I Am Canada and So Can You

Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t make a difference.  Don’t ever allow yourself to fall into the trap of fatalistic defeatist bullshit thinking that says, “What can I do?  I’m just one person.”  This one person made a difference.  In fact, I may have changed the course of a nation.

Almost three months ago I wrote about the proposed sale of MDA‘s space division to an American defence contractor and how the transfer of its Radarsat2 to American control represented a threat to Canadian sovereignty.  I also urged people to write to the Prime Minister, other relevant cabinet ministers, and their MPs.  A couple weeks later, I reported that some of you must have paid attention and spread the word because Industry Minister Jim Prentice had just announced that he would review the sale.

On March 18th, in an email to me and cc’d to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, he wrote that he was continuing his review and mentioned the criteria he takes into account.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, because security considerations were pretty vaguely defined.

Well, yesterday, it paid off.  It looks like the government is going to stop the sale, as reported in this news story.  As Stephen Colbert would say, “I did it!”  You can thank me for saving the country later.  I’m considering changing the subtitle of this blog to “Saving the Nation One Post at a Time”.  And any goalkeeper, the last line of defence, will tell you that posts are his best friend.

Now, of course, I’m not the only one who was against the deal but, if I can toot my own horn for a bit, no one else seemed to notice or care about the security and sovereignty considerations until I brought it up.  I wrote emails to the media, too.  One sour note in the news yesterday was that NDP leader Jack Layton was trying to take credit for it and claiming that the government was coming around to his way of thinking.  I must have missed those speeches.  Maybe he expressed concerns about losing Canadarm, but I didn’t hear a word about Radarsat2 or security concerns from him.

The scale of this achievement shouldn’t be underestimated.  The network news reporters are saying this is unprecedented.  It’s the first time a cross-border acquisition has ever been overturned by the government for security reasons.  That it was done by a Conservative government whose priorities seem to be to guarantee and increase the flow of capital into the country and maintaining friendly relations with a security obsessed administration in Washington is even more noteworthy.  It is an indication that they are aware that there is something called Canada that is more important than any business transaction.  That is not a principle most Canadian governments could convincingly say they upheld.

I want to make it clear, I’m no commie.  I have no problem with companies making an honest profit, and I generally don’t like taxes.  But, there was a higher principle at stake, here.  It’s amazing what you can do with a blog, an email account, and knowing how to speak someone’s language.


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3 Responses to “I Am Canada and So Can You”

  1. the chaplain Says:

    Good for you. I’m glad you made a difference.

  2. Powell Lucas Says:

    I’m certainly glad to know who was behind this ridiculous move to block the sale of MDA. Now the 1,700 workers who will soon be jobless will know who to blame. When the shareholders launch their lawsuits the government won’t have to pick my pocket to pay them off. They can pick yours.

  3. paulmct Says:

    Thanks, Chaplain.

    First of all, it wasn’t my objective to block the sale outright. As I said in my first post on the subject, if the deal is allowed to go ahead, provisions should be made to keep Radarsat2 in Canadian hands.

    Second, I don’t think protecting Canadian sovereignty over our own territory is ridiculous.

    Third, the 1700 workers won’t be unemployed. MDA is a major recipient of CSA contracts. News reports said the life of Radarsat2 is 7 years, so a next generation will be needed. It’s up to management to find new ways to commercially exploit their technical expertise and intellectual property.

    Finally, I don’t know why shareholders would think they can sue the government. Every cross-border acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. There is no guarantee that it will go ahead. Do shareholders of American companies sue the U.S. government when it blocks a takeover by a Canadian company? No. Apparently, they can protect their dominant market position, but we can’t protect our sovereignty.

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