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Canada Moving By Stealth to Support American Missile Defence Plan
Description: Vancouver - A new report by an international team of strategic and defence experts says Canada is ”moving by stealth“ to support the American government’s controversial Ballistic Missile Defence initiative.
Date: 02 December 2003
Author: Press Release
Source: Liu Institute for Global Issues
Vancouver - A new report by an international team of
strategic and defence experts says Canada is ”moving by stealth“ to support the American government’s controversial Ballistic Missile Defence initiative.

The experts’ panel, which includes Nobel laureate John Polanyi, former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, Peggy Mason and Victoria Sampson of the U.S. Centre for Defence Information, is alarmed by Canada’s decision to abstain from a recent United Nations’ resolution expressing concern that missile defences could negatively impact nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts and lead to a new arms race in outer space.

”The decision to abstain is an ominous indication of the direction in which the government is heading on BMD,“ says Lloyd Axworthy, director of the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Issues.

The experts’ report questions claims by Defence Minister John McCallum that BMD will protect Canadians, says the BMD program will exacerbate proliferation pressures that have put the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in jeopardy and challenges the importance being attached to BMD in the Canada-U.S. bilateral relationship. Instead of making BMD negotiations with the U.S. a priority, the report calls on Canada to reinvigorate international diplomatic efforts
aimed at achieving the only reliable protection against nuclear weapons – their elimination.

”The conventional wisdom is that Canada is facing an immediate decision and must be at the BMD table with the Americans to have any input into its future implementation,“ says Axworthy. ”In fact, there is no such pressure. The BMD system is still experimental and the Americans are not ready for a Canadian decision. As well, there are a number of tables at which Canada is already seated, such as NORAD, the new Bi-National Planning Group, the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, where Canada can engage in direct discussions with the U.S. about its concerns.“

The report, written by Project Ploughshares director Ernie Regehr and entitled Canada and Ballistic Missile Defence, will be distributed to all Members of Parliament.

For more information, contact:

Ernie Regehr, Director, Project Ploughshares
(519) 588-4132

Lloyd Axworthy, Senior Associate, Liu Institute for Global Studies
(604) 822-9957
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