Speaking Out on Star Wars

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I feel truly shocked listening to the comments by the Minister of National Defence today in the House and his announcement that Canada is about to enter into negotiations with the U.S. on a Missile Defence system.
I am even more outraged that he does it on the rationale that somehow we are defending our continued opposition to the weaponization of space. If we know anything about missile defence or Star Wars, surely it is an understanding that this is the first step to military control of space by the U.S. and the weaponization and militarization of space.

I am really shocked to hear that Canada is repudiating decades and decades of policy on arms control and is now about to get into bed with the Americans on this issue.

One would expect this sort of motion from the Canadian Alliance, but when I heard the Member say this motion was about fresh thinking and when she talked about the nationally acclaimed defence policy of the Canadian Alliance, I started to laugh. It seems to me that the defence policy of the Canadian Alliance has been thoroughly discredited right across the country. That is the kind of mentality that was prevalent during the Cold War. Apparently the Canadian Alliance is still back there several decades ago.

For months and months we have been quizzing the federal government, the Prime Minister, the provisional government in waiting and the former Finance Minister to find out where the Liberal government stands on this issue. Even as recently as last month we heard the Prime Minister saying that he really did not know, that the U.S. had not asked anything and we could not respond to anything. But all of a sudden here we are today with an announcement by the Defence Minister that we are now ready to enter into negotiations. This is a very bad day for Canada historically.

We should be very clear about what is taking place here with this motion from the Alliance, which is just a knee-jerk reaction to what George W. Bush wants. What the U.S. is really doing is seeking the political legitimization of the National Missile Defence program. This has been very well spelled-out by Senator Douglas Roche, who has done a lot of research and has been very outspoken on this issue.

This issue of political legitimization is something that we now can see the Liberal government has just walked right into. Any person in their right mind would know that this kind of expenditure on a National Missile Defence system, which will lead us to the militarization and the weaponization of space, is going to cost at least a trillion dollars.

Most people understand the insanity of that kind of approach. I think probably Mr. Bush himself understands that. We hear the Member for LaSalle-Émard, the former Finance Minister, talk about protecting Canadian sovereignty from these ballistic missiles. What ballistic missiles? What threat are we speaking of? Are we prepared to spend a trillion dollars for a threat that has never been identified? Are we prepared to allow our universe, our space, to be used for militarization and for weaponization?

That is what is being suggested here. The NDP is so concerned about Star Wars that it has actually been conducting campaigns with its members. We have a petition on our website, www.ndp.ca, and we are encouraging Canadians, even more so today given the news we heard from the Defence Minister, to sign our petition and to make it absolutely clear to the government that the policy that it is enunciating has had no debate in the House. It has been behind closed doors, presumably in the cabinet room.

We must call upon Canadians to stand up and make this very clear, just as they did in opposing the war on Iraq.

This Speech in Parliament was posted on May 29, 2003