence is a threat to national security. Canada is being shut out by not participating in the missile defence system. Only time will tell whether or not that damage is irreversible. Most important, a lack of our own missile defence system puts the security and safety of Canadians at risk.

This is just another symptom of the government's overall abandonment of responsibility for the safety and security of Canadian citizens and it ranks right up there with the closing of Canada's Emergency Preparedness College in Arnprior. It has total, utter disregard for the safety and security of its citizens. It is also indicative of the lack of responsibility in having a fast response to SARS.

Our American friends and allies, and largest trading partner have been footing the entire bill, not just for missile threats to their own citizens, but for all of North America. Then we have the Prime Minister disgracing Canadians on the international scene by gloating over the deficit situation in which the Bush administration now finds itself.

Unlike the government the Americans do whatever it takes to keep their fellow countrymen safe. They are still reeling from the loss of the airlines crashing into the World Trade Centre and our Prime Minister is slamming them for spending money to protect their own citizens.

Another result of delaying to make a decision on NMD is that companies like Bubble Technology Industries in Chalk River, for example, which have technologies to offer, may be left out of the bidding process because Canada is choosing not to participate or is delaying its decision. It has valuable technology to offer toward the protection of North America, but it is contingent on Canada supporting the NMD. Classified information is involved in assembling the technologies. Neither our scientists nor manufacturers will have access or even be in the bidding because we are not on side.

I would like to dispel the misinformation about the national missile defence. This is not star wars. The overall ballistic missile defence system is a layered system of elements which, when working together, can defend against all classes of ballistic missiles in all flight phases. There is the boost phase, the mid-course phase, and then the terminal phase. Canada is being asked to support a ground based mid-course anti-ballistic missile defence system with a range of approximately 1,000 kilometres. It has interceptors and sensors situated in such a way to best detect missiles launched toward North America. Only after a missile has been fired upon North America will projectiles from our side be sent out to destroy the enemy missile headed toward us.

Right now, in a couple of rooms down the hall, Lloyd Axworthy, from the Liu Institute for Global Issues which is funded by our tax dollars and his cohort, Dr. Polanyi, are out there fearmongering and calling it the star wars program. This is just another example of how our government uses our money to brainwash citizens into the position it takes. The Liberals say that throwing more money at dictators will solve the conflicts of the world, but we see with Kim Jong-il over in North Korea that throwing money has just brought more of a global threat upon us.

In closing, on behalf of Canadians at home and abroad, including Canadians in the United States, I demand that the Minister of National Defence stand in the House today and make a statement that he will commence discussions with the United States on how we can participate in national missile defence.

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Government Orders

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we are talking about missiles. I recall some instructive history in the House. Diefenbaker failed on his ambivalent stance on Bomarc missiles. By his failure he plunged the whole country into a sad course of history that brought uncontrolled spending of Pearson programs and the national strains of Trudeau, a less than optimal record for our country, and all done over a prime minister's mistake over a missile.

Are we at the same point again today? Will the Liberal government non-thinkers over on the other side who are in charge take Canada down the same sad road all because of a missile? What would we rather do? What signal could the present government send to forestall this looming diplomatic and security disaster for our country?

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Government Orders

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, to begin with our Prime Minister can stop insulting the president of the United States and the American citizens and he can instruct his caucus and cabinet ministers to do the same thing.

The reason we have come to this point is that since September 11 the need to have such a defence system was underscored because we now know that there are unprecedented threats that we face, far worse than during the cold war. Hostile states, including those that sponsor terrorism, are investing large amounts of money in acquiring ballistic missiles. Countries are also sponsoring terrorist groups that could be used against the United States, Canada and all of North America. For this reason, we must start discussions on how we can cooperate with the Americans on national missile defence.

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Government Orders

11 a.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the motion before us today, particularly as it deals with such an important issue: the security of North America and its people.

