May 29, 2003

LIB

Karen Kraft Sloan

Liberal

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York North, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed unfortunate to hear people in the House and outside the House, particularly in the media, suggest that when one is standing up for the sovereignty of Canada and speaking out against an acceleration of the arms race one is somehow un-American. I wanted to make that point in this House.

Today's motion concerns giving Norad responsibility for the command of any system developed to defend North America against ballistic missiles. Like the member for Don Valley West, I too support Norad. I give strong support to Norad, its history, its development and the current role it plays in the protection of North America.

However, I cannot support this motion. Before any decision is made to go along with this new ballistic missile defence project, there are many questions that need to be answered and issues that need to be addressed.

A fundamental concern is that today's global situation is very different from the one that brought about the birth of Norad. George W. Bush himself stated two years ago during a speech to the National Defense University's students and faculty:

I want us to think back some thirty years ago to a far different time in a far different world. The United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a hostile rivalry...Our deep differences were expressed in a dangerous military confrontation that resulted in thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other on hair-trigger alert. Security of both the United States and the Soviet Union was based on a grim premise: that neither side would fire nuclear weapons at each other, because doing so would mean the end of both nations...Today, the sun comes up on a vastly different world. The Wall is gone and so is the Soviet Union. Today's Russia is not yesterday's Soviet Union.

The guiding principle of the cold war, mutually assured destruction, was to deter the use of nuclear weapons by either side. However, the enemies the United States identifies today as rogue states or states of concern, like North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, et cetera, do not currently possess missiles capable of hitting the United States or Canada.

While Norad was conceived to deal with the strategic bomber threat of the cold war, today's missile defence project puts the United States in a position to initiate a nuclear strike without fear of devastating retaliation. Does missile defence then become a plan that can be perceived by the world as a front for a first strike winnable nuclear war?

There is another question we must address before engaging in such a project. Will missile defence work? Thomas Christie, the Pentagon's top evaluator of weapons, reported that the anti-missile system “has yet to demonstrate significant operational capability”.

Furthermore, it has long been recognized that it is relatively easy to fool an anti-ballistic missile system simply by using decoys that accompany a bomb. Even if the missile were able to hit its intended target, when a bomb loaded with numerous sub-munitions of chemical or biological weapons is destroyed in the atmosphere during its boost phase up to 100 pounds of carcinogenic plutonium rains down upon the population, causing long term havoc and mayhem. There is also the very realistic danger that intercepted nuclear weapons could accidentally explode when intercepted.

I think we can all agree that even if some of the technical problems of the missile defence system were remedied, it will never be perfect, and any success rate against nuclear attack that is not 100% perfect could mean countless deaths.

There is yet another question. How much will this program cost?

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the potential cost of a three-site system of missile defence could be between $158 billion and $238 billion. However, a report compiled by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and the Economists Allied for Arms Reduction finds that the likely cumulative costs of a “layered” missile defence system would be between $800 billion and $1.2 trillion. One of the authors of this report is economist and Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

When resources of such an unfathomable amount are directed toward a technically questionable method of defence, what does that mean for the ability of governments to provide essential services to citizens? I hear a great sucking sound in the treasury of our nation. It also seems that the billions of dollars forecast to be spent on this system may be more effectively applied to other means of preventing terrorism.

Some have suggested that Canada will be a partner in this project without having to pay its share. It is disingenuous to suggest that those nations that fall under the umbrella of the missile defence system will not be asked to contribute their share.

Clearly the weaponization of space is the next step in the U.S. plan for missile defence and one which Canada and most of the world are fundamentally opposed to. There is a strong movement within the U.S. military establishment to expand the military use of space to include war fighting capabilities.

General Joseph Ashy, former commander in chief of the U.S. space command, made the following comment about the weaponization of space. He stated:

It's politically sensitive but it's going to happen. Some people don't want to hear this, and it sure isn't in vogue, but--absolutely--we're going to fight in space. We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into space. That's why the U.S. has developed programs in directed energy and hit-to-kill mechanisms. We will engage terrestrial targets someday--ships, airplanes, land targets--from space. We will engage targets in space, from space.

Keith Hall, the air force assistant secretary for space and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, had this to say: “With regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we're going to keep it”.

I have several questions about the potential weaponization of space. For instance, what will happen if America proceeds with its plan to militarize space? How will anti-satellite warfare, space based killer lasers or nuclear explosions affect our daily lives? Does any country have the right to invade space for its own nationalistic purposes?

Another concern is the potential threat to the multilateralism of the International Space Station. The ISS goals include finding solutions to crucial problems in medicine, ecology and other scientific areas and fostering peace through high profile, long term international cooperation in space. Will unilateral exploitation and control of space by a single nation not reverse many years of international cooperation?

