Saturday, April 29, 2006

NORAD agreement

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is a binational military organization formally established in 1958 by Canada and the United States to monitor and defend North American airspace. NORAD monitors and tracks man-made objects in space and detects, validates and warns of attack against North America by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles. NORAD also provides surveillance and control of the airspace of Canada and the United States. The NORAD Agreement was first signed by the governments of Canada and the United States on May 12, 1958, and has been renewed for varying periods since that time. Although there have been eight NORAD renewals since 1958, the basic text of the Agreement has been revised substantially only three times -- in 1975, 1981 and 1996.

The Commander-in-Chief of NORAD is appointed by, and is responsible to, both the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States. Headquarters NORAD is located at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado. NORAD command and control is exercised through the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, located a short distance away. Cheyenne Mountain serves as a central collection and coordination facility for a worldwide system of sensors designed to provide NORAD with an accurate picture of any aerospace threat.

For more information about NORAD, please visit the following website:
http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/focus/canada-us/bg00.010_e.asp

According to Granatstein's Who Killed the Canadian Military, we have to sign this NORAD agreement to preserve our sovereign independence because the States have enough power and technology to do something secretly without consulting the Canadians. And "the only way Canada can get any share in making the decisions that will affect us for decades to come is to be present when those decisions are made. We have a say in continental air defence because we belong to NORAD and have a few military assets to deploy. If we have no military, someone in Washington will decide on policy without consulting Ottawa, and those decisions will of course include the defence of continental North America, including Canada. For us, that will be the antithesis of sovereignty. Without our own military, it will be colonialism."

I support the signing of NORAD agreement and expect the government would do it very soon, but the government should have better communications with the US government. We should not know the information from the States; however, as Prime Minister Harper said, it might be because he still has to put this NORAD agreement on the table in the parliament for debate, and he still has to negotiate with the States. It is all about trade (negotiations, and give and take from different agreements) in politics (even among countries especially in the case of the States and Canada).

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Softwood Lumber Agreement

Today is a big day for Canadians especially for the British Columbians and all other provinces that are selling softwood lumber. We have finally reached an agreement with the United States. Some said that the agreement was unfair and it was a sellout of Canada, and some said that it would be a good deal for the lumber industry especially to have a stable environment for trading. I just watched the Politics at CBC, and the host has invited a long time negotiator in this softwood lumber deal to criticize this agreement. He also agrees that it is not easy to have negotiations with the softwood lumber industry in the States because they have a very strong influence politically in the States. Moreover, the NAFTA has treated the softwood lumber industry very differently because of the Liberal government has made this kind of agreement in the past. The Liberals said that they would have come up with a better agreement, even though they have failed to do it for a long time, and they blamed the NDPs for their failure. In general, Prime Minister Harper has done a good job to make an agreement with the States. However, there are a few places that he can do it better. First, the Prime Minister should ask for $4.5 billion instead of $4 billion. I know that the US has owed us $5 billion, but in order to come up with an agreement we have to give and take a bit. I preferred a 10% discount instead of a 20% discount for the States provided that we have increased our commitments at Afghanistan. Second, we should sign this contract with a shorter term such as five years instead of seven.

You would see more negative attacks from the Liberals and NDPs, but it would not hurt that much to the Conservatives because the softwood lumber industry is not friendly with the Conservatives at the very beginning. In order for the Conservatives to win, they have to complete their five priorities and keep a certain distance with the States especially after this lumber wood agreement.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Welcome to life cool politics

I use www.lifecoolpolitics.blogspot.com because my first name is Zoe (Greek - life) and my last name is Leung (in Cantonesse the pronunciation is cool). I am interested in politics especially about the practical ethics of politics. Since I am a Christian, I would also like to write something about political theology. Politics is actually affecting our daily life, and we cannot keep ourselves away from politics unless you escape from the society. Stay tune.