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Canada Blocks Sale of Space Tech Company To US

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the no-dice-eh dept.

Space 230

Dave Knott writes "The Canadian federal government has blocked the $1.3-billion sale of the space technology division of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to Alliant Techsystems, a major US defense contractor. Industry Minister Jim Prentice is quoted as saying he is 'not satisfied' the sale will be a net benefit for Canada. MDA is Canada's leading developer of space-based technology, including the famous CanadArm and the recently installed space station robot Dextre."

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230 comments

Ha ha ha! (5, Funny)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | about 6 years ago | (#23048652)

Suckers!

Now we have maple syrup, caribou, ice hockey AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY!!

Re:Ha ha ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048714)

Hey, MD Robotics was a customer of mine and I'm glad they're staying Canadian. All jokes aside we need to maintain sovereignty as much as we can.

I'm proud to have my name on parts of the CanadArm.

Re:Ha ha ha! (0, Offtopic)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | about 6 years ago | (#23048752)

Do you tattoo on your machine parts too?

Re:Ha ha ha! (0, Offtopic)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | about 6 years ago | (#23049052)

Oh c'mon, that was supposed to be funny. Maybe you took it out of context.

He said, "I'm proud to have my name on parts of the CanadArm."

So, I said "Do you tattoo on your machine parts too?"

Now tell, where did your sense of humor go?

Re:Ha ha ha! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049794)

Searching for joke...
Searching for joke...
Searching for joke... No joke found

(A)BORT, (R)ETRY, (I)GNORE (?)_

Ok (1, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#23049184)

Why?

Why does Canada need to maintain sovereignty over a private company, in an era of free trade? Why not let the owners cash their chips in?

The US doesn't block this kind of thing on sovereignty grounds -- although to be fair it may be because the current administration doesn't understand that US sovereignty has any geographic limits...

Re:Ok (1)

BlueStraggler (765543) | about 6 years ago | (#23049276)

The US doesn't block this kind of thing on sovereignty grounds

s/sovereignty/national security/

The US blocks a hell of a lot more than you think.

Re:Ok (5, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 6 years ago | (#23049778)

The US doesn't block this kind of thing on sovereignty grounds -- although to be fair it may be because the current administration doesn't understand that US sovereignty has any geographic limits...

I call bullshit. See what would happen if Lockheed Martin tried to build their new fighter planes in a different country. Or sell off their satellite division to another country. It would go over like a lead balloon in a wind storm. Of course that wouldn't happen, the U.S. would never let companies sell off that kind of technology to another country.

Note that there is a historic sensitivity in Canada to selling off to other countries or otherwise dismantling high tech companies [wikipedia.org]. Especially when said companies that could place the country in a very competitive place, economically and in a technical sense. Canada severely shot itself in the foot before... the pain just subsided over the past decade or so.

Re:Ha ha ha! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048734)

I say the Canadian Gov should use CanadArm brand new finger to show what they think of the deal to the US.

Surprising... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048660)

I thought that our Bush-worshipping prime minister, Stephen Harper, would be drooling over the fact of selling our space agency to America. It certainly would bring us that much closer to his goal of American rule over Canada.

Re:Surprising... (1, Troll)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | about 6 years ago | (#23049034)

Harper is a little fascist cunt like Bush. It's nice to see SOME members of the government still have their balls.

Hope the Libs... Hell, I hope ANYONE but the PC's win the next election. Harper seems hellbent on making Canada into America 2.

Re:Surprising... (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 6 years ago | (#23049800)

My favourite line from the show MASH was when Hawkeye announced he was a 'reformed druid'... "I worship bushes." I don't know how it slipped past the censors of the day.... probably too sly for their narrow imagination. :D I laughed my ass off.

If they want to sell and cant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048684)

Is it not the comapnies choice?

Easy then, disband the company, start it up in America and then sell?

Re:If they want to sell and cant? (3, Insightful)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | about 6 years ago | (#23048746)

Well, if it were that simple we'd be moving companies to every frikkin' place we see opportunity, wouldn't we? Companies need regulatory approval before they can merge. This is more strictly so if they are defense contractors because you don't want other countries knowing your military secrets.

Heck, Google and DoubleClick needed approval from both US and EU Regulatory authorities before they could merge. That's because even though they are US based countries, they operate all around the world.

Re:If they want to sell and cant? (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | about 6 years ago | (#23048970)

No, it's not the company's choice. They've received a LOT of funding from the Canadian government, as did their predecessor.

It's the same as the sale of US ports to outsiders.

