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Senate Report Urges Canada To Join US Missile Defence Shield

The committee urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper's (pictured) Conservative government to double it to two percent of GDP, saying Canada is "woefully unprepared ... to deal with profound international and domestic change likely to mark the early decades of the 21st century."
by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP) Oct 05, 2006
Ottawa should consider joining a controversial US missile defense shield, further boost military spending, and double foreign aid, a Canadian senate defense committee urged Thursday. "It is in Canada's interest to begin discussions once more with the United States with a view to becoming a partner in the US ballistic missile defense program," Conservative Senator Michael Meaghan told reporters.

The previous Liberal government opted out of the shield in March 2005 over fears that it would spur a global arms race and lead to weapons being deployed in space.

But the senate committee opined in a defense report released Thursday that "there will eventually be weapons in space," despite Canadians' objections and that Canada should not be left out of the program.

Joining the shield would also help thaw relations with Washington, which cooled in recent years over trade rows and Ottawa's refusal to support the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, committee members said.

In their report, they described Canada's attitude towards the United States during this period, which was marked by name-calling and much anti-US rhetoric, as "immature."

"Whatever Canadians may see as America's problems and Washington's occasional errors in judgment, only an improved working relationship with the United States will bring Canada the security and prosperity its citizens want," the report stated.

The committee also signaled that the "scope and pace" of Canadian military spending would fall short by five-15 billion Canadian dollars (4.4-13.3 billion US) per year to meet likely security threats over the next decade.

Ottawa's projected annual military budget to 2012 is 20 billion dollars (17.7 billion US), or one percent of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP).

The committee urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government to double it to two percent of GDP, saying Canada is "woefully unprepared ... to deal with profound international and domestic change likely to mark the early decades of the 21st century."

Also, Canada's foreign aid budget is "shamefully low" and should be doubled to 0.7 percent of GDP to reduce "widespread poverty and bitterness that leads to wars," the report's authors said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Japan Give Ballistic Missile Defence A Boost For Bush
Washington (UPI) Oct 06, 2006
Shinzo Abe's smooth accession as prime minister of Japan will give an enormous boost to the U.S. missile defense program. That is because Abe, the handpicked successor of outgoing Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, has made very clear he intends not only to stick with his predecessor's groundbreaking programs on ballistic missile defense cooperation with the United States but even to accelerate them.







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