How not to keep a secret
In a letter published in the Telegram on Tuesday, Tom Careen of Placentia writes:
I am sure the huge airport at Goose Bay (built and operational for almost two years in the mid-1940s before the Commission of Government admitted its existence to the people of Newfoundland) was easily able to handle all the VIP air traffic that day.
Some time in the recent past — probably the mid-1990s — someone in Newfoundland invented, out of thin air, the myth that Goose Bay was kept a secret from the people of Newfoundland. The more extreme version of the myth holds that the secret was kept until after Confederation.
It was not.
It is true that the Canadian government, which built the airfield in a jiffy in the fall of 1941, tried, for obvious security reasons (there was a war going on) to keep a lid on the project for as long as possible.
Construction at Goose Bay began in early September. As early as September 13 of that year, American President Franklin Roosevelt, in a radio address broadcast around the world alluded to the construction of an allied airfield in Labrador.
In mid-November, Canadian cabinet minister Charles Power got a little too talkative in the House of Commons, resulting in a fugitive wire story which managed to escape the wartime censors, who didn't like the amount of detail he disclosed. This version was published in the Montreal Gazette, but appeared in daily papers across Canada:
On the Newfoundland side of things, the Commission of Government not only did not suppress information about the existence of Goose Bay, it actively encouraged Newfoundlanders to seek out employment on the construction project — the first megaproject in Labrador's history — and transported many of them north to Labrador on the government-run coastal steamers in the navigation season of 1942.