Thursday, April 10, 2008

MDA sale blocked, for now

It's not that often that I agree with PMS, but for the first time in months Harper has done something that is actually a good thing. The proposed sale of MacDonald Detweiler and Associates to a US arms firm has been blocked for now over concerns that the States will get its hands on secret Canadian technology -- specifically, a satellite that has potential surveillance purposes.

It's a major issue because as global warming speeds up, the Northwest Passage could become ice-free all year and it will be up to Canada to find a way to make sure the shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans stays Canadian. Currently, most countries including the US and the EU member states view the Passage as international waters -- even considering the northern-most islands to be terra nullis belonging to no one though the UK ceded them to Canada in the 1880s.

Frankly, it's time someone actually stood up for Canadian high tech firms. This had the potential of being the biggest scandal since the cancellation of the F-105 Arrow which caused a brain drain that lasted the better part of two decades -- its was only with the robotic "Canadarm" on the space shuttle and the International Space Station that we finally began to catch up to the rest of the world. And we were going to go back to the Diefenbunker days.

Clearly MDA has increased its value and has more than paid back what we as taxpayers put into it. But it should stay in Canadian hands, period. Our arms industry, limited as it may be, is not for sale. Not to the Chinese, not to Europeans, and certainly not to Americans. If they want to build a new plant here and build stuff, like GM does for the gun turrets for diesel tanks in London, Ontario, that's fine. But if they want to steal our homegrown technology, they'll have the full force of Canadians to deal with.

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