There is a great deal of international concern about the armament of space. In November 1999, 138 nations voted at the United Nations for a resolution titled “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space”, which recognized “the common interest of all mankind in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes”. Only the United States and Israel refused to support the resolution.

In closing, I would like to share a quote by M.W. Guzy that I believe sums up the issue of missile defence very well:

We enter the 21st century locked in a mortal arms race with ourselves. Though the needs for more advanced weaponry are at best unclear, we proceed on the premise that “if we build it they will come”.

As a sovereign country, Canada must continue to act in the best interests of Canadians and the world by promoting multilateral agreements and persevering with unwavering support for disarmament.

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CA

Dick Harris

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Richard Harris (Prince George—Bulkley Valley, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, of course nations that value the freedom and safety of their citizens are going to always continue to achieve a peaceful world through negotiations and through multilateral talks with other countries, in particular those countries perceived to pose a threat to peace in our world.

It is one thing to be in denial of the dangers that exist in our world today from nations that obviously do not think the way we do or appreciate the freedoms we do. It is quite another situation to be sort of Pollyannaish about it and believe that everything is right with the world if we just smile and think good things about it.

This missile defence system is not to replace mechanisms already in place, such as our relationships with other countries and the ongoing diplomacy. This is to augment anything we are currently doing in the event that something we are currently doing fails.

When the member talks about going back to another time when the only defence we had was to threaten annihilation of any aggressor, and this still exists, this method alone means that if someone has a nuclear aggression against us we may very well annihilate that country, but at the expense of the tens of millions of lives in our country lost because their missiles got through. I personally would like to try to save some of those tens of millions of lives. While we do not have the technology perhaps exactly right today, there was a time when we did not know how to make a microwave work. The technology, the research, is in progress to make an accurate missile system work.

Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that members in the House do not appreciate some of the anti-American rhetoric present in that last member's statement.

I just want to ask the member, as I asked the previous member, does she really believe that by just being nice to people who are by nature not nice we can preserve peace forever in this country or in this world?

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LIB

Karen Kraft Sloan

Liberal

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan

Mr. Speaker, I am trying to understand who is not nice here.

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An hon. member

The same thing as evil.

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LIB

Karen Kraft Sloan

Liberal

Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan

Or evil. There are lists; show me the lists. The problem here is that we are witnessing a ratcheting up of fear.

I hold to the original principle of Norad and why Norad was created in the first place. If I may, I will reiterate that it was the situation of mutually assured destruction, a situation in the world where there are two forces, and if one pulls the trigger, the other will pull the trigger and it will be over. As a result, there is some rationality in the system.

With a hyperpower, we are now in a position where there is a lot of finger pointing as to who the enemy is and I am trying to understand that. As I said in my speech, North Korea and these other countries do not have missiles capable of landing in North America.

I want to point out for the members opposite that Amnesty International has come out with a report saying that human rights protection has been badly set back by measures taken in the name of global security. Yes, it is important to ensure that people in our countries are safe and secure, but the reality is that there are situations which have been pointed out in developing countries where security concerns are used as an excuse by governments to crack down on opposition politicians, journalists and religious and racial minorities.

The member opposite was talking about how to go forward on world peace. This report talks about the fact that what has been happening has deepened divisions among people of different faiths and origins--

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The Deputy Speaker

Order. I regret, but time has elapsed. I know that a number of people still want to speak on this issue before the end of the proceedings. The hon. member for Medicine Hat.

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CA

Monte Solberg

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this issue. It is a very important issue which has not received its due yet. The question of whether or not Canada should participate in a missile defence with the United States through Norad has been on the burner for a long time. We have not taken the opportunity to discuss it and debate it in Canada in the way that we should. That is regrettable because it is obviously very important to Canada's future security. It is also very important how we approach this issue and our relations with the United States. We should take more opportunities to debate these sorts of issues.

I have observed today that there has been a real shift in the attitude of the government toward this issue. I am grateful for that because at one point there was no question that the government would even consider talking about this. Now it is saying that maybe it will listen. I would say that it has been mugged by reality a little, but it has a long way to go before it understands that the world is a dangerous place, that there are threats out there, and that it is not helpful when people are reflexively anti-American when we talk about these things because what we are talking about is the security of our country.

When we talk about this, we need to put this into perspective. This is not an issue of Canada's sovereignty. If neighbours agree to look after each other's houses, keep an eye on them, and ensure that nobody is breaking into each others house and that kind of thing, that is a practical way to ensure the security of both neighbours. It does not mean that a person has given up control of his or her house to the neighbour. It just means that neighbours are looking after each other, and that is a practical way of dealing with crime in the neighbourhood.