Let me begin by saying that the government concurs with this motion, first, because it asks us to reaffirm our strong support for the North American Aerospace Defence Command or Norad and, second, because it acknowledges the role that this binational organization could play in a ballistic missile defence system. Today I am pleased to announce that the government has decided to enter into discussions with the United States on Canada's participation in ballistic missile defence.

The government has decided to begin talks with the United States on Canadian participation in a missile defence system.

The goal of these discussions is to reach an agreement on our possible participation in BMD, an agreement that meets our goal of protecting Canadians and preserving the central role of Norad in North American defence and security. No final decision will be taken before returning to cabinet after these discussions.

Let me be clear. While we believe that missile defence has the potential to benefit Canada, our participation is not unconditional. It is our responsibility to ensure that any arrangement protects our national interests. This will be at the forefront of our discussions.

In elaborating why the government has made this decision to enter into discussions, let me focus on three elements: first, the protection of Canadian lives; second, continuity and change in the joint defence of North America; and third, the Canadian position which rests fully intact regarding opposition to weaponization of space.

On the first point, the protection of Canadian lives, I can think of no responsibility for a government more fundamental than the protection of the lives of its citizens. The Government of Canada would be better placed to protect the lives of Canadians if we were inside this tent rather outside this tent. It is the responsibility of government to do its due diligence to ensure that the system is set up and that the system will operate in such a way as to afford Canadians equal protection from such a threat as the protection that is afforded to Americans.

If such an event should occur, the system will have only minutes to respond and computer algorithms will be very important in determining this response. It is the responsibility of a sovereign government to do its due diligence to ensure that Canadian lives are well protected by that system and by the computer algorithms which will be an important determinant of how that system works.

Indeed, I would say that a sovereign government would not wash its hands of the protection of the lives of its own citizens and leave it up to another government to do as it wishes. A sovereign government, and that is the government's belief, has the duty and responsibility to do its own due diligence to ensure maximum protection of the lives of its citizens. That is the first reason the government has decided to enter into these discussions.

The second reason has to do with the continuity and change in the joint defence of North America. At least since 1940 Canada has entered into a solemn covenant with the United States to jointly defend our shared continent. The enemies, the risks and the threats have changed in the more than 60 years since 1940. That is the element of change. But there is a fundamental continuity in that for more than half a century we have worked with the United States to co-defend this continent of ours and at the same time to ensure to our American friends that their northern flank, the Canada-U.S. border, will not pose a security risk for the people of the United States.

Canada and the United States over the decades have disagreed many times on many matters. We have disagreed on Vietnam and on Iraq. We have disagreed on softwood lumber, on the Kyoto accord, on many, many issues. But never have we disagreed, never have we parted company with the United States on this agreement of more than 50 years, that we are in this together in co-defending our continent. We are not about to do that today.

Let me provide a brief history of this 60-plus years of co-defence of the continent. I will make the argument that the possibility of our joining the ballistic missile defence system is in that continuity of joint defence of the continent while at the same time respecting the changes that have occurred over the decades.

I would date the beginning of this co-defence to 1940. Historians may find an earlier date, but certainly in 1940 the Ogdensburg agreement was entered into by then Prime Minister Mackenzie King and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It referred to the joint defence of the continent at the time of World War II. It was a time in which German submarines were in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the United States constructed a military base in Newfoundland.

That was the beginning of the joint defence of North America. Then we flash forward to the cold war and a new and totally different enemy, but there is the same principle of jointly defending the continent. Norad was established in 1958 for the joint defence of North American aerospace and the joint defence of the continent against the then threat from the Soviet Union.

Even within Norad there was an element of change within the cold war because the nature of the threat from the Soviet Union changed over time as the cold war evolved. In the earlier years the threat principally consisted of bombers that could drop nuclear bombs on North America. Then it evolved into the principal threat being intercontinental ballistic missiles and later on there were cruise missiles launched either from the air or from submarines.

The nature of the response to these evolving threats shifted over time, but the core objective was to defend the continent, to defend Canada and the United States from what was then a very real perceived threat from the Soviet Union.

