Madam Chair, it seems to me that the debate this evening has centred around a number of points. The first one and perhaps the one that is most telling and compelling to my party is the issue of the weaponization of space.
I listened to the Minister of National Defence, to a lesser degree the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the official opposition collectively suggest that we are being naive in our opposition. I want to throw that accusation back at them.
We are faced with a government that has made it very clear that it intends to weaponize space exclusively on its behalf. I am going to quote from a statement made by Donald Rumsfeld in January 2001:
--the US Government should vigorously pursue the capabilities called for in the National Space Policy to ensure that the President will have the option to deploy weapons in space to deter threats to and, if necessary, defend against attack on US interests.
As we know Donald Rumsfeld is now the Secretary of Defense.
I will quote from Keith Hall, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space, in a 1997 speech to the National Space Club. I understand he was instrumental in developing the national space policy referred to by Mr. Rumsfeld. He said:
With regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we're going to keep it. Space is in the nation's economic interest.
That is the government we are proposing to go hand-in-hand with into this so-called missile defence shield.
I want to go back and repeat what we heard in the last few minutes from the member for Halifax.
We are also dealing with a government that in the last two years has abrogated the international treaty on anti-ballistic missile testing. That was done in December 2002. It cast the only dissenting vote on the UN resolution for the comprehensive test ban treaty in December of last year. It voted against the total elimination of nuclear weapons in December 2003. It voted against a nuclear free world in December 2003. It voted against the obligation for nuclear disarmament in December 2003. It abstained on a vote to prevent the weaponization of space in December 2003.
These are all very current actions taken on the part of U.S. government, and I believe our government and the official opposition are proposing we join hand-in-hand with it. They Liberals have told us this evening and they have told the country repeatedly that this is not about the weaponization of space. That is simply not the reality with which we are confronted.
We have to go back to 1967 when we discussed and entered into the outer space treaty. I want to quote from that treaty. It states:
The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries. “Space” is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty.
That is a complete contradiction to what we are hearing right now from the leaders in the United States. They very much intend to grab it, if they can do it.
The Americans are looking to this country because of our history of being opposed to war unless absolutely necessary, and our history of fighting for reducing weapons in the world, not increasing them. They are looking for our stamp of approval.
James CarrolI wrote recently in the Boston Globe about the weaponization of space. He wrote about the general population in the United States and its leadership. He asked:
And where is the defense of the idea, once sacred to Americans, that outer space marks a threshold across which human beings must not drag the ancient perversion of war?
What we have heard from most of the government members, fortunately not all, certainly from the official opposition, is that they are prepared to go into this missile defence shield. They are prepared to do that with blinkers on. They are prepared to give the Americans a blank cheque.
The Minister of National Defence quoted some figures about how much money was going to be allocated simply for space, not ground based or water based weaponry. When he had figures thrown back at him, it was clear he had not heard them before. He had no way of responding. That level of lack of knowledge is extremely scary to me and I think to Canadians.
When I asked the Minister of National Defence about whether the government was entering into contracts, in other words, already starting down the road joining up with the Americans in some testing of a radar system this summer, he did not answer me. He did not answer the member from the Bloc and he did not answer the question yesterday when it was put to him in the House. He was waffling on that and that is scary.
About a week ago I was at an event with a number of veterans, active military personnel and reserves. What became clear in our discussion, that was off the record obviously given some of the participants, was the fear by the existing military forces of wasting money on this system that is not going to go to the military personnel that we have in place now and all of the needs that we all know they have. If we move forward on this as a government, we betray them. We also betray all Canadians.