Federal cabinet documents accidentally discarded with huge piles of historic papers from Ottawa’s National Archives have revealed that Canada is secretly participating in China’s successful new space program — and Newfoundland and Labrador has a role to play, as well.
The documents, which quote specific Ottawa-Beijing clauses from the confidential Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that itemize both the contributions Canada has already committed and the benefits this country expects to receive in return, were discovered in the new multi-million-dollar Action Plan landfill outside of Arnprior, Ont. by an out-of-work federal government scientist.
“I just wanted some scrap paper to use as insulation in my new hovel — those hundred-year-old documents have high rag content and provide the best R-rating,” he explained, requesting anonymity so that the value of his salvaged garbage won’t be deducted from his monthly welfare payments. “I wasn’t going to take any of the new stuff that was lying around — too glossy, too much clay for insulating anything — but then I saw the subject matter and I got to reading. I’m a bit of a moon buff, so of course I was interested. Actually, being an astrophysicist I would probably have worked on the project, but I guess the positions have been outsourced to temporary foreign contractors.”
Until now, China has appeared to be acting without outside assistance in its bid to be the third country in the world to soft-land something on Earth’s closest neighbour. The papers explain that this policy originated in Beijing.
“We can’t be seen to be too closely aligned with the Stephen Harper Conservatives,” reads one internal Chinese memo apparently intercepted by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency. “We don’t want his Senate scandal to rub off on the People’s Republic. It could make us look bad.”
China has had an independent space program for more than a decade, sending its first man into Earth orbit in 2003. The country launched the Chang’e-3 spacecraft on Dec. 2, 2013, landing the Jade Rabbit lunar rover on the Moon 12 days later. The rover is equipped with a variety of equipment and was publicly declared to be designed to make astronomical observations, monitor solar activity and to sample soil from as far as 30 metres below the lunar surface. However, the documents discovered in the Action Plan dump reveal another purpose, one paid for by the Canadian government: to scout the moon for likely sites where Ottawa can build a penal colony to replace the recently closed Kingston Penitentiary.
“Hurray! We’ll have somewhere to keep all the potheads, atheists and Liberals after ML 2015,” reads a note scrawled in the margins of one page — insiders say “ML” stands for the commonly anticipated martial law Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to invoke rather than face another general election.
China, it was discovered, initially objected to Ottawa’s proposal for a penal colony, arguing that the moon should be used solely for peaceful scientific research, but when Canadian officials retorted by saying that “science is bunk”, the People’s Republic seemingly found itself at a loss for words.
Yet to come
The money provided for the survey mission (which included a certain amount to winterize the Jade Rabbit) does not represent Canada’s main contribution — that is yet to come. The discarded documents, in fact, finally explain why Ottawa has been so eager to subsidize a money-losing megaproject in Newfoundland and Labrador: namely the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project. According to several of the memos found at Arnprior, the real purpose of the new dams at Muskrat Falls and Gull Island is not to sell electricity at a loss to the northeastern United States, as officially claimed, but to power an enormous electro-magnetic catapult designed to hurl Chinese spacecraft off Earth and towards the Moon, saving China the expense of building any more Long March rockets. Actually, only Muskrat Falls is intended for lunar missions. The larger Gull Island facility will be used to send spacecraft the longer distance to Mars.
Aside from the future use of the lunar penal colony, Canada seems to have demanded and already received only one other benefit. The demand appears in what looks to be the prime minister’s own handwriting:
“Just send us those cute pandas!”
Michael Johansen is a writer living in North West River, Labrador