Saturday, February 26, 2005

No Missile Defense For Canada.

Canada declared on Thursday that it refuses to participate in U.S. missile defense system. The Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin’s rejection was taken by some as a manifestation of personal dislike of Canadians for President Bush and his administration’s project to shoot down missiles headed toward the United States. He had earlier favored signing on to the system. "We are announcing today that Canada will not take part in the proposed ballistic missile defence system," Martin. Martin’s announcement signifies that Canada will not participate in erecting the system, its financing or operating. Although the United States are able to work on the system by themselves, Canada’s refusal is seen as support for U.S. opponents of the project, who have similar concerns about the project’s cost, practicality and scope. "However, BMD (ballistic missile defence) is not where we will concentrate our efforts. Instead, we will act both alone and with our neighbours on defence priorities outlined in yesterday’s budget," said the Canadian Prime Minister. "We will continue to work in partnership with our southern neighbors on the common defense of North America," he added. "However, ballistic missile defense is not where we will concentrate our efforts." "One ramification of this is potentially some added tension on one of the other issues affecting Canada-U.S. relations, especially trade," [John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal] "What this underscores is that there are limits to the fence mending that the president is trying to do with Canada and with countries in the European Union. And for now, this is mainly a political blow for the Americans,” he said. "They want support. They want other countries to be seen as embracing this very controversial system." But Canada refused. Ottawa’s decision marks the second time in recent years that Canada has refused to back U.S. military plans. The Canadian government's decision to opt out of the contentious U.S. missile defence program will freeze Canada out of critical decision-making in its own defence, says Norad's former deputy chief. "Canadians will not have any participation in the actual decision-making or the rules of engagement or anything to do with ballistic missile defence," the former vice-chief of defence staff and now a consultant says.