Canada’s Conservative Party-led government seems to be probing the public interest in joining a U.S. antimissile initiative, the Globe and Mail reports.
Conservative-controlled panels in the Canadian Senate and House of Commons are interviewing experts about the costs and benefits of collaborating with the United States on a missile defense framework to protect North America, according to the Tuesday article. In 2005, then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin of the Liberal Party opted to turn down a U.S. request to participate in regional missile defense.
A change in political leadership as well as perceptions of a growing threat posed by North Korea’s long-range missile development have prompted Ottawa to reassess its stance on the issue, according to Colin Robertson, vice-president of the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute.
“I think the government is testing the waters to see whether the conditions are right,” said Robertson, who favors joining the U.S. missile shield.
Philip Coyle, a onetime head of the Pentagon’s weapons testing and evaluation office, in Monday testimony to the Senate criticized U.S. missile defense efforts as ineffective. “The hardware being deployed in Alaska and California has no demonstrated capability to defend the United States, let alone Canada, against enemy missile attack under realistic operational conditions,” Coyle said.
He was referring to the 30 interceptors currently fielded on the West Coast as part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system — the country’s principal defense against a limited strategic ballistic missile strike.
Conference of Defense Associations Institute analyst David Perry said he believes the Canadian government is “floating a trial balloon” with the parliament hearings.
Defense Minister Rob Nicholson’s office would not answer a question on whether the government is considering changing its mind about missile defense cooperation with Washington.
“No decision has been made to change this policy,” said his spokeswoman, Johanna Quinney. “We will continue to monitor international developments.”
What We're Following See More »
Thanks to competition from Europe, America's cheese stockpiles are at a 30-year high. Enter the U.S. government, which announced it's buying 11 million pounds of the stuff (about $20 million). The cheese will be donated to food banks.
"Freddie Mac shareholders cannot force the mortgage finance company to allow them to inspect its records, a federal court ruled Tuesday." A shareholder had asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to allow him to inspect its books and records, as Virginia law allows him to do. "The court held that Freddie shareholders no longer possess a right to inspect the company’s records because those rights had been transferred to the Federal Housing Finance Agency when the company entered into conservatorship in 2008."
The Pentagon has "provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns." Trouble is, it can only account for about 700,000 of those guns. The rest are part of a vast arms trading network in the Middle East. "Taken together, the weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses."
"Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department" has been using a Cessna airplane armed with sophisticated camera equipment "to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings." The public hasn't been notified about the system, funded by a private citizen.