Canada Should Control Own Technology, Says Industry Minister

Posted on Saturday, April 12 at 18:23 by N Say

Canada should control own technology: minister

Jan Ravensbergen ,  Canwest News Service

Published: Friday, April 11, 2008

LONGUEUIL, Que. - Ottawa isn't ready to commit any fresh cash for costly made-in-Canada space work. At least, it wasn't Friday, as Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice drove what appears to be the last spike through the heart of a controversial $1.3-billion takeover bid by which an American firm would have acquired sophisticated Canadian surveillance-satellite technology.

Under that deal, an American firm would have been permitted to acquire sophisticated Canadian surveillance-satellite and other space technology from MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. of Richmond, B.C., the company behind the iconic Canadarm.

"We need to own our technology and the intellectual property that comes with it," Prentice said in a speech at the headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency, which is on the south shore of Montreal.

"The government," Prentice pledged, "will continue to foster a vibrant high-tech space industry right here in Canada."

However, he later responded to reporters trying to pin him down on specifics, "I'm not going to announce anything today for MacDonald Dettwiler or other companies" in the cash-hungry space business.

During his speech, Prentice went further than he ever had over Ottawa's decision - this week - to veto the proposed sale of Canadian-developed satellite technology to the U.S.

"We will not accept a loss of jurisdictional control to another party or another country," he said, reading word for word from prepared remarks.

But Prentice would not provide a flat-out declaration that the MacDonald Dettwiler deal is dead beyond any possibility of resurrection.

Discussions will continue between his department officials and Alliant Techsystems Inc., the prospective buyer, the minister said, while the clock continues to tick down on the 30-day waiting period triggered with Prentice's letter declaring the deal has no net benefit to Canada.

MacDonald Dettwiler developed both the Canadarm technology used by the space shuttle and Radarsat-2, a powerful Arctic observation satellite.

Canada uses Radarsat to monitor Arctic sovereignty.


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  1. by RPW
    Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:57 am
    Avro Arrow, anyone?

  2. Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:55 pm
    "RPW" said
    Avro Arrow, anyone?

    Not quite the same thing.

    Radarsat was supposed to be a joint US/Canadian venture. But the US realized it would give us more control over our own sovereignty, and backed out of providing key technologies needed for enhanced imaging.

    So we did it ourselves, and developed better technology. Then they refused to put it in orbit for us, so we had to get it lifted by the ESA.

    Now they've been stopped from taking the technology away from us via the backdoor. Like we would have unfettered access to the images. Please! Canadian companies can't compete with US ones on US military contracts, what makes us think the US will do something in our interests to their net detriment? Now they will have to ask for passage through the arctic straights, instead of just not showing us the pictures.

    For once, I am pleased with the government's actions. Not to say that a Liberal government wouldn't have slammed this door in their face, but I am pleased nonetheless.

  3. Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:28 pm
    Damn straight.

  4. by RPW
    Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:34 pm
    Not so sure it ain't the same thing. Kennedy (purportedly) told Diefenbaker to ax the Arrow -- and the deal with MDA ain't over 'til it's over...............the Yankeees aren't about to ASK us for anything.

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