In like manner, working together with the United States on the issue of securing our borders against attack by ballistic missile is a practical way of ensuring our mutual security. People should look at it that way instead of immediately jumping to the conclusion that somehow we are yielding our sovereignty.

Very often when people reach those conclusions, they do so out of insecurity. A lot of times Canadians who are paranoid about the United States are completely insecure and do not have enough faith in their country. They do not have enough faith in the people of Canada and frankly they show little faith in the good will of the people of the United States.

As my friend who spoke a few minutes ago pointed out, the Americans are frequently called upon to participate and lead the way around the world. Obviously people do not always agree with them, but I would rather stake my future with the United States far more so than 99% of the other countries in the world. I am grateful that they are our neighbours and I appreciate very much what they do in this world to preserve freedom and the security of peace-loving people everywhere.

I want to talk about some of the threats that exist. After 9/11, no one labours under the illusion anymore that the world is a safe place, even though for a long time members across the way, the Liberal Party and the NDP in particular, had this naive view of just how safe the world was. That is gone forever. After the twin towers collapsed, after the attack on the Pentagon, and the plane going down in a field in Pennsylvania, the world woke up to the reality that it was a dangerous place.

If we had this debate before 9/11, there would have been a lot of people on the other side who would have argued that the threat was being exaggerated, that we did not have to worry about these things, and that we did not have to worry about some extremist Islamic agenda.

A lot of people would have said that we did not have to worry about that. That it was a myth. Some people would even have said that we were racist if we suggested that. Rather obviously there are people who have a demented view of Islam. They have made it their own faith and have used it to justify incredible attacks on the United States and other countries around the world. It is our obligation now, after having gone through that, to not fall into the same type of thinking when we come to consider something as important as missile defence.

There were colleagues from the Liberal side who spoke not long ago and in a way downplayed the significance of these rogue states. I would argue that they are extraordinarily dangerous. Kim Jong-il in North Korea is a dangerous man. When former United States President Clinton sent Jimmy Carter to negotiate with the North Koreans, what was he doing? He sent Jimmy Carter there to negotiate a non-proliferation type of agreement. He wanted to ensure that the North Koreans did not build nuclear weapons. Jimmy Carter came back and told us we had a deal.

In fact, he even won the Nobel peace prize for his work. Then we find out that the North Koreans were building a nuclear weapon the whole time. We would be extraordinarily naive to think that Kim Jong-il is not prepared to use it. This is a man who starved millions of his own people. Clearly he has absolutely no regard for human life. As legislators, we have an obligation to take that threat seriously. Of course we can all disagree on the magnitude of the threat, but there is a threat there. I would urge people not to downplay that threat. I think most people would agree that there is at least some threat there.

One member said a minute ago that the missile system that the North Koreans have developed will not reach North America. There is disagreement on that. We know that they started to develop some sophisticated missiles that will reach hundreds of miles. Many people believe that they will in fact reach the continental United States. If that is the case and they have also developed a nuclear bomb or perhaps several, we should be concerned about that. We would not be doing our job and we would be irresponsible if we did not take that seriously. I completely disagree with the member for Don Valley West, who spoke earlier, and the member who spoke just a few minutes ago, and their suggestion that we should not take these threats seriously. They are very serious.

I want to address some of the arguments I heard from the member who spoke just a couple of minutes ago with respect to whether or not missile defence is workable. One of the arguments was that if we had a missile defence system which could knock down a missile over the country from which it was launched, that would cause some plutonium to rain down in that country and cause people to be ill. I acknowledge there is a threat of that kind of thing happening.

However, I cannot believe the member did not completely think that through, because if we let the missile take off, land in the country at which it is aimed and there is a nuclear explosion, rather obviously we will have far greater problems caused by that than the problems that would occur if we knocked a nuclear missile down as it was leaving the launch pad. Obviously the member had not thought things through when she made that argument.

The member for Don Valley West argued that we should not be concerned about rogue states. I will set aside North Korea for a moment here. Let us talk about countries like Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan. Essentially what he was arguing was that these countries would never fire a nuclear weapon or any kind of a weapon of mass destruction from their country toward, for instance, the United States knowing that they would face immediate retaliation.

I take that point. It would be difficult for a rational mind to understand why they would do that. I will not necessarily concede that some of these people are not rational. However, setting that aside for a moment, it is entirely possible that these rogue states could work with groups like al-Qaeda. We know from what we have uncovered in Iraq now that al-Qaeda was in contact with Iraq. It is entirely possible that these organizations could work together, to have ships off the coast of the United States or off the coast of Canada with weapons aimed at our country and in some cases with nuclear technology.

