A French nuclear-powered submarine arrived in Shearwater on Friday for the first time in two years.
FS L’Améthyste, a Rubis-class submarine, is stopping for resupply, said a Department of National Defence spokesman, but wouldn’t provide further details.
But according to Allan Bezanson of No Harbour for War, the submarine shouldn’t be here in the first place.
“We want Halifax to be a factor of peace in the world and a zone for peace, ” said the anti-war group member, “and we don’t like these foreign warships coming into our harbour.”
Bezanson and other watercraft experts were unable to identify the submarine as it has no markings on it.
No Harbour for War opposes all foreign warships coming into Canadian waters.
“Halifax has historically been a military port … but these comings and goings you see, usually they are tied in with war exercises,” said Bezanson.
The French navy has been involved in activities in the Mediterranean against Syria and off the coast of Africa, he said.
“What is this French submarine? Why is it here?” asked the anti-war group member.
Margaret Conway, Canadian Forces Base Halifax spokeswoman, said hazardous material training was conducted on Wednesday.
The exercise was to test the emergency response plan at the base, she said.
“It’s like a fire drill, right? The likelihood is not big at all, but it’s so that we’re prepared and that we can test all of the different pieces that are working together,” said Conway.
The submarine isn’t the only foreign warship in waters near Halifax. USS Huế City [a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, named for the Battle of Huế, fought in the city during the Tet Offensive of 1968 by the 1st Marine Regiment during the war of aggression against Vietnam – ed.] has been docked near Casino Nova Scotia for the past couple of days.
“It has just come back from war exercises jointly with HMCS Halifax and HMCS Toronto off the coast of Nova Scotia,” said Bezanson, noting numerous American warships have been in port since May.
Many warships from the U.S. navy are sent to ports around the world for Columbus Day on Oct. 8, he said, which may explain why the USS Huế City is here.
With the annual Halifax International Security Forum approaching, the No Harbour for War group sees Halifax being used as a “launching pad for aggression and schemes to dominate the world.”
Canada should have a navy, he said, but be a coastal defence force that protects our shores and doesn’t serve as a partner to the U.S.
“A hundred years after the war to end all wars, why are these wars still taking place?” asked the group member. “We haven’t learned.”
Nicole Munro, Halifax Chronicle Herald