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Missile Politics On The Northern Flank

US plans for missile defense within Canada itself have faced years of opposition from most of Canada's political leaders.

Washington, (UPI) July 26, 2005
Bush administration leader have long been frustrated by the long-established wall-to-wall consensus among Canadian political leaders against joining the U.S. ballistic missile defence program, but that has started to change.

While the embattled government of Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin remains as implacably opposed to any cooperation with Washington on ballistic missile defence as ever, Conservative Party opposition leader Stephen Harper signaled what could prove to be the beginning of a momentous change in Washington this week.

Harper told a gathering of conservative and centrist political parties from more than 60 nations that any future Conservative government in Canada would move aggressively to step up efforts in the war on international terrorism and create a single office to oversee Canada's spy and security forces.

"In particular, Canada can play a stronger role in the war on terrorism," he told the conference of the International Democrat Union meeting according to a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper.

Harper steered clear of making any specific pledges on BMD policy, but he made clear that any future Conservative government would certainly reassess the long-standing position of Martin and his predecessor, thrice-elected Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

"A new Conservative government will do significantly more to contribute to [Canada's] own national security, to continental security in alliance with the United States and to global security in concert with all free nations," he said.

The Conservatives dominated Canadian politics through the 1980s under long-serving Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, a free market advocate and close political ally and friend of President Ronald Reagan, but have been in eclipse over the past decade and a half. However, they are showing strong signs of revival, so Harper's moves to abandon the long-standing consensus rejecting BMD defence may have practical repercussions before too long.

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BMD Focus: The Test Of Reality
Washington, (UPI) July 26, 2005
Aerospace engineers privately complain that the Bush administration is making the same mistake in its high-tech programs that the Soviet Union made in so many of its own.

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