We know that Iran is working right now on nuclear technology. Why is it doing that? Is it doing it because it needs the electricity that comes from a nuclear reactor? Hardly. It sits on a sea of oil and gas. It has energy that is the envy of most of the world. The same thing of course was true of Iraq when it was building its reactor and the Israelis went in and blew it up. Even now nuclear materials are still being uncovered in Iraq. Clearly Iraq was not building these facilities to produce electricity. These countries were building them and are building them for the purpose of developing weapons. I do not think there is any question about that.

If these countries work with a terrorist organization and they fire a weapon from a ship, no one is the wiser as to who was involved in this. Therefore it is not automatic that there would be retaliation because we would not know the origin of the weapon and who was working in concert to necessarily fire that weapon.

To me it makes abundant sense that we would have some kind of a weapons system that could knock those types of missiles down. The technology is currently available to these countries both to build nuclear weapons--and again, the Iranians are working on that and North Korea has already developed one or two bombs and others are working on that type of technology--and certainly to launch missiles, especially for short hops of 50 miles or 100 miles with no problem.They can do that. We saw in Iraq that it had the capacity to fire weapons farther than with the old 1950 Scud missiles, so that is not even an issue. That capacity exists already.

The problem with rogue states is that they will provide those types of weapons to terrorist organizations that are doing their bidding. There is no question that it is not only possible but likely. Again, we uncovered evidence of that in Iraq when British and Canadian newspaper reporters actually found documents linking al-Qaeda to the Saddam Hussein regime.

Canadians need to understand how good a deal Canada has in Norad as it currently exists. A number of my colleagues and I have been there. I know government members have been there. Members from all sides of the House have visited Norad. Once we have been there we cannot help but come away impressed because of the technology and how amazing it is that people can sit in one location and have surveillance of the entire continent. That is very impressive. And what is more impressive is the fact that Canada and the United States work seamlessly together on that project. Canadians have a very good deal.

I do not think many people recognize that we have joint command of North American air defence right now. It is because we struck a deal many years ago that allows Canada to pay a small part of the bills for that, but to play a large role, essentially an equal role with the United States in defending North America's shores. I am encouraged that we are starting to look at other ways of participating with the United States in our joint defence. I think that is very important.

However I think we need to aggressively pursue the next step, which is to talk about ballistic missile defence for the entire continent. We need to work with the United States.

Another objection was raised and it had to do with the actual motion, which reads:

That this House affirm its strong support for Norad as a viable defence organization 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.

The problem the member had was with the word “any” as in “any system”. He went on to say that the Americans were aggressively pursuing the weaponization of space, which of course is a term that they love to throw around because it scares people.

I want to make a couple of points. First, I would like to ask the member a rhetorical question. If his concern is that the Americans will pursue the weaponization of space, that they will put a defensive system in space to protect their interests, is he under the illusion that if Canada does not participate that will not go ahead? Of course it will go ahead. It will go ahead one way or another.

I am sure the Americans will have a debate about it. I am sure it will be an issue in the elections in the fall and an issue in the next presidential election. If they make a decision to go ahead and do that after they have a big debate, guess what? Our non-participation in Norad will not affect their decision. It will have no impact on that at all.

However if we were to participate in Norad and the Americans went the next step where they had a defensive weapons system in space, we would at least have an influence on it. We could play the role that Canada used to always play when it came to the United States, a privileged friend of the United States, someone who shares a border with the United States and has a long and good history with the United States. We could be there to temper them and make them aware of their obligations in the world because we would have a privileged place at their elbow.

However after the rantings of the Prime Minister and, unfortunately, some members on the government side over the last number of months, we have lost the ability to influence our friends, in fact to the point where I think they are questioning how sincere government officials are when they say we want to work together.

I would argue that if Canada wants to continue to influence the United States and have a positive influence on a country that somebody said was a hyper-power, and maybe that is a pejorative term, but certainly it is the world's only existing super power right now, then let us participate in these bodies with the Americans and have the ability to influence them. We will not influence them if all we do is stick our finger in their eye at every opportunity, insult them, run them down, attack them politically, do all the things that, unfortunately, our Prime Minister has done as recently as yesterday and has done repeatedly over the last number of weeks.

I hope government members see this as an opportunity to use our good reputation in the world to influence the Americans and turn this opportunity into a way to bring about some of the ends that the people of goodwill on the other side really believe in. If they are concerned about the weaponization of space, then we should at least participate with the Americans in Norad and help them understand that point of view. If they are worried about the United States being a lone cowboy in the world, as they might say, then we should work with them and enter into multilateral agreements with them in NATO and a bilateral agreement in Norad and then they are not working alone. We would be there to temper their actions.

I encourage my friends across the way to not be reactionary any time somebody talks about working with the United States. I encourage them not to assume that it means we are giving up our sovereignty. I encourage them to be secure enough about being Canadian that we can use our influence to work with the Americans, as we have done so many times in the past, something I think we forget about. Ultimately, we must remember that this is about protecting Canada's sovereignty from people of ill will around the world. We can do that if we take a responsible, mature approach to this and work with our American friends.

