In an unprecedented move, the federal government has blocked the $1.3-billion sale of the space technology division of Vancouver-based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to a U.S. firm.Quote has been trimmed
In a letter this week to Alliant Techsystems Inc., Industry Minister Jim Prentice said he is not satisfied the sale will be a net benefit for Canada, the minister confirmed Thursday.
Alliant has been given 30 days to state its case to win approval for the sale.
MDA wanted to sell its space division, which includes Canadarm, Dextre and the Radarsat-2 satellite, to Minneapolis-based Alliant, a major U.S. defence contractor.
Critics of the sale, including former Canadian Space Agency head Marc Garneau, had called on Prentice to block the deal, saying it handed over taxpayer-funded technology and, in the case of Radarsat-2, gave away technology designed to protect Canada's sovereignty.
Alliant had said that if the deal went through, it would honour all of MDA's existing contracts with the Canadian government, including "access protocols" to Radarsat-2 in the event of a national emergency.