US Ballistic Missile Defense

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): – Mr. Speaker, last February the Prime Minister said that Canada would not participate in ballistic missile defence. Apparently, U.S. defence contractor, Raytheon, did not get the message and, as we now know, is scouting Goose Bay as the site for the “eyes” of the U.S. missile defence shield.

I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister, will she stand in her place today and tell Raytheon that Canada is not interested in their proposals? Will she reaffirm the government’s commitment that there will be no star wars in Canada and no participation, or will this be yet another broken Liberal promise?

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, myself and everybody has been very clear in this House that Canada is not participating in ballistic missile defence.

We have no intention whatsoever to participate in ballistic missile defence and if a private company wishes to go around and scout out, as the hon. Member said, or try to sell something, there is nothing we can do to stop that. It is a free country.

However, we have not been approached by the United States government. There are no discussions of any kind about this on an official level, so this is a purely speculative matter by the hon. Member. I can assure her not to worry about it, we are not entering into ballistic missile defence.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the minister said it is just a matter of speculation. Why wait for George Bush or Raytheon to come forward with an official suggestion? Why not tell them right here and now that it is a no go in Canada?

Why do the Liberals not send that message, or are they simply waiting for the prospectus to come forward from the self-titled industry leader in the battle space integration?

Let us send a clear message. We should say no and make that clear; never mind any speculations, say no now.

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not have the liberty of the hon. Member who is capable of saying no to something when she does not know what is being proposed. I do not know what Raytheon is proposing. I do not know the technicalities of what it is they are suggesting. It is a free country. If they want to go around talking about it, that is fine.

If it is participation in ballistic missile defence, the answer is very clear; it is no, but at least let us get an official request of some kind to which we can respond before we say no. It is no to ballistic defence, no, no, no, but not no to something that is purely speculative that we do not know anything about.