CAW Renews Fight to Stop Sale of MDA to U.S. Arms Maker
Port Elgin, Ontario
March 28, 2008
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Under pressure from progressive organizations including the CAW and the opposition parties, the federal government delayed approval of the sale of MDA space robotics division to a U.S. company.
CAW President Buzz Hargrove told the CAW Council delegates meeting in Port Elgin March 28, 2008 that public pressure must be mobilized to stop the Harper government from approving the sale.
"They will have some strings attached saying that it has to stay in Canada and the headquarters and all that. The reality is, you know that will last two years and the Americans will take it to the United States and we will be restricted on even the use and our ability to access the information coming from these important satellites that we, the Canadian taxpayers, paid for."
Speaking to the delegates Roland Kiehne, president of CAW Local 112 said the sale will kill Canada's space industry. Locals 112 and 673 in Ontario and Local 188 in Quebec represent MDA workers, some of whom build the iconic Canadarm.
CAW Local 112 President
"MDA is now attempting to sell its space and robotics division to a Minnesota-based Alliant Tech Systems. This deal, if approved by Industry Minister Jim Prentice, will see the transfer of Canadian taxpayer-funded, cutting-edge technology and place it in the hands of the Americans. If that happens this will be the beginning of the end of Canada's role in space."
Peter Kennedy, assistant to the CAW national secretary-treasurer, compared the sale of MDA to the scrapping of the Avro Arrow 50 years ago by then Tory Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.
Assistant to CAW Secretary-Treasurer
"And there aren't any politicians of any political stripe today who will say the decision made on the Avro Arrow 50 years ago was the right decision. And there will not be any politician of any stripe 50 years from today to say that if we allow the technology, if we allow MDA, if we allow Canadarm, Dextre, Radarsat-2 to go to the United States that that will have been a good decision for Canada."
Carol Phillips, assistant to the national president, told the delegates the sale of the Radarsat-2 technology is a direct threat to Canada's sovereignty.
Assistant to CAW President
"This is just so typical of the mindless, ideological approach this government has to everything to allow the Industry Minister to treat this as just another sale of a company to a foreign owner. As bad a situation as we have now in terms of the sell-off of Canadian industry under foreign ownership, this is in fact not just another purchase. This is in fact a direct sale of the sovereignty of our country. It is very, very serious"
The delegates voted unanimously to fight the sale of MDA and have launched intensive local and national lobbying efforts.
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."