NATO bombing over Labrador, Innu land

Shunpiking Magazine. December 2001 -- January, 2002, No. 40

(19 December 2001) -- The Department of National Defence is considering expanding an aerial bombing range in Labrador to allow pilots from NATO nations to train with so-called smart bombs. DND, according to Canadian Press, "has applied to the provincial government for an amendment to the provincial land lease under which the Canadian Forces operates its air weapons range, 120 kilometres southwest of Goose Bay."

Innu Protesting"The military wants to expand its testing area by about 2,000 square kilometres because the laser-guided bombs could drift well beyond the current target area."

New practice bombs "have larger wings and are launched from higher altitudes, which means they can glide much farther than intended if they malfunction," CP says.

"The dummy bombs, which weigh about as much as a small car, have been known to penetrate two metres into Labrador's sandy soil on impact and an errant bomb can glide up to 30 kilometres off target," it adds.

The CP report says "the need for a larger range arose when the Royal Air Force asked to test 70 of its new laser-guided bombs next spring." DND has warned Newfoundland that if its land lease is not amended, CF Base Goose Bay could lose out to competing filight training facilities.

The decision is vehemently opposed by the Innu Nation of Labrador, which represents about 1,800 Innu.

In the late 1980s, the Innu Nation held protests which were supported across Canada against low-level filight testing in central and southern Labrador.

The Innu Nation and the Mamit Innuat, which represents Innu in western Quebec, both have land claims in the area. The bombing causes havoc to the environment and their way of life.

Shunpiking is opposed to NATO bombing over Labrador, and supports the human and national rights of the Innu Nation and the Mamit Innuat. The question of peace abroad is intimately linked with war preparations and training within Canada, and Canada's participation in NATO.


(PHOTO CAPTION) Innu women demonstrate in the mid-1980s against NATO overfilights and for self-determination for their homeland which they call Nitassinan.


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Copyright New Media Services Inc. 2004. The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of shunpiking magazine or New Media Publications.