February 17, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Sheila Copps


Hon. Sheila Copps (Hamilton East, Lib.)

Madam Chair, it is certainly relevant that the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, who resigned from the Liberal Party today, said that one of the reasons he left the party was he felt that the opportunities to express different points of view were no longer as welcome as they had been in the past.
If there is an issue upon which there are certainly diverse points of view in this Liberal Party, it is indeed this issue. I am heartened by the fact that with this take note debate we will be able to hear the points of view of many different Canadians, including many Liberals, who have serious concerns about the course that is being charted by the government.
As I was reviewing some material in advance of this evening, I came across a letter, and I have had dozens of letters cross my desk on this issue. I thought this letter summarized better than any letter why the son of star wars should not be a choice for Canada. It is a letter addressed to the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs. It states:

Although joining Star Wars has some practical benefits for Canada, it represents such a fundamental deleterious shift in Canadian policy that we should reject it.
The practical benefits include not having to say “no” to the United States, military cooperation benefits, and possible investment opportunities. I understand that these are attractive.
Star Wars participation should be rejected on three grounds: First, it starts our participation in nuclear war fighting. Second, it involves us in a dubious legality vis-à-vis the ABM treaty. Third and most important, it promotes the military empire building strategy that is behind Star Wars. In addition, once we join Star Wars it will be impossible to back out.

The letter was actually written by a family doctor in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He went on to state:

The Shield: In nuclear war strategy early warning is like the “eyes”, nuclear weapons are like the “sword”, and missile defence is like the “shield”. Careful military analysis sees the “eyes” as stabilizing because a country can be confident that it is not being attacked. On the other hand, with nuclear weapons, the “shield” has always been seen as destabilizing. A country looking at its enemy's nuclear weapons will be very nervous if it sees its own retaliatory force being rendered useless. Each of that country's several possible responses make the earth a far more dangerous place.
Canada has rightly been part of the “eyes”. To become part of the “shield” starts us on a new dangerous path. We become part of nuclear war fighting. We will for the first time participate in a project that makes the earth and Canada less safe.
The Law: Breaking international agreements may not matter to everyone, but I think it should matter to Canadians. Reading Article 15 of the ABM treaty reveals that the treaty was meant to be of unlimited duration....
Russia has done nothing to warrant termination of this treaty. To join with Star Wars would condone the reneging of the ABM treaty.
The Monster Plan: I would invite you to look at the website of the Project for the New American Century. Their statement of principles is signed by Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, among others. They talk about total American military supremacy and Star Wars as its centrepiece. They plan military domination of space and from there unchallenged domination of the earth. This is a monster plan. Furthermore, the American Department of Defense's missile defence website includes this total Star Wars plan.
No getting out: If Canada joins Star Wars it is joining the whole plan and for all time. Can you imagine a future Canadian Prime Minister trying to back out of Star Wars and the American President saying: “But it was you who asked to join. It was clear that we intended from the beginning to eventually put weapons in space. It was even on our website. Our militaries are now integrated in this project. Canada cannot back out now.” If Canada joins Star Wars, we are effectively locked in.
In conclusion: The decision of whether to join Star Wars is one of the most momentous in Canadian history. Are we to choose to be part of a nuclear war fighting machine? I hope not.
I believe we can best help our American friends by diligence at our border, by peacekeeping missions, and by development of international law. This has been our course to date. We should not abandon it.
Sincerely, Earl B. Morris, M.D.

There are far wiser persons than I, and some even wiser than Dr. Morris, who have set the reasons for us. Above all, the strength of Canada has always been based on our capacity to build bridges with the world. Building a wall around North America by joining this plan will reduce our opportunities to build bridges with the world.
I see our country, and I see our party, as one that builds bridges. There are no shields strong enough to fight hate. What fights hate is the capacity to walk in the other shoes.
What can really counteract war and hatred is the ability to know oneself and one another, and to see oneself reflected in the diversities of the other; If we decided to reject everything and come out in favour of this warlike American mission, this would forever be harmful to Canada's opportunity to give hope to all the world's cultures about the possibility of co-existence.
This is why this undertaking of the Americans must stay with the Americans. Canada must have a sovereign voice, a voice that speaks out against President Bush's bellicose policy.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
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