Re:If they want to sell and cant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049726)

It's the same as the sale of US ports to outsiders.

No, it's not, the US ports contract was already owned by a British company, P&O Steam Navigation Co. The problem was, the contracts were going to be sold to an Arab company.

Re:If they want to sell and cant? (2, Informative)

defected (908047) | about 6 years ago | (#23050058)

What is not mentioned in these discussions is that MDA was already sold to a US company before, Orbital. Eventually Orbital got rid of MDA and it ended up with the Ontario Teachers Pensions as the largest investor.

There have been rumblings of a sale to a US defense firms for months... and the company has been sending out trial balloons with the most likely candidates to buy the company....with absolutely no protest.

But with a minority government this could be used a as political hot potato...hence the use of the jingoistic "sovereignty" card by the current administration...gets points with the voters but makes no business sense.

Even the unionized employees at the Brampton plant realize they are doomed if this sale doesn't go through and they've been lobbying for the sale.

Net benefit? (3, Insightful)

Xelios (822510) | about 6 years ago | (#23048706)

How is the sale of a Canadian company to US interests ever a net benefit for Canada? I've lost track of the companies that used to be Canadian owned, even a part of Canada's national identity (Tim Hortons), that have been sold off to make a penny.

Re:Net benefit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048762)

Well, this is the Harper government. They would probably consider the sale of entire provinces to be a net benefit for Canada simply because it might make the US happy.

Re:Net benefit? (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | about 6 years ago | (#23049128)

Well, this is the Harper government. They would probably consider the sale of entire provinces to be a net benefit for Canada simply because it might make the US happy.

Depends on the province. The ROC (Rest of Canada) would probably vote to sell Quebec to the US, but the US already has too many people who "refuse to speak english like God intended them to." Besides, Americans are still pissed off about our tricking them into taking Celine Dion.

Re:Net benefit? (1, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 6 years ago | (#23049854)

This is just a plane stupid comment. There were plenty of Canadian companies and strategic industries sold off wholesale to foreign interests during the Liberal party's time in power. Including Stelco and Inco. Not to mention allowing non Canadian monopolies to develop strategic resources (like the diamond mines in the north... DeBeers or DeBeers subsidies). So put a sock in it. I've seen Harper defend Canada's national interests far more than Chretien (who was concerned more with lining his and his cronies pockets... e.g. golf courses, free driveways, and the advertising scandal in Quebec). So get off your high horse. BTW I used to vote Liberal until the reign of bullshit got too deep.

Re:Net benefit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049952)

Actually if this deal was under a Liberal government this sale would have gone through in a NY minute.... the previous liberal government okayed the sale of MDA to Orbital, a US comapany, not too long ago. Shareholders were able to buy it back eventually.

Someone should be thanking Harper is in power....before going to bed tonight.

Re:Net benefit? (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 6 years ago | (#23048774)

How is the sale of a Canadian company to US interests ever a net benefit for Canada? I've lost track of the companies that used to be Canadian owned, even a part of Canada's national identity (Tim Hortons), that have been sold off to make a penny.

Don't feel bad. We can make the same claim, like this:

How is the sale of an American company to Chinese interests ever a net benefit for the U.S.? I've lost track of the companies that used to be U.S.-owned, even a part of America's national identity, that have been sold off to make a penny.

Re:Net benefit? (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 years ago | (#23049066)

One possible reason: because they paid a lot of money to US shareholders for that wasn't worth that much? I.E. Net inflow of cash exceeds the value of what was purchased.

Now the proceeds from the sale can be used to invest in other interests.

Or in the case of mergers: the merging was presumably done because it was in the companies' shareholders best interests.

There are shareholders are in the US. Increased profits to shareholders is a benefit to the US-based shareholders. And to the US government who will get to collect the taxes from the eventual dividend increases and the eventual capital gain resulting from US-based shareholders selling shares (that have increased value as a result of what happened to the business after it was sold to a chinese company).

Re:Net benefit? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 6 years ago | (#23049204)

Or in the case of mergers: the merging was presumably done because it was in the companies' shareholders best interests.

... or in the personal best interests of the board of directors and their buddies at the banks and underwriters doing the deal, leaving the shareholders with a cropper ...

Re:Net benefit? (4, Informative)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | about 6 years ago | (#23048958)

...even a part of Canada's national identity (Tim Hortons)...
Huh? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Net benefit? (4, Informative)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 6 years ago | (#23049200)

They were wholly-owned by Wendy's Corporation for a few years. Just recently spun off into their own entity.

Re:Net benefit? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048976)

How is the sale of a Canadian company to US interests ever a net benefit for Canada?

