Missile Defence Decision Could Be Undone, Warns the Polaris InstituteMedia Release
For immediate release
February 16, 2006
Missile Defence Decision Could Be Undone, Group Warns
(Ottawa) The new Conservative government could undo the previous Liberal government's decision on ballistic missile defence, according to an analysis of the upcoming Parliament released by the Polaris Institute.
The report is being released only days before the first anniversary of former Prime Minister Paul Martin's announcement on February 24, 2005, that Canada would not participate in ballistic missile defence.
During the recent election, party leader Stephen Harper pledged to reopen talks if they were requested by the Bush administration, and to bring any agreement before Parliament for a free vote. All three opposition parties oppose missile defence, which indicates that the Harper government could face a humiliating defeat in a vote.
"But missile defence opponents should not become complacent," warns Steven Staples, Director of Security Programs at the Polaris Institute. "The danger remains that Canada could become involved, through either existing NORAD agreements or a new agreement."
The political analysis is part of an assessment of the 2006 election results produced by the Polaris Institute titled "The New Peace Lobby: A Five-Point Action Plan for the 39th Parliament". While apprehensive about missile defence, the institute points out that civil society organizations could achieve other goals in the upcoming minority Parliament.
"All parties oppose space weapons, so the Conservatives could continue the work initiated under the Liberals at the UN," said Staples, "and there is a growing consensus in Ottawa that a public debate on Canada's role in Afghanistan is long overdue."
The Polaris Institute will pursue five key objectives when Parliament resumes on April 3, encouraging the government to lead UN talks to ban space weapons, increase parliamentary oversight of Canadian military spending, and hold a public debate on the Canadian Forces' role in Afghanistan.
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Steven Staples, Director of Security Programs,
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1P5 Canada
t. 613 237-1717 x 107 c. 613 290-2695
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