- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
Canada Could Prevent Weaponization of Space
No other country is in a better position to initiate international action.
The Star, Toronto, Canada, Apr. 30, 2002 by James George, Dr. Carol Rosin and Alfred Webre
ON JUNE 13, 2002,
the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty will expire following its unilateral
termination by the Bush administration, leaving an international legal void
that will allow the weaponization of space. The termination of the ABM Treaty
will permit research, development, testing, manufacturing, production and
deployment of space-based weapons, and space-based components of the U.S.
National Missile Defense System to go forward, instigating a dangerous, costly,
and destabilizing arms race in space, impacting all of us. Russian Minister
of Defence Sergei Ivanov has already suggested that if the U.S. proceeds,
Russia could deploy its own response to the U.S. space-based weapons system.
The stated objectives of the United States Space Command in "Vision For
2020" are to seize the strategic high ground of space to "dominate
and control." There is a rapidly growing worldwide movement to stop this
potentially catastrophic arms race in space. This must be stopped before it
begins this year.
As seen from
space, Canada lies between Russia and the United States, and, geography aside,
no country is in a better position to initiate international action. Since
1982, Canada has led the growing United Nations lobby opposing weapons in
space. Deputy Prime Minister John Manley stated on July 26, 2001: "Canada
would be very happy to launch an initiative to see an international convention
preventing the weaponization of space." With the strong support of U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the U.N. General Assembly last Nov. 29 voted
156-0 to prevent an arms race in space. Almost everyone wants it.
On Sept. 28,
2001, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had invited "the world community
to start working out a comprehensive agreement on the non-deployment of weapons
in outer space." At the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in June last year,
China had taken a similar position. But neither Russia nor China will initiate
binding action while the United States is unbound. If Canada does not act
now, who will? If we do, we will generate far more support and respect than
we gathered over our land mines initiative. We could turn the tide that will
lift all ships and preserve space as a weapons-free commons.
In the United
States, polls confirm that this result is what the great majority of Americans
want. When there is almost unanimous international pressure, as well as very
strong domestic support, the United States will change course.
In the next few
days, every head of government will be receiving, from the Institute for Cooperation
in Space, the Space Preservation Treaty, which is the international companion
to the legislation introduced as H.R. 3616, the Space Preservation Act of
2002, in the United States House of Representatives on Jan. 23. The act requires
the U.S. to implement an international treaty that will ban all space-based
weapons and the use of weapons to destroy or damage objects in space that
are in orbit to preserve the co-operative, peaceful uses of space for the
benefit of all humankind.
The Space Preservation
Treaty is an effective and verifiable world agreement that also will:
a ban on space-based weapons.
a ban on the use of weapons to destroy or damage objects in space that
are in orbit.
order the permanent termination of research and development, testing,
manufacturing, production and deployment of all space-based weapons.
The treaty allows
for space exploration, research, development, testing, manufacturing, production
and deployment of civil, commercial and defence activities in space that are
not related to space-based weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, each nation
having signed the treaty shall immediately work toward supporting other non-signatory
nations in signing, ratifying and implementing the treaty. Once three nations
sign it and deposit it at the United Nations, Annan is required to report
publicly to the U.N. General Assembly every 90 days on the progress of implementing
a permanent ban on space-based weapons and on the progress of signing and
ratifying the treaty.
Once 20 nations
have signed and ratified the Space Preservation Treaty, it will go into force;
the outer space peacekeeping agency will be funded and empowered to monitor
and enforce the ban on space-based weapons.
of the treaty will encourage Russia to maintain Russia’s and China’s longstanding
commitment to keep space weapons-free and to sign the treaty as well. Together,
Canada, Russia, China, and many other nations already on record as supporting
such a treaty, can lead the nations of the world in signing the Space Preservation
We can and must
stop the weaponization of space before it occurs. The signing of the Space
Preservation Treaty will put needed pressure on the U.S. Congress and administration
to sign this verifiable and enforceable agreement. This permanent ban on all
space-based weapons, worldwide, will transform the war industry into a space
industry that will stimulate the creation of clean and safe technologies,
products and services, including new jobs and training programs, that can
and will be applied directly to solving urgent human and environmental problems.
What can an ordinary
citizen do? Contact Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Deputy Prime Minister
John Manley and Foreign Minister Bill Graham immediately. Tell them to lead
the way, to be the first to say that they will sign the Space Preservation
Treaty. This is the greatest challenge of our generation.
is a retired Canadian diplomat who served at the United Nations. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosin is president of The Institute for Co-operation in Space (ICIS), a non-profit
Webre is an ICIS international director.
The ICIS Web
site is http://www.peaceinspace.com