It's a net benefit when the company will no longer be viable without significant investment, and there is no such Canadian investment forthcoming.

Typically this sort of thing occurs due to scale, when Canadian companies are competing internationally. The proposed sale of MDA may reflect the current broadening of space technology beyond NASA projects.

It's interesting that Prentice's letter did not go into greater detail. It displays government oversight while letting industry figure out the details of how to comply. I'm not saying there isn't the smell of politics in the room, just that this particular move was well played.

Re:Net benefit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049020)

OH crap we are really going to suffer even more now. This should affect us worse than the morgage crisis and illegal immigration! Whoa is me.... What will we ever do? LOL CRAP DON'T FOGET BRIAN ADAMS! LOL!

Re:Net benefit? (0, Flamebait)

canuck57 (662392) | about 6 years ago | (#23049040)

How is the sale of a Canadian company to US interests ever a net benefit for Canada? I've lost track of the companies that used to be Canadian owned, even a part of Canada's national identity (Tim Hortons), that have been sold off to make a penny.

Gets them off the government dole. Gets them out of the taxpayers pockets.

Re:Net benefit? (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 6 years ago | (#23049060)

How is the sale of a Canadian company to US interests ever a net benefit for Canada?

Why exactly should it have to be a net benefit for anyone except McDonald, Dettwiler, and their associates (i.e. whoever the owners of the company may happen to be)? What right exactly does the government have to stop a sale like that? Is "ownership" one of those American concepts like "free speech" that the Canadians don't care for these days?

Re:Net benefit? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049166)


I believe federal regulations require any sale about $295mil to foreign entities be approved. A similar mechanism is likely in place south of the border (e.g., IBM sale to Lenovo, US ports sale to Dubai Inc(?)). It would be foolish to not analyse very large sales to foreign countries.

MDA was/is heavily subsidized by the government.

MDA owns/controls RADARSAT II which surveys the north which is a contentious issue. Transferring ownership could have massive future implications for land or waterway claims especially if the new owners block access to the satellite.

---- I haven't paid much attention but those are the minor bits that I have gathered.

Re:Net benefit? (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | about 6 years ago | (#23049864)

Why exactly should it have to be a net benefit for anyone except McDonald, Dettwiler, and their associates (i.e. whoever the owners of the company may happen to be)? What right exactly does the government have to stop a sale like that? Is "ownership" one of those American concepts like "free speech" that the Canadians don't care for these days?

Sorry to disappoint you, but the rights of our government are not limited by the American Constitution.

First of all, "free speech" in the American sense of the word has never existed here. Second, the Canadian government, being much more socialist than the American, has long taken an active hand in influencing the economy, and despite your retorical question, it has every right to do so.

I realize to you these are likely huge reasons to think Canada is an awful place, but we are a democracy and its what we want. If anything I suspect most Canadians would perfer that the government interfere more in these areas. As others have already pointed out in this discussion, there have been companys sold the the US in the past decade and a half that through either their history or targeted marketing had become part of our national identity; Laura Secord, Molson, Hudson Bay Company, Tim Hortons and the Montreal Canadians are just a few of them.

Re:Net benefit? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#23049164)

Lately, with the crash of the US Dollar, Canadians are buying up US companies. So it was surprising that this deal was still on the table. Of course, being aerospace/defence related, it is heavily 'subsidized' by government contracts, so selling an asset that was built up with tax payer money to the US would be rather silly for Canada.

Re:Net benefit? (1)

HUADPE (903765) | about 6 years ago | (#23049176)

The benefit is in the money paid for them, as well as the fact that ability to run a company is not dependent on where you live. Americans can run companies just as well as Canadians, and this deal would have benefited Canada to the tune of 1.3 billion minus the summation of future revenues of the company divided by (1+r)^t

Re:Net benefit? (1)

radagenais (1261374) | about 6 years ago | (#23049896)

Um, Tim Horton's is not a part of Canada's national identity.

That's just what their marketing department wants you to think.


Canadian Tire, maybe. The actual Tim Horton, for sure. The Horton's donut shop? Please.

P.S. Gretzky's ours too. You can keep Celine.

Re:Net benefit? (1)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | about 6 years ago | (#23050192)

True free trade is generally a net benefit to both parties. Of course, we're nowhere near true free trade and the U.S. federal and state governments seem to have no problem with protectionist policies when it suits there needs (political, defense, or otherwise).

It's simple really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048722)

Terrance & Philip must have called their Member of Parliament to complain and when the MP heard Philip say "Pass Gas", he thought he heard "Pass a Law" and outlawed the sale.

