MDA Sale Rejected; Company Gets Contract Renewal

The Canadian government has reaffirmed its rejection of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates plans to sell its space division to American defense contractor Alliant Technosystems (ATK).

Ottawa rejected the $1.3 billion sale last month as not being of net benefit to Canada. MDA had 30 days to convince Industry Minister Jim Prentice to reverse the decision. That period expired on Thursday.

Prentice did announce a four-year, $109-million contract between the Canadian Space Agency and MDA. However, company officials said this was merely a renewal of a long-standing contract that did nothing to provide direction to a drifting Canadian space program, the Vancouver Sun reported.

“The space file in Canada has been neglected for quite a while,” said Mag Iskander, MDA’s executive vice-president for information systems. “In real terms, government expenditures in this space have been declining. We are hoping with this new resurgence of interest by the minister and the government they will engage in a serious long-term space plan, similar to what we had in the past.

“I am not talking about handouts. I’m talking about contracts that meet the needs of Canadians,” Iskander said.