I will simply wrap up by saying that this is a pivotal time in the history of Canada-United States relations. It is the perfect time for the government to send a positive signal about its friendship toward the United States by supporting the motion.

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LIB

Alex Shepherd

Liberal

Mr. Alex Shepherd (Durham, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great intent to the member for Medicine Hat.

I would question a number of premises that he put forward in his speech. The member's first premise is that we somehow have to belong to a club to have an opinion on the whole issue of a national missile defence system. In fact, the member stated that if the Americans want to engage in the weaponization of space we have no influence over that, and that the only presumed way we can get influence is to join the club, the club to pursue the weaponization of space.

This all seems very absurd to me. It assumes that there is only a one track system for influencing the United States and that is by joining organizations which it purports to use to pursue its foreign policy.

I believe there are many other fora out there to which Canada belongs where we could influence the United States, rather than joining clubs which purport to support its theory and foreign policy. Indeed, this argument that by joining this missile defence system we would get a seat at the table, seems absurd to me.

The reality is that even if we were to have a seat at the table I do not think we would have very much to say. We are sort of going into it on a premise. In fact, the member stated that we did not have any influence over the United States if it wants to pursue the weaponization of space. What is the purpose of having a seat at the table if that is the orientation? It makes no sense to me.

The member's premise is that the world is a dangerous place. I agree with him. The real question is: Will a national missile defence system make it a less dangerous place or a more dangerous place?

The member went on to talk about North Korea. There is a tremendous parallel here. The United States did not invade North Korea, it invaded Iraq. It invaded Iraq because Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. It will not invade North Korea because it has nuclear weapons.

It would seem to me that there is a certain reward system for those countries that pursue a nuclearization policy. Yes, there has been a failure in curtailing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Yes, we have to work more diligently in these areas.

On the strategic side of this issue, how can the member say that we would be protecting the security of Canadians if a warhead with biological weapons targeted for the United States were shot down over Canadian territory? Could the member tell me how that would improve the security of everyday Canadians?

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CA

Monte Solberg

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Monte Solberg

Mr. Speaker, in a sense I think the last question is pretty naive. For instance, we know that terrorist organizations will attack targets of opportunity. They did in Bali, Indonesia. Terrorists do not just wander around looking to necessarily attack the United States everywhere they go. They attack their allies, which is what they did in Indonesia where they killed many Australians. I think we are naive if we think that cannot happen in Canada.

This would also benefit Canada. If someone were to point a weapon at Canada then obviously this system would knock that weapon down. The idea is to knock the weapon down before it gets to Canada.

I am not quite sure what the point was of the second question, the point about North Korea being rewarded because it built a nuclear weapon. I do not know that we could say that it is being rewarded, but the fact is that North Korea has built a nuclear weapon which, of course, is why, and the member is right, the United States was not going to march in and risk a nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula. That would be ridiculous.

However the very fact that North Korea has that nuclear capacity should make us all nervous. We should be thinking of ways to prevent it from using that weapon. It does not mean that we no longer have diplomacy in the world. It does not mean that we do not use the United Nations to address these sorts of things. Of course we do, but we should not rely on them exclusively. If we place all our faith in those bodies I think we would be completely naive.

We should remember that no body that sits arm's length from a particular country can guarantee that the country will not fire a weapon at somebody else. Of course we would take measures on our own to protect our people. That is common sense.

With respect to the point about the weaponization of space and the point about influencing our friends, I ask my friend across the way to consult his own experience. When we work with people they have an influence on us. If people are opposed to us, if they are a gadfly, an annoyance, we do not really want to hear what they have to say. We ignore what they are saying and in fact sometimes we might do completely the opposite to annoy them back. That is human nature.

I would argue that if we sit and work with people and try to be constructive, we will accomplish things and influence those people. If my friend across the way doubts that, I ask him to consult his own experience and ask himself how it works in his own family. That is precisely how it has worked for 50 years with the United States before we began this period, under this Liberal government, of setting out, it seems like very often, to intentionally annoy our neighbours.

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LIB

David Pratt

Liberal

Mr. David Pratt (Nepean—Carleton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I listened to a good portion of the hon. member's comments and I appreciate where he is coming from with respect to his support for the motion. Frankly, I support the motion as well. However some aspects of the motion are somewhat unclear.

I will be voting for the motion but I think some aspects of it which are unclear could be improved, with perhaps a little bit of doctoring, to the point where a lot more members in the House could support it. I am referring specifically to the wording in the motion where it says “any system developed to defend North America against ballistic missiles”.

