March 29, 2006
National Defence Minister Gordon O�Connor declines transfer of Goose Bay Airfield
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister John Ottenheimer today announced National Defence Minister Gordon O�Connor has declined to sign the order to authorize the transfer of the Goose Bay Airfield to Transport Canada.
"Yesterday, I stated publicly that I had written Minister O�Connor seeking clarification on the Department of National Defence briefing note recommending that the administration and control of the Goose Bay Airfield be transferred to Transport Canada," said Minister Ottenheimer. "Although Minister O�Connor has not formally replied to my letter, his officials have indicated to provincial officials that Minister O�Connor has declined to sign the order. The minister�s officials indicate that Minister O�Connor rejected the recommendation on the grounds that the transfer to Transport Canada at this time would be inconsistent with the federal government�s commitments to CFB Goose Bay."
With respect to the Goose Bay Airport Corporation (GBAC), Minister Ottenheimer noted officials within Minister O�Connor�s office report that the minister has agreed to delay the date when the Department of National Defence would begin collecting landing fees at Goose Bay from April 1, 2006 to April 24, 2006, pending meetings of federal officials with GBAC. Officials within Minister O�Connor�s office have conveyed this information to the Goose Bay Airport Corporation.
"This is obviously very encouraging news for the people of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the province, especially the stakeholders who have worked so hard on trying to make this base viable," said Minister Ottenheimer.
"We appreciate Minister O� Connor's continued support of the commitments the Harper Government has made to the people of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. I would like to thank regional Minister Loyola Hearn for his assistance in this matter." Minister Ottenheimer further stated that he especially appreciates Premier Williams� continued support on this critical file, including his meeting with Minister O'Connor just days after he assumed his portfolio. "He continues to champion 5-Wing Goose Bay and today we are seeing the positive results of this work," said Minister Ottenheimer.
"I am very pleased with the tireless efforts of our Premier and government as they relate to the issue of 5-Wing Goose Bay, and I commend Minister Ottenheimer for acting so quickly to clarify the federal position on this issue," said Lake Melville MHA, John Hickey. "Minister O�Connor�s decision not to authorize the transfer of the Goose Bay Airfield to Transport Canada is tremendous news for the people of the area and is a further sign that the federal government intends to live up to the Prime Minister�s commitments to the people of Happy Valley-Goose Bay."
"Government will continue to work with Minister O�Connor�s office, the Department of National Defence and all stakeholders in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to ensure the future of 5- Wing Goose Bay," concluded Minister Ottenheimer.
Media contact: Billy Hickey, Communications, (709) 729-6985, 691-6390
2006 03 29 5:35 p.m.
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