Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Now Canada is Out of BMD

Earlier today incoming Ambassador to the US Frank McKenna claimed that Canada was already part of the missile defense plan. Minister of Defense Bill Graham spent the next few hours defending the party in commons saying that no decision had been reached. Looks like Bill's out of the loop, because the CBC's reporting that Paul Martin informed President Bush that Canada will not take part in the continental Missile Defense program.

CBC's french language network reported late tonight that the Prime Minister will make the announcement as early as Thursday. The decision is a huge change of direction from Martin, who pledged support for the program during the leadership race.

The US has been putting significant pressure on the government to join the program, but the CBC's sources indicated that domestic concerns - namely polls indicating the public is massively against participation - outweighed foreign concerns.

Federal officials apparently told the Canadian Press that the Prime Minister informed President Bush that Canada will not take part at the NATO Summit in Brussels:

"[The Americans] were told we will not participate," a federal official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the agency.

"It is a firm 'no.' I am not sure it is an indefinite 'no.''
The Liberals had been expected to debate the issue during their policy convention in two weeks time.

The question now is what was happening this morning and when exactly did Martin tell Bush? Was it after this morning's mess? Why is our top ambassador so far out of the loop?


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