Thursday, February 24, 2005

Afraid of a lighted match

"Canada's announcement that it won't join the U.S. missile shield provoked an immediate warning that it has relinquished sovereignty over its airspace."

This is from the National Post and makes me sick. Just because we won't join in on their "party game" they want to kick us out of the house.

"From now on, the U.S. government will control any decision to fire at incoming missiles over Canadian territory, declared the top U.S. envoy to Canada." (aka Cellucci)

"Why would you want to give up sovereignty?" he said. "We don't get it. We think Canada would want to be in the room deciding what to do about an incoming missile that might be heading toward Canada."

Cellucci again. Man this guy just grinds my gears. And while I want to tell him to, effectively, shove it, I know that wouldn't be very polite. So I won't.

Before I dive into this issue I think we need to know what's with this being allowed to fire missiles into our airspace. From what I can find there was this project called the DEW line. This was supposed to be a Distant Early Warning system set up to detect any missiles being fired over the North Pole at North America. I'm assuming this was implemented because people thought the Russians would blast us all to heck.

Now, from what I could find, it was built by Bell System and I'm 90% sure that's bell as in Alexander Graham Bell and the phone company. It was built at the request of the US and Canadian governments. But considering it was the US and Russia involved in the arms race and not Russia and Canada, I don't think Russia would really be firing missiles at us. We would probably have been an easy target with our boat and gun but I don't think it would have happened.

So basically, the DEW Line was set up to let the US know that Russia had fired missiles at them. This DEW line was installed all over Alaska and northern Canada and to me, seems like the US was using our land to tell them about missiles. I don't know if I'm okay with that but it's not hurting anybody so whatever.

To date, 21 DEW stations have been abandoned and while the US paid to have them installed, they aren't obligated to pay to clean the area up. So instead they gave us credits to buy military "stuffs" so we would clean up the area around the abandoned stations. Mostly this means getting rid of PCBs and turning some of the stations into small radar stations.

So, getting back to the issue of missile defence. I don't know if it works or if it doesn't and I've heard a lot of polarized views on the subject. But to me, if you're in a science lab and half of the people say they smell gas then there might actually be a problem. If there is such controversy over whether it works or not, then I think that there might be something there.

By the way, did you know that when Bush came to visit us it was the first official visit by a president in almost ten years? Talk about crazy. And get this, it was his first visit to Canada as the president. I had believed that if you move to a new city you would try to get to know your neighbours but hey dude, maybe your neighbours just suck. I don't believe Canada sucks but if that's what he thinks, just don't expect us to oblige when he comes asking for a cup of sugar. While I'm sure Bush doesn't think we suck I do believe that our countries aren't the friendliest of neighbours at the moment.

But ten years, that nuts. I mean, what if you had lived next to each other for 30 years and both of you had parties where friends and acquaintances came and you partied all night but never invited your neighbours? To be fair, I think we're a bit hostile when it comes to Bush and some of the decisions that he's made. Maybe we didn't want him coming here. I know that some groups staged protests in the streets and that he didn't speak in parliament because there was a chance he might be booed. But I think mending fences, or fixing gas valves in science classes is better than doing nothing and daring someone to light a match.

We're stuck next to each other until everything west of the San Andreas Fault sinks into the Atlantic and then California and Vancouver Island can have a party. There's no need to fight about stuff when we're neighbours. But I can just see things getting out of hand and Martin and Bush start singing this.

I didn't actually watch any footage or read about the visit but Bush did have some hilarious things to say:

GEORGE W. BUSH: I frankly felt like the reception we received on the way in from the airport was very warm and hospitable, and I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave, with all five fingers, for…

(sound of laughter)

… for their hospitality.

While I don't know if this was some sort of in joke and it just made me think of Canadian pirates, it was a welcome distraction.

One good thing to come out of this whole missile defence shield is that the NDP agreed with the decision. Hey, two political parties agreeing instead of screaming at each other like immature little children. Very nice.

So, was this decision made just because Martin has a minority government and the majority of Canadians don't like the idea of the program? Or was Martin actually basing his decision on something other than fear? He certainly stood up and said no when the US expected agreement.

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