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Low-Level Flying: Quebec/Labrador

As reported in the Bulletin, Vol. 9. No. 3, one of the projects initiated at the November retreat in Ontario was ‘Militarism and the Environment’. Initial focus has been on the NATO low-level flying in Quebec/Labrador, and the possibility of a NATO Tactical Fighter Centre being established at Goose Bay.

An Environmental Impact Study has been done by consultants for the Department of National Defence and a statement has been circulated by an Environmental Assessment Review Panel. A compilation of comments on the statement from technical experts has also been made public. The Panel received written comments on the Statement until mid-February. A decision is now being made on whether the Study is acceptable. If it is judged acceptable, public hearings will be called. If it is not, the Panel will ask that the Department of National Defence address the deficiencies and public hearings will not be held until the revised statement is made public and reviewed. Following public hearings, the Panel will prepare a report of its conclusions and recommendations which will be submitted to the Ministers of the Environment and of National Defence.

Science for Peace activities to date have included sending a telegram from the Toronto Chapter to the Prime Minister’s office on Nov. 27, to coincide with a NATO meeting in Brussels, asking that no decision on the Goose Bay Centre be made by Canada until public environmental hearings have been completed.

Several members of the Toronto Chapter and some members from Guelph have collaborated to review the Environmental Impact Statement and a written commentary was submitted to the Assessment Panel over the signature of the national vice-president of Science for Peace.

A statement on the proposed NATO base at Goose Bay, prepared by Project Ploughshares, which they intend to distribute to some key media, is being co-signed by the Toronto Chapter.

There have been several recent reports in the media suggesting that Turkey, not Canada, get the proposed Tactical Fighter Centre, and that a final decision is to be made May 22-23 in Brussels. Even if this turns out to be true, we remain concerned about the low-level flying already taking place in Quebec/Labrador, which can continue until 1966 under the present Multi-national Memorandum of Understanding agreement with several NATO member countries.

Robena C. Weatherley

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