Access Denied: U.S. Law Will Limit Canadian Access to RADARSAT-2 Data if Sale of MDA's Space Division Proceeds



    OTTAWA, March 20 /CNW Telbec/ - On the same day that Industry Minister
Jim Prentice announced a 30-day delay on his decision whether to approve the
sale of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates' (MDA) space division to U.S.-based
Alliant Techsystems (ATK), the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Auto Workers
(CAW) released a legal opinion that raised concerns about the proposed deal.
    "Our legal opinion clearly shows that the sale of MDA's space division to
a U.S. arms manufacturer would hand Washington the power to deny Ottawa access
to images from our own satellite," said Steven Staples, President of the
Rideau Institute.
    "This legal opinion also underscores our view that the planned sale would
be detrimental to our national sovereignty, the industry as a whole, and
ultimately to good, highly specialized Canadian jobs such as at the robotics
plant in Brampton, Ontario," said Carol Phillips, Assistant to CAW President,
Buzz Hargrove. "We need federal reinvestment not a wholesale sell off of our
entire space sector."
    The legal opinion was written by Rideau Institute's Legal Counsel, Steven
Shrybman of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP. Among his conclusions, Mr. Shrybman
notes that the proposed sale of MDA assets to ATK is entirely contrary to
Canada's interests and can not reasonably be approved under either the
Investment Canada Act or the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act.
    
    More particularly, it is our view that:

    - Under U.S. regulations concerning remote sensing space systems such as
      RADARSAT-2, U.S. national interests take precedence and will supercede
      the authority Canada now exercises under the Remote Sensing Space
      Systems Act over the operation of Radarsat-2, which includes the right
      to assert priority access to the information it gathers;

    - Therefore, the sale of MDA assets to ATK will seriously weaken or
      defeat Canada's ability to achieve the objectives of Remote Sensing
      Space Systems Act which are explicitly to "ensure national security,
      the defence of Canada, the safety of Canadian Forces, Canada's conduct
      of international relations, and Canada's international obligations" and
      "the competitiveness ...of the Canadian remote sensing space industry

    - Accordingly, there is no reasonable or lawful basis for approving the
      transfer of MDA's satellite license to ATK under the Remote Sensing
      Space Systems Act.
    




For further information:

For further information: Steven Staples, Rideau Institute, (613)
565-9449 ext. 24, (613) 290-2695 (cell); Steven Shrybman, Sack Goldblatt
Mitchell LLP, (613) 858-6842 (cell); Carol Phillips, Canadian Auto Workers,
(416) 561-7427 (cell); Download a copy of the legal opinion at
http://www.rideauinstitute.ca

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Rideau Institute on International Affairs

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