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‘Undesirable Characters’

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In early 1971, two Canadian unionists travelled to New Caledonia on a technical mission of assistance to the territory's unions. At the airport in Nouméa, however, the territorial authorities refused the unionists entry. For the French government, the interest of the United Steelworkers of America in New Caledonia represented a threat to the stability and competitiveness of the territory's nickel industry. The visit was also seen as a manifestation of growing American influence on New Caledonia's economic and political development at a time when the French were increasingly concerned about the territory's attachment to France. Yet efforts by the territorial authorities in Nouméa to prevent the visit were complicated by other French and Canadian concerns. Neither Canada nor the metropolitan government of France wanted an international incident that might jeopardise France–Canada relations, which were improving slowly after several years of acrimony.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Nipissing University, North Bay,ON, Canada P1B 8L7

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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