is talking to Washington about the use of Canadian
soil for stationing interceptor rocket launchers and
radar stations as part of a continental ballistic
missile defence program.
Minister David Pratt yesterday said Canada is
considering making some of its geography in the north
available in lieu of a major cash contribution if the
federal government decides to join the American
now, federal officials have said that Canadian
participation in the U.S. program probably would not
involve Canadian territory or a cash contribution.
in two interviews yesterday, Mr. Pratt refused to rule
out this possibility.
just have to wait and see" whether the
discussions with the Americans could lead the basing
of interceptor rocket launchers in Canada, he said on
the CTV News program Question Period.
going to have to see the technical data and what it
produces by way of plans for the future," he
added. "The Americans haven't talked money with
us. But one of the things we have said is in-kind
contributions are possible ..... possible use of
Canadian territory for radar sites," he later
told The Globe and Mail.
subject to the discussions resulting in some sort of
arrangement with the United States on missile defence.
It's all very speculative," he said.
stressed that negotiations with Washington are still
in the early stages, as are U.S. plans for the
deployment of various components of the missile
defence system. Thus, it is too early to tell whether
Canadian territory would actually be needed to make a
full-scale system work, he said.
are historic precedents, however, for this sort of
co-operation in continental defence.
United States was allowed to place nuclear-armed
surface-to-air Bomarc missiles in northern Quebec and
Ontario in the early 1960s to defend against a
possible Soviet bomber attack on North America. The
weapons were removed after a change of Canadian policy
the 1980s, the United States and Canada jointly built
the North Warning System with radar sites and
interceptor jet landing fields situated in the
Canadian Arctic to protect against Soviet bombers. The
United States put up most of the money and Canada
provided the territory. The system is still maintained
jointly by Canada and the United States, but it is not
put into regular operation.
Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney
turned down a U.S. invitation to participate in an
ambitious Star Wars defence against ballistic missiles
because the plan envisioned putting weapons into
Canadian government still opposes deploying weapons in
space, Mr. Pratt said.
current American proposal is limited to deployment of
weapons on the ground or aboard naval ships, he said.
first rudimentary pieces of the system are to go into
operation later this year with the basing of
interceptor rockets at Fort Greely, Alaska and
Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Pentagon said recently it is considering putting some
components of the system in an unspecified foreign
country to improve the protection of the U.S. homeland
"as well as for our allies and friends."
says the system is needed to protect North America
against an accidental launch of a Russian ballistic
missile or a missile attack from North Korea.
say this is an expensive way to defend against these
Pentagon plans to spend $53-billion (U.S.) on missile
defence between now and the end of the decade.
Canadian officials are expected to discuss the state
of the negotiations Monday.