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Tuesday, February 22

Bombshell: Canada already onboard U.S. missile defence program, McKenna says

Yahoo! News - Canada already onboard U.S. missile defence program, McKenna says: "Canada already onboard U.S. missile defence program, McKenna says

2 hours, 51 minutes ago

OTTAWA (CP) - The country's next ambassador to Washington dropped a political bombshell Tuesday, saying Canada is already part of the controversial U.S. missile defence program.

Frank McKenna made the comment after appearing before a Commons committee examining his appointment by Prime Minister Paul Martin.

McKenna told the foreign affairs committee he wasn't sure what more U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) needs from Canada on the controversial plan to create a continental missile shield.

Afterward, the former premier of New Brunswick went much further with reporters.

Asked directly if Canada is already part of the program, McKenna responded: 'We are.

'We're part of it now and the question is what more do we need?'

Martin's Liberals have consistently denied that they've committed Canada to the missile defence program.

McKenna also said he doesn't understand why Bush publicly implored Martin to sign on to the program when he visited Canada late last year.

McKenna said Washington has not asked Ottawa to place missile interceptors on Canadian territory, nor has it asked for money to support the program. So he's not sure what more the U.S. wants.

Canada agreed last summer to allow Norad, the joint Canada-U.S. air defence command, to monitor for incoming missiles - a key element of the program's design.

'I suspect the United States of America has much of what it needs in terms of operationalizing its modest ballistic missile defence program . . . ,' McKenna told reporters.

'There's no doubt, in looking back, that the Norad amendment has given, has created part - in fact a great deal - of what the United States means in terms of being able to get the input for defensive weaponry.'

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