Canada opts out of U.S. defense shield

Why? Because the sentiment there is that it will lead to an arms race.


So guess what this means now? It means Washington, DC gets to decide what to do if a missile is headed towards Canada:

Prime Minister Paul Martin said Thursday that Canada would not join the contentious U.S. missile defense program, a decision that will further strain brittle relations between the neighbors but please Canadians who fear it could lead to an international arms race.

The Bush administration has tried to make a public show of understanding that Martin heads up a minority government that could fall over such a contentious debate. But after the announcement, U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci told reporters he was perplexed over Canada’s decision, which he said effectively allows Washington to decide what to do if a missile was headed toward Canada.

“We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty – its seat at the table – to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada,” said the outgoing ambassador, who had vigorously urged Canada to sign on the plan.

Martin initially supported the US defense shield, though:

Martin, who leads a tenuous minority government, has said Ottawa would not support what he called the “weaponization of space.” Though he initially supported joining the program when he was a candidate for the Liberal leadership, Martin has retreated, since polls indicate that a majority of Canadians oppose it. Many believe that the umbrella, when fully implemented, could lead to an international arms race.


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