That does have some implications. Some people have read space based weapons into this. One could also, I suppose, go back to the 1960's system that we had in the country in terms of dealing with the old bomber threat where we had Bomack missiles that were tipped with nuclear warheads. We would not want to see a nuclear tipped warhead anti-ballistic missile system. I do not think anybody on any side of the House would like to see that sort of thing happen.

Would the hon. member perhaps make a suggestion to the mover of the motion that what we should be looking at in terms of possible changes to the wording would include something to the effect that: --and support giving Norad responsibility for the command of the proposed ground based anti-ballistic missile system developed to defend North America against ballistic missiles, or something along those lines?

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CA

Monte Solberg

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Monte Solberg

Mr. Speaker, I think that is a reasonable criticism of the motion. However I do not think anybody is suggesting or that anyone would believe that it is plausible to argue that if we pass a motion like this that somehow we are bound as a sovereign country to participate in a weapon system, which, I think the member would acknowledge, is not likely to happen, where we would have nuclear tipped missiles that would be used in a defensive way or even when it comes to space based defensive weapons systems, that a sovereign country would be bound to participate in that.

I take the member's point. I think it is a valid concern. I will certainly pass it on to the mover the motion.

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LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Art Eggleton (York Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Davenport, although I suspect we may have some divergent views on the issue before us.

I do support the ballistic defence missile program that our government has now decided to sit down and discuss with the United States.

However I think the member for Don Valley West, who spoke earlier, had a valid point when he took on the word “any” in this resolution. His concern was that this might open it up to the question of weapons in outer space. I would counsel the member who is the sponsor of the motion and her party to consider an amendment that would say “excluding weaponization of outer space”. That is already the policy not only of the government but it is a treaty we have signed.

Surely we will not abrogate our treaty or create some confusion about that treaty. We are simply, as per that treaty and as per government policy stated on many occasions, against the weaponization of outer space. Getting involved with this program does not, I would suggest lead us to that other program.

There are those who will say that it is a slippery slope. I do not buy that argument. We just decided on the campaign against terrorism to draw a line. We said that we would go to Afghanistan. We said that we would fight terrorism in many different respects. However we did not agree with the position of the Bush administration with respect to Iraq. We made a decision that we felt was right for us.

We know when and where to draw the line. Weaponization of outer space is something that we should continue to oppose and that word “any” will create some confusion, and we could well clear up this confusion with an amendment.

I will get to the main substance of what we are talking about, which is Norad and a ballistic missile defence system that would operate from the ground or from water perhaps, but certainly earth based as opposed to space based.

I believe we should go this route. Why? We are dealing with the safety and security of Canadians. We are expected to do what we can to defend our country and our safety and security.

Is there a threat? Yes, there is a threat. It may not be imminent. It may not be something that is immediately around the corner. These things take time to plan out. They are still testing the system of being able to hit a missile with a missile. We are looking at perhaps a few years down the road where this threat could become very real.

What are the signs that this is the case? The signs are the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If we look at the statistics, many more countries are possessing these kind of weapons nowadays and with technology advancing as it is, it is possible for this technology to spread around.

There was concern when the Soviet Union broke up that many of the scientists were spreading their capabilities and selling their capabilities in many different parts of the world. We cannot take that lightly. It may not seem like it is around the corner or that it will happen today, but we have to plan these kind of defences out in advance.

Indeed let me point out that it is a defensive system. This is a non-nuclear missile that we are talking about, totally defensive, totally for the purpose of knocking down an incoming weapon that may have a warhead of mass destruction, and doing that quite far out from the atmosphere of the earth so a disintegration of the weapon occurs.

If we can develop such a weapon or be part of the United States developing such a weapon, why would we not? It is an entirely defensive matter. It does not lead to what is called star wars at all. We make a decision based on this project and its merits alone. That is really what is before us at this point in time.

There is more testing that needs to be done. People may question that. However I can state that the technology is feasible. They will get through the testing. They will be able to make this happen.

What is being asked of us in this regard? We are not being asked to contribute any of the capital costs. We are not being asked to contribute land. We are being asked if we would support what the United States is doing. Since it is in our interest, because the Americans are talking about defending the continent, I believe we should be a part of it.

In fact we have a logical bilateral institution that should be taking responsibility for the operations of this system, and that is Norad. Norad already has the responsibility for detecting anything that comes into North American air space, whether it be a missile or a jet fighter, a bomb or whatever it may be. Also, it already has the responsibility to intercept, except the inventory of what it has to use to intercept will not cover every such possible intrusion in future. Jet fighters will not stop an ICBM if one should be coming into our continent.

Even if it is not aimed at our country, there are a lot of border cities that one has to consider could be at risk. If there is an accidental launch or a rogue regime launch, maybe not likely at this point but could happen somewhere down the road, who is to say the accuracy would be so great that we could be sure it would not come into Canadian space?

