Your Letters

(March 6, 1997, Gazette)

Reader wonders about the study of North Atlantic islands

Somewhat belatedly, but nevertheless, I have to take issue with your report on the North Atlantic Islands Program, as reported on page five of the Jan. 9, 1997, issue. Questions have arisen long since in my mind about this group, no matter the valuable contrasting studies forthcoming, and now I feel prompted to challenge the following:

A. The program "focuses on four specific economic sectors: smallscale manufacturing, primary resources, tourism...," et cetera. But Newfoundland is not an island scenario. Its mainland territory contains much of the above factors, so is it not being represented inappropriately in the "island" context? Without Labrador's substantial input, Newfoundland would be a very different entity for comparison and study with its cohorts.

B. The Isle of Man (IOM) is not part of the United Kingdom, as reported in your item. It has no elected member in the U.K. Parliament, and is an utterly separate jurisdiction, under which the sovereign is not Queen, but Lord of Man. Westminster provides international defence services, but otherwise the IOM retains complete and distinctive control over law, finance, and other island potential. It is simply a part of the British Isles only, but not the U.K.

So both "islands" have other powerful extraneous factors contributing to their situation, along with independence versus Canadian Confederation, Gulf Stream (Iceland) versus little Gulf Stream (Newfoundland). Could the islands study group please elucidate a little more precisely as to how they make their comparisons?

Susan Felsberg, Mud Lake, Labrador

Editor's note: We stand corrected on your second point. With regard to your first, Blair Winsor, director of Memorial's Centre for International Business Studies -- the facility which is co-ordinating research for the North Atlantic Islands Program about the export potential of knowledge-based services -- said Labrador is included in the research, even though that portion of the province is not an island. Prince Edward Island is also involved in the effort, even though (strictly speaking) it's not an island either. Mr. Winsor would be happy to answer any further questions you might have about the North Atlantic Islands Program; he can be reached at 709-737-4504.