Vive Le Canada

Fear of U.S. retaliation prompts Ottawa-B.C. fight over weapons range: author
Date: Monday, November 06 2006
Topic:


Fear of U.S. retaliation prompts Ottawa-B.C. fight over weapons range: author

Murray Brewster
Canadian Press

Sunday, November 05, 2006

OTTAWA (CP) - Fears that the White House would retaliate against the Liberals drove the Chretien government to take on British Columbia over a controversial weapons range, says the author of a new book.

Military historian John Clearwater used documents obtained under the Access to Information Act to trace this and other incidents where Ottawa appeared to bend to Washington's will over weapons testing.

"We never say No to them," Clearwater, author of the newly released book "Just Dummies," said in an interview.

"We never say No to any testing. Sometimes we try to hold it off for as long as we can. I think the trend here is, no matter what the U.S. asks for, eventually we say Yes."

The book alleges that the Chretien government worried that the American response to B.C.'s threatened closure of the Nanoose ocean range in the spring of 1997 could be "out of proportion," and lead to punishing trade sanctions, similar to what New Zealand faced in the 1980s for similar defiance.

"Rumours began to circulate of a covert attempt to undermine the government," Clearwater writes.

Nowhere does Clearwater present evidence the U.S. made direct threats, but he paints a picture of an almost paranoid reaction among Canadian officials and decision-makers.

The book also chronicles the 1970s testing of the U.S. artillery shell that was meant to carry the neutron bomb, as well as tests involving cruise missiles and the B-2 stealth bomber.

Foreign Affairs officials refused to be interviewed for the book, he said.

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