At the same time, peacetime functions for Norad evolved, such as defence of the continent from airborne drug smuggling. Then the cold war ended, but Norad did not end. New threats, new risks and new problems emerged, notably in the aftermath of September 11. The enemy was no longer communism, the enemy was now terrorism, but at the same time there was continuity in the joint defence of North America by our two counties.

In this post-September 11 world, Norad and our activities with the United States have evolved to reflect these new realities. One of those evolutions was the development of the agreement which we arrived at in December of last year to set up the Canada-U.S. joint military planning group, which is now being set up in Norad in Colorado Springs under the direction of the deputy chief of Norad who indeed is a Canadian.

The purpose of the planning group is for Canadians and Americans to pool their resources and share intelligence in order to achieve two objectives. The first objective is to minimize the risk of a terrorist attack. The second objective is that in the event such attacks occur, to work together to minimize the loss of life and property. This is one element in the joint defence of North America, continuity in that basic objective, suited however to the post-September 11 world.

The government believes that if the discussions with the United States lead to an agreement that Norad represents the logical place in which to lodge ballistic missile defence, this would be the second element of the post-September 11 Canadian involvement in the joint defence of the continent. The first stage would be the planning group, which I have already mentioned and the second stage would be the incorporation of ballistic missile defence into Norad.

This is what we will be proposing to the Americans in the course of these discussions, which my colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I will be launching. Until today Canada had not expressed an interest in participating in ballistic missile defence. Therefore, the Americans were going along without us, not in Norad, because Norad is binational, but rather in northern command. However, as of today, when we are announcing our interest to enter into discussions with the possibility of participation, we will be suggesting that ballistic missile defence be lodged in Norad.

I believe very firmly that this would be in Canada's interest. This represents the continuity since 1940 that I have described, the constancy of our joint defence of the continent, the constancy of our binational efforts with the Americans to defend our joint land space. As well it represents the evolution of the nature of that threat, the evolution of technology and hence, the evolution of the detailed appropriate response.

The evolution has been from the time of Nazi Germany through the cold war to the post-September 11 world where terrorism and other threats have become our main preoccupation. From the defence against bombers and missiles and cruise missiles, to the planning group, to ballistic missile defence is the logical sequence given the evolution of the security environment and of technology at Norad.

As such, I believe that if our discussions with the Americans are successful this will give new life, new relevance and a renewed future to Norad, which has served Canada extremely well over all these decades.

Those are my first two reasons, the core responsibility of the government to protect Canadian lives and the continuity and change in the defence of North America. The third and final element in my comments has to do with Canada's continuing opposition to the weaponization of space.

I feel it is important to note that despite the many changes in the international strategic environment since the end of the cold war, one thing remains constant and that is Canada's opposition to the weaponization of space.

We have proven our commitment to a peaceful use of space since 1972 when we were the first country to put a national communications satellite in geostationary orbit. Canada will continue to work with its friends and allies in developing a tight legal framework to keep space weapon-free.

There is uncertainty in the United States as to whether the United States will or will not at some point proceed with the weaponization of space. There are proposals on the table still unfunded for research to begin on that topic in some four years. I understand that congress is divided and no decision has been made, so the American position is unclear.

The Canadian opposition is very clear. I put it to the House that if we are not inside the tent our ability to influence the U.S. decisions in these areas is likely to be precisely zero. If we are a part of ballistic missile defence, then at least we will be inside the tent and be able to make our views known in an attempt to influence the outcome of this U.S. decision.

It is not as if Canada will be alone in confronting a monolithic United States on the subject of weaponization of space because, as I just said, within the United States itself opinions are varied on this topic. Therefore, working within the system, were we to come to an agreement with the United States, I think Canada will be able to exert some influence along with like-minded Americans on this topic.

One thing is sure, if we are not a part of this we will have no influence. If we are a part of this we will be better placed to exert influence on this important policy question.