TDz.

Real Reason (5, Insightful)

ArIck (203) | about 6 years ago | (#23048780)

This was the 'real' reason for lack of sale:

We at Canada have a policy of selling any weapons to rogue states. That is why when everyone was busy selling arms to states at war we Canada stayed at the fringes. Now, we believe the actions of the US government and its policies are detrimental to the democratic progress. We believe they could either lead to external aggression (most likely) and internal repression. Thus the Canadian government has decided not to sell the space technology to the United States.

P.S: US please dont take this seriously, we still love you, eh.

Re:Real Reason (-1, Flamebait)

Kamokazi (1080091) | about 6 years ago | (#23048832)

200 years makes y'all a little cocky, eh? I think once this whole Iraq business clears up we should start the War of 2012...you got terrorists or animal rights activists up there we can use as an excuse, right? Better brush up on your UK relations, you're gonna need it (Not like it'll help).

Now to figure out how to put a 51st star on the flag and make it look good...

Re:Real Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048878)

Oh you moron...

"P.S: US please dont take this seriously, we still love you, eh."

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHA

HAHA?

HA!

Why Canada Should Develop Nuclear Arms (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | about 6 years ago | (#23049072)

Consider: the Alberta Tar Sands are now the world's largest oil reserves, given that the Saudi oilfields are likely at their peak.

Extraction wasn't economical for a long while, but with the high price of oil lately, it has become extremely economical. There's such an economic boom going on that high school boys are dropping out of school to drive trucks in the oil fields.

You might claim I'm trolling, but I'm not. I'm absolutely serious.

Re:Why Canada Should Develop Nuclear Arms (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#23049510)

If Canada develops nuclear arms I'm leaving and never coming back, ever.

Now, from what I understand from TFS, this company was not sold after all. Good. Canada has lost one too many developpement companies to the US; where is my Avro Arrow, where's Nortel today? (admittedly, the Arrow should have been given to the US to safeguard...)

Pfft... rogue state (3, Funny)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | about 6 years ago | (#23048838)

Would a rogue state has a cache of nuclear weapons at its disposal? Would they have a leader who acquired his mantle against the will of the people and assumes all power, all the while actual elected officials are powerless to stop? Do rogue states invade soverign countries for no particular reason and overthrow their government?

You show me a country with those qualifications and I'll show you a rogue state!

-1 flamebait, +2 insightful, +1 funny... take that mod!

Re:Real Reason (4, Funny)

shma (863063) | about 6 years ago | (#23049080)

Just think of the damage the US could do with the Canadarm. That's right... GIANT WEDGIES FROM SPACE!

Re:Real Reason (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 years ago | (#23049202)

I would say the regulatory folks in Canada are afraid of losing something of irreplacable tactical value to the country. A company developing valuable space technology.

Canadians' fears are probably well-founded that they may lose both the company and access to the technology if they allow the company to sell itself. The company's HQ will probably move to the US, their technology will be made secret/classified, and their target market will become: the US government, instead of the former market which potentially included other businesses that could make good use of whatever technology they are develping.

I don't believe the US counts as rogue state by any measure, nor danger to the democratic process.

On the other hand, the US leadership have sure created a big mess in Iraq by mixing it up / confounding their efforts there with the 'war on terror'.

They needed to secure cooperation of all governments in the world for their assistance and permission to round up the terrorists in their borders: their efforts at times appeared to be more along the lines of trying to scare other countries into submission (in effect, fighting terror with terror), or by bashing down the door of Iraq (one of the neighbors to the very countries they need willing cooperation from).

Not a rogue state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049962)

don't believe the US counts as rogue state by any measure, ...

Of course not, since the U.S. gets to define "rogue state". nor danger to the democratic process.

Ha ha ha.

  1. In 1952, the U.S. supported Fulgencio Batista's coup against the democratically elected Cuban government of Carlos Prio.
  2. In 1953, the U.S. directly overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran (CIA Operation Ajax).
  3. In 2002, the U.S. supported a coup against the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez.
  4. The U.S. is still upholding a brutal dictatorship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
"No danger to the democratic process?" My ass!

Re:Real Reason (0, Flamebait)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#23049266)

P.S: US please dont take this seriously, we still love you, eh.


Umm, don't take this the wrong way, but you're a Canadian and you thought that Americans might take your geopolitical views seriously? It's not something to be proud of, but I doubt that people even in a place like Buffalo NY ever think about Canada except in conjunction with hockey or obnoxious Francophone tourists.

