MacKay rules out joining missile
[PoliticsWatch updated 6:15 p.m. October 16, 2006]
Canada's foreign affairs minister said Monday North Korea's recent
test of a nuclear weapon has not prompted the Conservative
government to consider joining the U.S.-led ballistic missile
Asked by PoliticsWatch after question period if the North
Korean test has prompted the government to consider joining missile
defence, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said,
"No. There's no move in that direction, whatsoever."
"It's not on our agenda."
On October 9. North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P'unggye.
Earlier Monday, the office of U.S. National Intelligence Director John
Negroponte revealed for the first time that air sample tests
confirm North Korea tested a nuclear weapon.
The international community, including Canada, has been strongly
condemning North Korea's test.
Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement
calling the test an "irresponsible and dangerous act. "
The test has also prompted missile defence supporters in Canada to
call on the government to join the U.S. land-based missile defence
Last year, then prime minister Paul Martin pulled out of
talks with the U.S. on joining the program after pressure from his
caucus and Liberals in Quebec.
But over the weekend, CanWest News obtained a submission Frank
McKenna, Canada's former ambassador to Washington, made to the
Liberal party's renewal commission in which he calls for the party
to reconsider opting out of missile defence.
"The recent announcement that North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon may lead the UN's Security Council to take strong action and will force countries in the region to look acutely at their own
defences," McKenna wrote. "At a minimum, it should lead to renewed debate in Canada on this very issue."
However, McKenna's recommendation fell on deaf ears in Ottawa with
his fellow Liberals and the NDP.
Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham said after question period
that "there is nothing new particularly in the efficacy of the
program that would suggest that Canada should get involved with it
at this time."
And NDP Leader Jack Layton said McKenna's comments coupled
with a recent Senate report recommending Canada join missile defence
is the "beginning of a bit of a campaign beginning to emerge to
try to put missile defence back on the Canadian agenda."
"The Senate has no accountability, Mr. McKenna has no
accountability, but evidently there is a feeling that perhaps they
may be able to (have) influence whether it's the Liberal party or
the Conservative party."
© PoliticsWatch® 2006. All rights reserved. Republication
or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing,
copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without
the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications
Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.