Thursday, January 17, 2008

Canadarm sale aids and abets land mines

As a middle power, especially one without nuclear weapons, there's only so much Canada can do. But there are times when the world turns to this country for leadership on foreign policy; given we're a bridge with our strong ties to NATO as well as usually more cordial relations with nation-states the US State Department almost never acknowledges. When Reagan and Thatcher refused to impose trade sanctions against apartheid South Africa, Canada took the role in leading an economic boycott -- eventually, the US Congress overrode yet another Reagan veto and from there the rest of the story is known.

When Bill Clinton refused to sign on to a treaty on land mines (so did Russia and Korea, among others), Canada pushed ahead anyway and led over a hundred countries to outlaw the scourge. Now, it looks like Canada may be placed in violation of the very treaty Canada got most of the civilized world to sign -- which is called the Ottawa Convention, in fact.

Because as reported this morning on CBC R1, the space division of Macdonald Detwiler, the Canadian company that gave the world the space robotic arm that even NASA now calls the Canadarm, is being sold to an American company that as it turns out makes -- wait for it -- land mines.

No doubt you won't hear any of the American candidates for President speak about this either. After all, far as I know, they all support land mines too.

Stephen Harper has a duty to put a stop to this, now. Failure to do so means that he believes Canada should be a compliant client state of the US, just as the Eastern Bloc harmonzied their foreign policies to match that of the former Soviet Union. If he draws a line in the sand, then he'll truly be a leader. As it stands now, his continued silence means one thing, to use a turn of his own phrase: Stephen Harper is not a leader.

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1 comment:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! The HarpoonTossers don't give a rat's ass about any dang treaties signed by any dang Liberals. Kyoto, Kelowna... Unless they're kissin' Merkan ass, like in NATO.

They can just use the same logic as in Bali. Since big land mine producing countries didn't sign the treaty, it's meaningless. It's goals can never be achieved, so why bother tryin'?