General Motors to Build Nuclear Missile Carriers


In early April it was announced that General Motors Diesel Division in London, Ontario would shortly begin production of the chassis for mobile missile launchers to carry the U.S. Air Force Midgetman missile. Each Midgetman carries a single nuclear warhead.

The General Motors contract, worth $3.2 million, calls for the assembly of four missile launchers as prototypes. if the U.S. Congress and Air Force accept the vehicle, GM would be in a good position to win a contract for the production of as many as 500 of the vehicles.

The mobile missile launchers will be slightly larger than ordinary tractor trailers. They are designed to withstand pressure from nuclear blasts in their immediate area -- at least six times the amount of pressure per square inch that would demolish a house.

The missile launchers could be used to transport the Midgetman over any type of terrain, and would be based in the United States aimed at targets in the Soviet Union. The Ontario government is indirectly involved in the production of the missile launchers as well. The engines will be built by Perkins Engines in Shrewsbury, England. Perkins is a subsidiary of Varity Corporation (the former Massey Ferguson), which is owned in part by the Ontario government.

United Church Plans "Kitchen Table" Theology Conference

TORONTO -- The United Church of Canada's Peace and Justice Committee is inviting people to begin "a peace theology that starts with you and your neighbor across a kitchen table." The kitchen table is chosen because of its association to the communion table.

The military threat to the world has stimulated theological thinking and writing in theological schools, but this project is a little different. Instead of asking someone to tell us what to believe about God and salvation in a militarized age, it aims at helping peacemakers find their own words in a church which claims peacemaking as a holy task.

Summary compilations of these statements of belief will be gathered from the many discussions coming from this large kitchen table discussion. The results will be presented to the General Council in 1990.

The United Church has established the Peacemaking Fund to support the people of the church in their work on peace education. The fund will also help groups involved in the Peace Theology Project cover the costs of getting together. For further information contact: Peace Theology Project, Division of Mission in Canada.

The United Church of Canada, 85 St. Clair Ave. E., Toronto M4T 1M8.

Nuclear Safety Review to Skip Over the Main Issues

TORONTO: The government of Ontario has established a committee to study the safety of its nuclear reactors. The Commissioner is Professor F. Kenneth Hare of the University of Toronto. The commission invites briefs from interested individuals and groups up until September 1. All correspondence concerning the preparation of briefs are to he submitted to Mr. Peter M. Fraser, Ontario Nuclear Safety Review, Suite 303, 180 Bloor St. West, Toronto M55 2V6. The opponents of nuclear power, while welcoming this review, are concerned about the limited range of issues covered in its terms of reference. There is to be no consideration given to such fundamental questions as the linkage between nuclear power and nuclear weapons -- or the prospect that nuclear reactors might become the target of terrorists or of the opponents in a nuclear war. Several groups are writing briefs and other letters of protest to the Minister of Energy of Ontario, the Hon. Vincent G. Kernol pointing out the urgency of considering the connections between nuclear energy and military considerations.

USSR: Most Activists Better Off

NEW YORK- According to Helsinki Watch, which monitors compliance with the human rights aspects of the Helsinki Final Act, the situation of independent peace organizations in the Soviet Union has improved during the past six months. There are now several such groups, none of which are harassed when they hold meetings.

However, the situation is still not ideal. The Soviets claim to have released more political prisoners than has been the case. Moreover, the KGB is holding one last remaining peace activist, Serge Svetushkin, prisoner contrary to the court order.

Polish Peace Conference

WARSAW-An independent peace organization, Freedom and Peace, invited activists from both the Western and Eastern European blocs for a conference at a Warsaw church in early May. While this historic meeting was not approved by the regime, the Poles made a point of issuing invitations in a public manner as If they had an accepted right to do so. For the most part, this strategy succeeded, though not all visitors were as candid with the authorities as were the local activists:

Most Westerners who declared their intention of attending the conference were refused visas.

Arms Race Over Northern Ontario


NORTH BAY-For wilderness areas in Northern Ontario, the arms race is screaming directly overhead, following the reactivation of a low level training corridor for American B-52s and F-111s. On February 13, the Department of National Defence confirmed the recommencement of B-52 training exercises in "IR-10," a low level flight path cutting a wide northerly arc from North Bay to west of Sault Ste. Marie.

The corridor was first established in 1%8. It fell into disuse in the early 1980's, and had not been used since 1985, but was still considered to be an established corridor when the request for flight scheduling came from Strategic Air Command. The corridor was not, therefore, subject to the review procedures now being undertaken for the approval of similar new corridors in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

For now, the corridor will be used for terrain following and radar evasion practices by American B-52s and F-111s. The B-52 is the second generation to the B-29, carrier of the bomb that dropped on Hiroshima, and is the delivery system for the air launched cruise missile. It is the predecessor to the B-1B. The F-111 is a fighter/bomber plane used for carrying conventional or nuclear bombs and missiles, and also for radar jamming.

With "mission profiles" 100 metres above surface level, and speeds of approximately 800 kilometres an hour, the flights will produce sounds of 104 decibels at ground level, the equivalent of a jackhammer at operator's distance. Besides the sound damage, the planes will produce more than 700 pounds of emissions (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and hydrocarbons) per hour.

Peace and environment groups in the region have objected to the reactivation of the corridor. News conferences have been held throughout the region, and at Queen's Park. March 14 saw a march and rally in Sault Ste. Marie, and the erection and unveiling of the first low level bomber road crossing sign on Highway 11, south of Latchford. (Kathy Ingwerson, of the Temiskaming Peace Alliance, was charged with holding a public meeting by a highway, and erecting a sign without permission. No court date has yet been set.)

The Northeastern Ontario Network for Peace met m Sudbury on April 26, to plan regional strategy for joint opposition to the flights.

Scheduling of flights is currently on hold, while the D.N.D. considers alterations to the route to avoid flying at low levels over Lady Evelyn Wilderness Park. A probable change is to extend the 4,000 section of the corridor an additional twenty miles, dropping to low levels immediately beyond the park boundaries. Information officer Donald Marsh says that the change does not come in response to area residents, but because D.N.D. is a good corporate citizen. While any delay is welcome, a change of twenty miles addresses neither the environmental consequences to the region, nor the economic repercussions. Nor does it address the fact that training foreign nuclear weapons delivery systems in offensive manoeuvres is unacceptable in a province declared to be nuclear weapons free. The arms race and its fallout are the daily experience in Northern Ontario. Nearly 100 million tonnes of radioactive waste lie piled at Elliot Lake, and parts of the north shore of Lake Huron are "hot." Bomarc missiles were deployed in North Bay from 1962 to 1976. Far below the granite escarpment in the city's north end is the Canadian command and control centre for North American Aerospace Command. And now overhead B-52s and F-111s roar, training for World War Ill.

Canadian Women Attend U.N. Disarmament Talks

NEW YORK -- Eighteen Canadian women visited the United Nations May 3-10 under the auspices of the Voice of Women (VOW). The group was led by Ms. Janis Alton, VOW delegate to the U.N., and Ms. Ann Gertler.

They were received by (among others), the Canadian Ambassadors Stephen Lewis and Douglas Roche, and by women Ambassadors from Nicaragua and Sweden, who are delegates to the Disarmament Commission, which is in session during May. All meetings focussed on the prospects for disarmament and for the advancement of women. They were repeatedly told that Canada leads other nations in equalizing opportunities for women. They were especially encouraged by the Soviet delegate in discussing arms reductions.

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1987

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1987, page 38. Some rights reserved.

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