Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reasons to doubt the Conservative halt to the MDA sale

There are reasons to suspect that the halting of the MDA sale, which must now go through a 30 day period in which the company(s) can make submissions to Minister Prentice, may yet prove to be all about political posturing. There are the company's protestations, evident this afternoon in this Globe article that the sale may proceed. There are compromise scenarios being suggested that include Canada retaining ownership of the Radarsat-2 satellite but the U.S. firm being able to "use and sell the data." Or, conversely, allowing Canada to access the data after the sale. If a compromise were to be along these lines, you can see how they would amount to a retention of the satellite's abilities in the name of sovereignty which would really, practically, be a sell out. So we'll stay tuned on whether some kind of compromise like this is what actually results.

And the individuals representing MDA here are worth our taking note of at this moment. They have significant personal connections to Stephen Harper:
Alliant, which builds rocket engines and other space systems as well as cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells, has turned to Emanuel "Manny" Montenegrino to represent the firm. Mr. Montenegrino is an Ottawa lobbyist, lawyer and political fundraiser who has in the recent past represented prominent Conservatives in legal matters, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Mr. Prentice also admitted during a Commons committee hearing on Thursday that one of his staff members met with MDA's head of government relations, Phil Murphy, who until 2005 had served as Mr. Harper's chief of staff. (emphasis added)
So while the Conservatives are getting great political mileage on the issue at the moment, it may yet prove to be a sham.

(Thanks to a reader for pointing out one of the Conservative political connections here).