I believe when it comes to the defence of North America, Norad is an example of where we work in a cooperative way with the United States. The U.S. puts a lot more money into it than we do. We get a bargain for what we put into it, and yet we are right at the table. The deputy commander is a Canadian general and Canadians are in the operations room. I have been there. I have been in Colorado Springs and in Cheyenne Mountain. I have seen the operational systems and Canadians are very much at the centre of that system. In fact, Canadians were in the control seat on September 11 and on many other occasions. There is a very suitable integration in defence of our common continent between our two countries, and that is the logical institution for control and decision-making on the system on an operational basis day in and day out.

If we decide not to become part of the ballistic missile defence system, I believe Norad will be marginalized because we will have decisions being made only by Americans, which could affect us. I do not believe that is right. We are far better off being inside the tent, as is being said, or inside the room at the table. We are far better off knowing what is going on, getting all the information we need and being part of the decision making that flows back to our government as well as the U.S. government. It works that way today and it should continue to work that way with ballistic missile defence.

It does not solve all the problems in terms of the threats. Obviously, ballistic missile defence would not have stopped what happened on September 11, but that should be a warning and it should also be an understanding of the kind of concern our American neighbours have about the threat to them.

Therefore, let us be a part of a system that is in our security interests.

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?

The Deputy Speaker

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Lanark—Carleton, The Budget; the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst, Fisheries.

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CA

Keith Martin

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the former defence minister for his speech. It displayed his extensive knowledge over this issue.

Could he tell us whether he believes that participating in this project would improve relations with the United States and what else could we do to deal with the terrorist threat we all face?

I specifically want to address the issue of fissile material in the former Soviet Union of which there is a lack of control. It is a big concern of the Americans and Europeans and it should be a concern of ours. Perhaps he could enlighten the House as to what his government should be doing to help the United States and other countries get control over these fissile materials, to locate, neutralize and destroy these materials.

Also, could he enlighten the House on the important engagement that has to take place with our country, the Americans and the former Soviet Union countries in terms of the policing and intelligence coordination to deal with the real nexus of evil, which is the combination of fissile materials, corruption and organized crime in the former Soviet Union?

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LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Art Eggleton

Mr. Speaker, in answer to the first question, yes I believe this will improve relations with the United States. This is an area that we have seen time and time again in the past through Norad where a very strong cooperation exists and adding to it with this defensive system is positive in that direction.

With respect to fissile materials and the whole question of controls, NATO has taken a considerable interest in that. There is a nuclear committee at NATO. I attended many of its meetings over the years as defence minister, and in more recent years since the end of the cold war, this has been the prime topic of discussion. The United States has put considerable time and effort into trying to bring about better controls of these materials. It has worked with the Russians in that regard. NATO and the NATO countries, including our own, have also been part and parcel of that.

However there is no doubt that some of the people and some of the information has gone out and the threat of proliferation has been added to by that very fact. That is part of the reason why this kind of response is coming from the United States in terms of protection through ballistic missile defence. It is not the only means but it certainly is an area that can help in this regard and it is an area of concern given the breakup of the Soviet Union.

However there are substantial controls, as much as there can be, and efforts are being made through NATO and the United States to control those materials and the information involving nuclear weapons.

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CA

Keith Martin

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Keith Martin

Mr. Speaker, some would suggest that NATO is now irrelevant in this year of the great hegemony south of the border. The former minister brought up the interaction between Norad and NATO.

With his experience, what does he feel NATO's role will be in the future in terms relative to our protection and our defence needs and is NATO now irrelevant given the place of the U.S. in the international sphere and also the threats that we face in the future?

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LIB

Art Eggleton

Liberal

Hon. Art Eggleton

Mr. Speaker, I think NATO still is very relevant. One sign is the fact that many countries have just joined and many countries still want to join because they recognize two things are important for their future prosperity. One is economic prosperity, which they hope to get through membership or affiliation with the European Union. The other, which is basically and fundamentally needed first, is a sense of security, particularly with some of the past conflicts in Europe. The desire to have the sense of security that comes through NATO is very important to them.

NATO is a collective defence organization. I do not think any one of our countries could defend itself against a major onslaught. It would need collective defence mechanisms. We have built up and are continuing to build up an interoperability among the different countries. NATO is itself developing capabilities like the AWACS system or perhaps even a strategic lift that can be used for the member countries on a shared basis. Collective defence is still a very valid thing.

NATO though in future, as the situation in Yugoslavia settles down and becomes much better than it was in the past, could use its rapid reaction forces to help in terms of peace support operations in other parts of the world, either under the UN or some other international banner where it could make a valuable contribution in the future.

