For Immediate Release
June 14, 2013
Natynczyk Appointment May Signal Militarization of Canada’s Space Program
Statement by Steven Staples, president of the Rideau Institute and author of Missile Defence: Round One (Lorimer, 2006).
The appointment of retired General Walter Natynczyk as head of the Canadian Space Agency raises questions about the future of Canada’s space program and its closer relationship to the military.
My concern is that we may be seeing the increased militarization of Canada’s involvement in space. Our role will move away from the scientific exploration toward the military exploitation of space.
There have been increased calls for Canada to join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program. The current Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, is our former top-ranking officer at NORAD. Now with the past CDS as head of the Canadian Space Agency, the stage is being set for Canada’s increased involvement in the militarization, and potential weaponization, of space.
While the two have always been connected, the CSA is a civilian agency, while the Canadian Forces’ space focus has been through NORAD, the joint Canada-U.S. air and space monitoring and warning system. The CSA’s budget has been declining, while the military has been making significant space investments, including the Mercury Global communications system and the Sapphire space observation and tracking satellite.
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