Well, they had a tin ear for public relations... (4, Insightful)

rbrander (73222) | about 6 years ago | (#23048798)

Except for the one valid complaint that the government had helped this company along with a lot of support, I don't think anybody's even pretending that this is a justified intervention in the free market. (Whether Canadians have ever bought a US company that previously received lots of US government grants, contracts and other support, would be interesting; I'd be surprised if it *hadn't* happened, though).

But alas, it was tin-eared in the extreme to announce this just as Dextre was being installed and everybody's nationalistic pride in the company was at a peak. We've been smiling with pride every time a shuttle image showed the flag and name on the CanadArm for 20 years or so; and Dextre, another order of magnitude more impressive a technology, had us all rubbing our hands with pride and glee.

Then the owners do their best to give everybody an image of them saying "Thanks for the free help, suckers! We're selling out and off to Brazil with your cash!" This result was then predictable.

If they'd waited a year or two, perhaps couched it in terms of allowing the company to go on to greater achievements through partnering, maybe tossed out a few promises of continued location in Canada and all Canadian jobs totally safe (promises you can always break a few years later, it's not like PR is legally binding), they could have gotten away with it.

Now, they can't wait a few years and try again because the issue's been raised and the media will hype it up again unless they wait at least 10 years. And this was, by the way, our *Conservative*, pro-business party. Any chance of a future Liberal government allowing this one is much dimmer still.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048980)

The issue is not with Dextre or the CanadArm. The issue is with Radarsat 2, which contains sensitive technology which is used by the Government of Canada to monitor and assert our claims of sovereignty over the Arctic.

Claims which the Government of the U.S. doesn't recognize. The fear is that if the technology and control of the tech is sold to a U.S. company, the U.S. government will be able to control what the Canadian Government sees - allowing, for instance, U.S. warships to use the Northwest Passage without informing the Government of Canada.

It has very little to do with nationalistic pride, and more to do with national security. Ask yourself, would the U.S. Government allow a company that developed and operates the spy-satelite network to be sold to a foreign power? It would never happen. Hell, you can't even export anything that uses encryption in the U.S. - which you can do in Canada.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049182)

Canadians fear the U.S.? I know we go to war a lot, but I wouldn't think Canadians would be worried aboot that. We make jokes, but we do like you guys.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (1)

MisterMook (634297) | about 6 years ago | (#23049748)

Just because US/Canadian interests have coincided for many, many years doesn't mean the will always coincide, and I wouldn't want Canadians blindly trusting in the goodwill of the United States any more than I'd want the US to trust the national defense interests of Canada. Nations do not have friends and nations do not "like." If nothing else, it introduces a whole other country outside of your control that's privy to things you don't advertise. That's something that should always be approached warily.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (1, Troll)

wrook (134116) | about 6 years ago | (#23049814)

Canada has most of the freshwater and oil in North America. It neighbours the largest military power in the world who also happens to have an "interventionist" foreign policy.

Fear is not quite the right word...

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (3, Informative)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | about 6 years ago | (#23050114)

Absolutely. The U.S. disputes Canadian sovereingty in the high arctic. The U.S. also disputes Canadian sovereignty over national resources like oil and softwood lumber. Taking our raw resources without letting us cut trees into lumber or refine the oil ourselves (and the associated jobs) is not a good indication the U.S. 'likes you guys' as much as they 'like your resources'. Heck, you even want Canadian freshwater for frig's sake. Open up NAFTA. Go ahead. See what happens when you actually have to bid on that oil. Remember AVRO? Of course you don't. So here's the fear: a U.S. company gets ownership of Radarsat2, and the U.S. government prevents them from selling real-time images of the high north that show U.S. boats navigating the northwest passage or otherwise violating what Canada considers to be sovereign territory (territory, by the way, that the US also considered to Canadian-sovereign until the probability of large oil and other reserves became evident). Countries don't have friends, as we are so often told by your diplomats, they have interests. Selling Radarsat-2 is clearly not in our interest. Also, selling a finished, successfully launched and proven technology paid for by Canadian taxpayers in a finished form that is literally just coming online (and about to pay dividends) makes no sense at all.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (4, Interesting)

JohnWiney (656829) | about 6 years ago | (#23049298)

There is a bunch more to this, which never seems to make the press coverage. Radarsat2 was originally to have been a US-Canada partnership. But then the US realized that it would provide the kind of coverage of the US that the US now has of other countries - something it decided was unacceptable. The US withdrew, refused to supply some key components, and refused to provide the launch. The satellite was redesigned to use alternate components, and launched on a European rocket. So now the US is trying an alternate approach to recovering control of the situation.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23050198)

