Talk of missile defence raises bishop’s ire

Published January 1, 2005


Calls by United States President George W. Bush for Canada to join in a U.S.-led system intended to shoot down missiles from so-called “rogue” nations, has drawn fire from church leaders in Canada.

In a foreign policy speech during a two-day visit to Canada last November, Mr. Bush made clear his desire for support in setting up the system, known as Ballistic Missile Defence, in Alaska to protect western North America.

“I hope we’ll … move forward on ballistic missile defence co-operation to protect the next generation of Canadians and Americans from the threats we know will arise,” said Mr. Bush, drawing the ire of Lutheran bishop Gerhard Preibisch from British Columbia.

” Canada has over the years established a reputation as a peacekeeping nation,” Bishop Preibisch wrote in a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. “We feel strongly that a move to join the missile defence program will jeopardize this.”

Bishop Preibisch noted that 20 church leaders last year had urged the Canadian government to “unequivocally reject the expensive futility of ballistic missile defence,” and had said nuclear disarmament and binding controls over ballistic missiles were “the most effective and practical means of working for the safety and protection of Canadians.”


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