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Ursula Martius Franklin fonds
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Chemical and biological warfare

Subseries consists of records documenting Dr. Franklin’s concerns around chemical and biological warfare/weapons (CBW), as a scientist, a Quaker, and a member of VOW. Subseries includes background material on issues relating to the making, testing and use of chemical poisoning.

According to Dr. Franklin, both Voice of Women and some members of the scientific community were interested in clarifying Canada’s role in this area of research and development, including the role of universities. These groups were also active in public education to achieve a complete banning of research, production, testing and use of such weapons. There are several recurring issues: one is Canada’s official role in the research and testing of chemical weapons, particularly the use, on behalf of her allies, of the test station in Suffield, Alberta. Voice of Women in particular made many attempts to question the use of this large tract of land for testing highly poisonous agents. The Canadian government always responded that their work has been entirely defensive, i.e. the testing of protective clothing for soldiers who might be subjected to chemical attacks. The Canadian government has never attempted to suggest that it could protect civilians or that in fact protection was possible. The storage of small amounts of toxic gases on the grounds of Suffield was never denied, however subsequent inquiries showed that the military found it impossible to actually track down the existing location of their supplies.

Records in this subseries include background material from public sources, as well as unclassified Suffield documents. One of the strong forces in the Canadian scientific community who tried to expose research activities in Canadian universities has been Dr. Arthur Forrer of York University’s Department of Biology. He did much to assess the published papers of staff members from Suffield to ascertain their professional expertise so as to deduce the area of their classified activities.

See also: Relevant tapes can be found in Series 18 (Sound recordings), including the visit of VOW members to Suffield; an interview of Ester McCantiless by Dr. Franklin regarding work at the Suffield military base and recruitment of her students; an interview with chief of the Defence Research Board and Muriel Duckworth and Ursula Franklin; and Dr. Franklin’s recorded thoughts to Ann Gertler re the failure of the Chemical, Biological Warfare Control Workshop.

Research Board and SLOWPOKE Reactor

Subseries consists of correspondence with the Chairs of the University Research Board (1979-1983), regarding university research policy, requests for funds, and a request to Dr. Franklin to serve on a panel regarding particular research proposals.

Subseries also includes minutes from the SLOWPOKE Reactor Committee and the SLOWPOKE Subcommittee on Quality Control and Automation of Data Handling (1986).

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