Yeah right. It's the same issue. Canadians think American's are bad even though were there closest neighbor. It must not bother Canadians that much when Alcan and Inco are swallowed by a non American company and Falconbridge is bought by Xstrata or Dofasco is bought by Arcelor. I mean which would you prefer? Your closest partner buying a company or someone else. Funny how they should complain about this buy out when there letting all Canadian companies get sold. It's really pathetic when you distrust your closest trading partner.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049852)

national security against the US? I think you're forgetting that the US is our (Canadian) national security and by pissing them off we're actually creating a more insecure Canada. this is Canadian jingoism interleaved with ignorance. I think with our 90 or so functioning aircraft fighters we could probably defend against an attack from Denmark...

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (4, Informative)

wigaloo (897600) | about 6 years ago | (#23049884)

There's more.

The construction of Radarsat II was mostly funded by Canadian taxpayers through the Canadian Space Agency and gifted to MDA. The financial details are given at http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/resources/publications/rpp-2008-annexes.asp [space.gc.ca]. It is not chump change we are talking about: $421.6M (expected).

MDA is the 800 lb gorilla in the Canadian space industry. In addition to building the Radarsats, Canadarm and Dextre, MDA also built the MET station and lidar (laser radar) system that is on the Phoenix Mars Scout which will land on Mars this May 25. Losing MDA would be akin to the US losing Lockheed Martin. It could quite possibly destabilize the whole Canadian space industry, and so the Government was right to intervene.

Of course, there are reasons why a sale was made in the first place. The Canadian Space Agency's budget has been stagnant for years, and this has had a big impact on MDA. Hopefully the Government steps up and reinvests in Canada's space industry again given that they prevented the sale alternative.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23050148)

I would think Canadians would be much more worried about the sale of all there metals companies such as Inco to Vale and Alcan than this. I mean it doesn't bother Canadians that half there Metals mining industry is now foreign owned? An American company's ownership would be beneficial. Canadian's only practice Nafta when it benefits them and try to bend it when it doesn't such as the timber tarrifs. Canadians should realize that the North American market benefits as a whole with stronger North American companies and should consider North America not just Canada.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (1)

davecb (6526) | about 6 years ago | (#23049056)

rbrander wrote: Except for the one valid complaint that the government had helped this company along with a lot of support, I don't think anybody's even pretending that this is a justified intervention in the free market.

It's far more likely they're concerned with what the said they were concerned about, the Radarsat-2. The Globe and Mail business section [reportonbusiness.com] said today In mid-March, the tide turned, and questions about whether U.S. security laws would give that country control of satellite data about Canada's Far North raised the spectre it might be used against Canada's contested claims in the Arctic. That image conflicted with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's high-profile vow to protect Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic, and made it a key political plank.

It makes little sense to sell your only far-north tracking satelite to a country that you're arguing with about far north sovereignty. Espcially after paying real money to the Russians to put it up!

--dave

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (5, Insightful)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | about 6 years ago | (#23049078)

I call b.s. This isn't just a publicity problem, this is a real-politik problem.

This is about arctic sovereignty and billions in future tax revenue. This isn't a political issue. No political party has ever turned down the prospect of future tax base.

RADARSAT II, which the americans pointedly refused to launch, is what we use to patrol our artic waters. Giving the Americans, the keys, the plans, and the ability to just delay things to death is beyond stupid from a strategic perspective.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049232)

The intervention is entirely justified under the Investment Canada Act of 1985. It considers whether any such sale would have a net benefit to Canada, taking into account several factors:
-Economic benefits including employment
-Canadian participation in the industry
-Effects on Canadian industry
-Effects on Canadian competitors to the company
-Canada's ability to compete in world markets ... and even Canada's cultural policies. Evidently the Minister found the sale would not bring a net benefit considering these factors, and blocked the sale. It's perfectly legitimate and all such sales go through the same process.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#23049764)

The intervention is entirely justified under the Investment Canada Act of 1985

It seems that you are unable to distinguish between legality and justification.

This intervention is a theft from the shareholders of the company in question.

-jcr

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (1)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | about 6 years ago | (#23050146)

Since it was clear from the outset this was a publicly funded project with national security implications, I think you'll have a hard time showing it to be 'illegal' (By the way, which laws are we talking about? Canadian Federal law?) -- especially since the funds probably came with an express statement to this effect.

Re:Well, they had a tin ear for public relations.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049784)

Thanks, we canadians don't support unchecked free market, it would just leave us raped by large corporations in health care like the good people of the US.

