Art EGGLETON

EGGLETON, The Hon. Art, P.C.

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  York Centre (Ontario)
  • President of the Treasury Board (November 4, 1993 - January 24, 1996)
  • Minister responsible for Infrastructure (November 4, 1993 - January 24, 1996)
  • Minister for International Trade (January 25, 1996 - June 10, 1997)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  York Centre (Ontario)
  • Minister for International Trade (January 25, 1996 - June 10, 1997)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 11, 1997 - May 25, 2002)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  York Centre (Ontario)
  • Minister of National Defence (June 11, 1997 - May 25, 2002)
March 24, 2005 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  York Centre (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 328)


February 17, 2004

Hon. Art Eggleton

Oh yes, the Americans have had a number of tests that have worked. In fact, for any country that can put a man on the moon and can put the kind of equipment that they have on Mars, it certainly will not take long before they master this technology. They will.

It is a discrete system. It is one that we can sign on to and say, “Yes, that is in the defence of North America. That is a completely defensive system”. As we have said to them quite clearly, “If you go to weaponization of space, we are not going to be there with you”.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
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February 17, 2004

Hon. Art Eggleton (York Centre, Lib.)

Madam Chair, in the period since the end of the Cold War we have seen a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. We have seen a diffusion of technology going throughout the world that has been used in those cases to develop chemical, biological and perhaps even nuclear weapons.

We have heard just in the last few days about nuclear secrets coming out of Pakistan. Just in the last year or two, we have seen the development of two-stage missile systems, medium to long range missile systems out of North Korea, not necessarily for their own use but perhaps for sales to others.

If this trend continues, then it is quite conceivable that somewhere in future years we could see a launching of an intercontinental ballistic missile against a city in North America with a nuclear or some other kind of warhead on it.

I would think that if that kind of circumstance were to occur, I would not see that anybody would object if we could send up a missile to destroy that incoming missile before it hit its target.

That is all we are talking about. We are talking about a defensive missile system. It has no warhead on it, but it goes up into space and at a very high speed hits the incoming missile and destroys that missile before it can hit its target and kill literally thousands upon thousands of people.

I do not see why anybody would be against having that kind of system. That kind of system is not star wars. It does not lead to an arms race. It is a completely defensive system. It does not lead us down the path to weaponization of outer space.

I do not believe that we are going to see the Americans go that route any time soon, but even if ultimately they did, there is no reason that we have to be there with them. In fact, we should not be there with them. We oppose the weaponization of outer space.

There are those who say “but if we get into this path of ballistic missile defence it is a slippery slope”. No, it is not. We quite clearly indicated in the war on terrorism that we would go to Afghanistan with our American allies, but we did not go to Iraq. We made a decision that we felt was in our national interest. We went to one and we did not go to the other.

We can make those kinds of distinctions and those kinds of decisions on any other matter, including this whole question of how far to go on these defensive weapons. Weaponization of outer space is something that this country opposes and should continue to oppose.

Nor do we have to go with any substantial capital costs. The Americans have already provided for the capital costs for this system. Quite frankly, we could not afford it in any event. There could be some costs with respect to administration, with respect to operational issues of having additional personnel at Norad, for example, but we would not be participating in any substantial capital costs.

If this sounds like the system is a fait accompli, that is because it is. It is not something that has been invented by the Bush administration. In fact, it is the subject of a piece of legislation that passed through the United States Congress in 1999: the national missile defence act. It was signed into existence by the former president, Bill Clinton. The current president has said that they will deploy missiles starting this fall.

Starting this fall: so I think there is a need to get on with this in discussion with our American allies, because if they are going to make decisions that affect the safety and the security of the people of North America, then I think it is in our national interest to be at the table.

Being at the table involves, to my mind, Norad. Norad is the agency between Canada and the United States that we have had for over 50 years and that has successfully monitored anything coming into the airspace of North America. It detects missiles coming in. It can detect any object from outer space. It detects aircraft. Originally it was designed to detect strategic bombers coming in over the Pole from the Soviet Union as it existed in those days, but today it plays a very important role in detecting anything happening in our airspace.

It was very vital on September 11, 2001. Norad quickly moved to deal with the issues involved and to have planes come into Canada at that particular point in time, as many of them did. They controlled the airspace. There was a Canadian in the command position at the time of the disaster of 9/11, so Canada played a very key role in that.

Norad can detect anything coming in and it can send jet fighters up to deal with anything, except that it does not have missiles. Missiles are the one missing part of a defensive system. If we do have an incoming offensive missile, Norad is the logical entity to be dealing with sending up a defensive missile to destroy it.

I think we need to work that out in the Norad context. If we do not, then the Americans will be making these decisions on their own and we will be left outside the door. It will marginalize Norad. We cannot afford to have that happen. We need to be there. We need to be part of the decision making process. That is certainly in the interests of the people of our country. I hope that is the decision we will ultimately make: to be a partner. That is in our interest.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
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February 17, 2004

Hon. Art Eggleton

Madam Chair, not everybody believes that is where it is ultimately going to end, but even given that a lot of people say that--and the member has quoted a number of people--we do not have to be there with them, just as we were not there with them in Iraq. We took a stand. We said no. We did not agree with what they were doing there. We did not agree with them operating outside the multilateral process. We were not going to go that way. People said that we were going to pay a price for that, but we said, “No, we believe that is the right thing to do”.

We will do what we believe is in our interests and what is in the interests of the worldwide community. Weaponization of space is not in the interests of the worldwide community.

If the United States ultimately decides to go there, we will just say no. We are with them in terms of missile defence. It is a discrete system. It is a system that can work.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
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February 17, 2004

Hon. Art Eggleton

Madam Chair, the member is quite correct. Even if George Bush were to be re-elected, there is no way that this system, any kind of weaponization of space, could possibly be deployed in his time as president and certainly Canada would not be there. Canada would not be supporting that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
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February 17, 2004

Hon. Art Eggleton

Madam Chair, we will only go as far as we feel it is in our national interest to go. We do not want to go in the direction of the weaponization of outer space. Even if the Americans eventually go there, we do not have to go there, just as we did not go to Iraq.

We make the decisions that are in our national interest. I believe this is in our national interest, but to go to the weaponization of space is not. I have every confidence that Canadians know where to draw the line, where it is in our interest and where it is not in our interest.

In terms of trying to please the Americans, they are our closest neighbour, our closest friend and ally, and our major trading partner. We certainly want to work with them in terms of defence and security of North America, just as we work together in all those other areas. We have to look at what our interests and our values are. We have to determine whether we can go in this direction with them. Sometimes we will be able to go with them and sometimes we will not.

We will make those kinds of distinctions. I have every confidence that the government and the people of this country will do what is in our own national interest.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
Full View Permalink