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LIB

Charles Caccia

Liberal

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that this motion is ill conceived, out of sync and motivated by threat.

It is historically out of sync because, as everyone knows, the Berlin wall came down in 1989 and Norad, which is the main focus of this motion, was created in order to protect Canada when there were two superpowers. Today there are no longer two superpowers. Canada is no longer sandwiched between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. There is no threat coming from the north and therefore, Norad is moribund, if not dead, in its purpose. Therefore, I am saying that this motion is out of sync with history.

Second, the motion is motivated by fear. I am challenging every member in the House, particularly those in the official opposition, to indicate in this debate who is the enemy of Canada. Tell us, who is the enemy of this country? Whom are we to be afraid of? Then this motion will have a minimum of relevance and significance.

Canada has no enemy in the world. The official opposition is creating an atmosphere of fear and an unfounded sense of insecurity caused by policies that emanate, as we all know, mostly from the White House, which are bellicose in nature and create a tremendous amount of disequilibrium in the world.

What is fuelling the threats in the world today? Everyone should ask themselves that question. What is fuelling the threats in the world today? It is poverty. It is hunger. It is ignorance. It is a lack of democratic institutions. It is civil strife. It is environmental degradation, a lack of water, desertification. Just name it. It is pandemic diseases and gross economic inequalities. Those issues are causing the tensions in the world today. It is not the existence of rogue states, which is the terminology the official opposition has bought from the White House.

Libya is mentioned. Imagine Libya sending missiles to North America. It is ridiculous. It is absolutely absurd what the official opposition is coming up with in this debate. Those members ought to be ashamed of themselves because they are creating the impression outside the House that there are enemies of Canada. Name them. Where are they? Who are they?

There is this other little notion being put forward by the opposition that we must be under the tent, that we must be at the table with Norad under the illusion that by being at the table we will have a say. Does anyone really think we could have an influence in the determination of a missile defence system if we were to follow it? Does anyone think we would have any weight in Washington? This is not our agenda. We are not going to pay a penny for that system. It is the piper that plays the tune, is it not? Canada will be listened to politely, but we will have no weight. This notion that it is important to be part of the discussions under the tent, at the table is so naive it almost makes one cry.

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LIB
LIB

Charles Caccia

Liberal

Hon. Charles Caccia

It is ludicrous, as the member for York North has suggested.

Then we come to another reason that we should be very careful with this kind of business. It is the one that was raised, and quite rightly, by the member for York Centre when he said that we should not be engaged in any activity that would lead to the weaponization of space. That is a very important consideration.

We already had this debate in the House a couple of weeks ago. If the Minister of National Defence were asked whether there was the possibility of a weaponization of space, he in all honesty would not be able to deny that eventually there could be a weaponization of space once we enter a missile system. There will be considerable pressure eventually. This is a possibility that we ought to be taking very seriously, as we all do.

Something I learned about this a couple of days ago has troubled me enormously and I believe it was raised in the debate earlier today. It has to do with a decision made by the senate armed services committee in Washington. There is a decision to repeal a ban against developing smaller, more usable nuclear warheads, and the senate armed services committee already has voted in favour of a total repeal of the prohibition which was passed 10 years ago. The prohibition is gone. We have learned from media reports that the Bush administration and many Republicans in Congress have said that the law should be repealed because in a world of dangerous new threats, the United States needs a new generation of low-yield weapons for pinpoint strikes, et cetera. The language always has to be translated into plain English. Low-yield weapons mean having warheads with a force of five kilotons. That is about a third of the force of the warheads used in bombing Hiroshima in 1945 which caused the deaths of 140,000 civilians.

Someone may wonder what the connection is between that and the missile system. It is possible that these kinds of signals of re-armament, these kinds of initiatives which are coming out of Washington eventually will find their way into the weaponization of space. Once we move in that direction in a general policy sense, there is no limit to how far we will go when under pressure in terms of potential threats.

There is a third reason. The first was that Norad is no longer relevant. The second was that there is no enemy of Canada. The third is that the threats are not threats of weapons by some of these states that are in desperate economic shape, including North Korea, but the threats come from other sources. I have indicated many and the ones that I think are particularly important are the gross economic inequalities, the poverty, the hunger and the environmental degradation. To me these are the real threats with which we should be coping.

I was interested in an observation made by my colleague from Medicine Hat, for whom I have a great deal of respect. He said that he was nervous in the knowledge that a certain country has nuclear weapons. I agree with him. We should be nervous about the possession of nuclear weapons by any country. We have to come to grips with deciding who is ethically entitled to be the possessor of weapons of mass destruction. That is a debate which has not even started yet, but the member for Medicine Hat is right to be nervous. We are all nervous but not because it is just one nation in Asia. There are many nations that are in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

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May 29, 2003