Selling of tax payer funded military and technology knowledge for petty cash to the US, who may then use it to invade states under false pretenses doesn't seem like a patriotic thing to do.

Why did the US buy Canada's robots? (0, Troll)

zymano (581466) | about 6 years ago | (#23048864)

We don't have companies in the US that can make these?

Re:Why did the US buy Canada's robots? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#23048946)

We don't have companies in the US that can make these?

We did, but we sold them to the Chinese.

Re:Why did the US buy Canada's robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048998)

Believe it or not, sometimes cleverly designed products can actually come from outside the US - I know, its a shocking thought when so many of you think the civilized and technologically advanced world ends at the US borders, but its true.

In this case, I think NASA bought the Canadarm because:
a) It was capable of doing what the missions would require and was a better choice than other competing products. In short, the best product for the task just happened to be made by a non-US company :)
b) It was probably politically expedient and helped foster associations between Canada and the US.

I sincerely hope those 2 factors (if applicable) are applied in the order I suggested them.

Re:Why did the US buy Canada's robots? (1)

dryeo (100693) | about 6 years ago | (#23050038)

c) It was our contribution to the international space station.

Re:Why did the US buy Canada's robots? (1)

Onyma (1018104) | about 6 years ago | (#23049008)

Simple reason anyone buys anything. The quality was there and the price was right.

There is also the aspect of co-operation between nations in space travel to offset the load on any one organization/country. These days we are used to that concept with the ISS, however it existed to a lesser degree even back in the early shuttle days.

Primarily though I'd guess that NASA threw out a spec and proposal request and MDA said "Arms? We can build arms. We've been reaching for beer for years and sometimes them suckers are a long way away". Once the shuttle arm worked well, MDA was in NASA's good books.

- a pleased Canuck

Re:Why did the US buy Canada's robots? (2, Interesting)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | about 6 years ago | (#23049102)

Because even the US doesn't have infinite funds, so when they went begging for help with the shuttle, Canada said, just like Americans would: sure, we'll help, but we want the economic benefits at home. so we built the arm as our contribution to the shuttle program, and now dextre as our main contribution to the space station.

So I guess that means (2, Funny)

sokoban (142301) | about 6 years ago | (#23048916)

They're not our fwiends, buddy.

Re:So I guess that means (2, Funny)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 6 years ago | (#23048964)

I'm not your buddy, guy!

Re:So I guess that means (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 6 years ago | (#23049088)

I'm not your buddy, guy!

Yes, but are you Buddy Guy?

Re:So I guess that means (1)

sokoban (142301) | about 6 years ago | (#23049118)

I'm not your buddy, guy!

by Guy Harris (3803):

Yes, but are you Buddy Guy?

No, but are you Guy, buddy?

Wait, I guess you are. Dang.

Re:So I guess that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23050156)

I'm not your guy, Fwiend!

once more, right wing hypocrites sell out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048950)

Please, my American neighbors to the south, don't be mistaken, this has nothing to do with patriotism, this is simply mock protectionism done to demonstrate the power of our leadership to the weak minded, poliically conservative, republican type, Canadians. You see, we have our own Bush and his name is Harper, and in my opinion, he just as much of a traitor as your leader is.

The truth is, the upperclass, and it's servants, have been selling out thier respective countries for years.

Canadarm and Radarsat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23048994)

As I understand it, MDA won the contract for developing the robotic arm (Canadarm) from NASA. That NASA bought arms as a consequence of that. But the technology for that has been under US control from the beginning. Radarsat is a different story. Canada developed that, and it is important for Canadian sovereignty. As the USA disputes Canada's sovereignty in the north, giving the USA the Radarsat technology doesn't make sense. Besides, how many USA companies think Canadian citizens are potential terrorists and won't hire us?

divergence of interest... (5, Insightful)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | about 6 years ago | (#23049036)

Forget that this is precious high technology that can, and has had spin-offs in the past.
Forget that Canada produced the world's first digital telecommunications satellite. Forget all the jobs and knowledge that will gradually melt south of the border. forget it.

It's much more basic than that. There is a long-time border dispute with the americans, we think the waters between arctic islands are Canadian waters, the US claims they aren't. The Americans have nuclear submarines, we don't. Now with the ice melting, http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=8df15e06-e40d-42da-b42e-61c0d0713260 [canada.com]

there is a navigable channel shaping up that could take weeks off the time to ship from asia to europe. and there's oil up there, http://cernigsnewshog.blogspot.com/2006/01/arctic-circle-canadas-not-kidding.html [blogspot.com]
too.