Let me conclude by repeating that the government has today decided to enter into discussions with the United States on the possibility of joining the missile defence program. No decision will be made until the results of these discussions are reviewed by cabinet but I think we are on solid ground in proceeding with these exploratory discussions, first, because it is the duty of a sovereign government to protect to the very best of its abilities the lives of its citizens. I think we would be failing in these responsibilities were we simply to wash our hands of this issue and leave all those decisions to a third a country.

Second, this proposal that Canada's participation in ballistic missile defence be lodged within Norad represents a continuity of more than 60 years where we in this country have played a meaningful role in the joint defence of the continent. It has served Canada well. Norad has served the United States well. Both countries are happy with that. MPs from all sides of the political divide who have visited Norad in Colorado Springs to my knowledge have come back impressed.

Norad has worked. Norad has been going for 60 years with the core responsibility of the joint defence of the continent against a number of different threats and enemies depending on the time and using technologies that have also changed through time. I think it is a logical extension of that continuity of more than 60 years that we explore with the Americans the possibility of our participation in missile defence and the lodging of that system within Norad.

Finally, this in no way detracts from the government's longstanding opposition to the principle of weaponization in space. Indeed, as I have just said, we will be better placed to advance those arguments within the system than we would be were we to stay out.

As I said at the beginning, this is not a fait accompli. The discussions have not yet begun. We will engage in these discussions. We will come back to cabinet and the government will take a decision.

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Government Orders

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think there are some holes in the minister's little lesson on recent history that he gave us today but at least he talked about something to the effect of in the tent rather than out. At least there is a flicker of hope over there.

The minister talked about due diligence. However the first thing we must understand is that the first due diligence is not to misbehave, not to insult our best friends. It undermines our ability to debate policy refinements and details with the Americans.

Although the minister talked about the northern flank, or at least some of the concept, why then did he go out of his way, as did the government, to worry our friends south of that undefended border, the northern flank for the Americans?

Does the minister's discomfort and need to extensively ruminate have more to do with the idea and conceptual gaps within the Liberal ranks? Are his manoeuvres more for internal party concerns and local political consideration than administering wisely on behalf of Canadian security interests? Can he separate his hollow Liberalism from the basic security needs of the country?

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Government Orders

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think I have made my position very clear. I do not see any meaningful question in the rhetoric coming from the hon. member.

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Government Orders

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I feel truly shocked listening to the comments by Minister of National Defence today in the House and his announcement that Canada is about to enter into negotiations with the U.S. on the missile defence system.

I am even more outraged that he does it on the rationale that somehow we are defending our continued opposition to the weaponization of space. If we know anything about the missile defence or star wars, surely it is an understanding that this is the first step to military control of space by the U.S. and the weaponization and militarization of space.

I am really shocked to hear that Canada is repudiating decades and decades of policy on arms control and is now about to get into bed with the Americans on this issue.

Who does the minister think will be in that tent? As far as I can see it will be the U.S. and Canada alone. I think the international community has been very concerned about the missile defence program. Why would Canada not take that view in terms of stopping the militarization of space instead of now getting into negotiations to take us down that path?

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Government Orders

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to hear that I caused shock in the hon. member but I think her comments reflect a certain fallacy on the part of the NDP.

It seems to be her mindset that either we do the joint defence of the continent or we pursue our traditional multilateral path but that we cannot do both. That does not make any sense because we have been doing both for more than 60 years.

We pursue the joint defence of North America with our American friends because we live on the same continent and, at the same time, through the years of Pearson and many others, we have been extremely active multilaterally in the United Nations and elsewhere. Absolutely nothing is stopping us from continuing to do both. We are capable of walking and chewing gum at the same.

As I explained to her, first, we have made no decision on ballistic missile defence. We are entering into discussions. Second, we are preserving our opposition to the weaponization of space. Third, we do not know whether we will be able to prevent the Americans from doing that. We do not know whether they will want to do that.

However the one thing we do know is that we will have a better chance making our voice heard on the subject when we are inside the tent in discussions with the U.S. than if we were to remain outside.