CBC News – 2005-07-02 08:44:21
(June 17, 2005) — An American contractor has confirmed it’s looking at Labrador as a site to build a vital component of the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield, despite the Liberal government’s rejection of the plan.
Executives from Raytheon Company confirm that Goose Bay is the preferred site for an X Band radar installation, the technology that would be the all-seeing eyes of a missile shield.
The company was awarded a five-year, $260-million US contract to provide the radar component of the plan.
Despite Ottawa’s opposition to the missile defence plan, the company suggests the government could sell the plan for an installation in Goose Bay as an upgrade of the existing early warning system of the North American Aerospace Defence Command.
Defence Minister Bill Graham said the company has not made an official pitch. But he appeared to not rule out allowing the installation of the system if were to be used for Norad.
“From what I’ve heard about this radar, it’s not just a ballistic missile defence radar, this is a radar that would increase the coverage of the North Atlantic,” he said.
Steve Staples, a defence analyst with the Polaris Institute in Ottawa – a group that describes itself as supporting democratic social change in an age of corporate globalization – said the government is trying to have it both ways. He said Ottawa has opened the back door to missile defence.
“We’re already hearing it from Bill Graham, who’s trying to justify it because of our involvement in Norad, as how our involvement in missile defence is going to be snuck in the back way by the Liberals,” Staples said.
He said the Raytheon’s contract is clear.
“It was commissioned by the Missile Defence Agency, the technology was developed for missile defence, it’s paid for by missile defence – Raytheon holds the contract for these installations,” Staples said. “The reason it’s going to be put in Newfoundland is that it makes it better for missile defence purposes. So it’s very clear,” he said.
In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, community leaders have been pushing hard for Raytheon’s radar system.
With the future of Canadian Forces Base airbase in doubt, the radar construction project could be a welcome economic boost. If it’s approved, the construction project could be worth as much as $500 million.
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