One of the main uses of RADARSAT for Canada is to replace aerial reconnaissance for Ice forecasting. they can, I imagine, spot submarines as well, since the Americans, supposedly our closest ally, refused to launch them. So they were launched on Russian vehicles.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071025164751AAOF6Ur [yahoo.com]

http://www.studentsonice.com/blog/?p=79 [studentsonice.com]

We like our arctic, it is ours. We'd like the tax revenue from any oil that is pumped out of there. we'd like the revenue from a major shipping lane, so declaring it international waters is a problem for us. We can't afford to build nuclear submarines...

So it would be pretty @#%$@^%@ stupid to sell this company to a US arms manufacturer, which is, at the very least, clearly beholden to the US government for contracting.

Re:divergence of interest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049168)

In truth, nationalism is simply a way to divide people, and actually, the world's resources don't belong only to the rich, but at this point, they might just as well.

The world's poor pay, the world's rich, play.

That's the real divergence of interest here!

Re:divergence of interest... (1)

willyhill (965620) | about 6 years ago | (#23049732)

Clearly, once we take out Iran, Canada can take its rightful place in the Axis Of Evil.

Re:divergence of interest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049796)

i love these discussions about sovereignty vis a vis the US....Canada is so dependent on the US defense and military that people become utterly blind to the fact as the post above clearly indicates. it becomes absurd talking Canada's "sovereignty" - the Canadian military couldn't defend PEI let alone the whole of Canada if the US wasn't a benevolent neighbor.

Who in their right mind would accept US dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049260)

... in the time from when the deal would be signed to the money being in the bank, the value would have halved.

US$ = Useless third world currency

It's not over yet (4, Informative)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 6 years ago | (#23049386)

They get to take another kick at selling out in 30 days, when they report back to the Minister. If the press hadn't got hold of this, it would already be a done deal.

pop quiz (0, Offtopic)

rubberglove (1066394) | about 6 years ago | (#23049470)

On a more important note (it IS Saturday), what is the largest Canadian-owned brewery right now?

Moosehead.

I don't have much of a point here, really (and Moosehead is a decent enough beer).
I certainly don't give a damn about Molson and Labatt.
I just thought it was a shame when Sleeman's was bought out by Sapporo -- only because they took Unibroue with them.

I wish the government had stepped in then to block that sale (I'm only kidding. Unibroue is doing quite well under their new ownership).

Take note, Candian entrepreneurs.. (-1, Troll)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#23049648)

If you want to develop space-related technologies, don't do it in Canada. Your government won't respect your property rights, and will intervene if you try to reap the rewards of building a valuable business.

So, what should you do instead? Emigrate, and build your business in a country whose government wants to encourage growth.

-jcr

Re:Take note, Candian entrepreneurs.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23049702)

If you want to develop space-related technologies, don't take grant money from the government of Canada. Your government won't respect your property rights, and will intervene if you try to reap the rewards of building a valuable business.

Re:Take note, Candian entrepreneurs.. (1)

masamax (543884) | about 6 years ago | (#23050178)

Almost every aerospace firm in the world has had the benefit of large government subsidies, either through tax rebates and direct cash infusions, or simply by having the government as its main customer.

What this means is by 'government wants to encourage growth' you obviously mean 'government willing to buy and/or subsidize these companies' products'. Hey, wait, this is what the Canadian government has done!

Realistically, as has been said, if Boeing or LM were on the market, they would have been blocked. Instead, when American domestic companies associated with such high security projects are in trouble, the buyer is often forced to be another domestic manufacturer. This is really no different. While some might complain about sales like IBM's computer hardware division to Lenovo, in reality this is not comparable, and in any case the job loss from such an event is minute considering that such manufacturing already took place in Lenovo's home country.

It's also fairly ironic for anyone to complain that the United States is no threat to Canada. If the US gov't itself took that view, it would share much more of its technological secrets with not only Canada, but its other allies. For example, it took the UK being on the verge of bowing out of the JSF program for the US to provide the technolgoy necessary for them to correctly integrate that fighter with their own forces (mostly related to the computer code of the JSF, which the UK was originally not allowed to even know, let alone reprogram).

In short, not only is the blocking of the sale smart technologically and economically for Canadian industry and workers, but it is also smart security wise. The US has shown that it does not trust her allies on seemingly small things like this, so extending that same trust seems illogical to me.

The race is on... (2, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | about 6 years ago | (#23050162)

Canada has supplanted the Soviet Union as the U.S. main rival in the space race. This calls for drastic measures. We may have the space shuttle, but we'll never catch up in Kraft dinner technology.
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