Montreal is too isolated and has an extreme climate according to a lobbying effort to have the International Civil Aviation Organization’s office moved. Qatar, a tiny country next to Bahrain is trying to convince the body to move there.
Qatar made the pitch at a meeting in Montreal last week saying the organization, which has been based in Montreal since its inception in 1947, is too far away from Europe and Asia and has cold winters.
Just for clarity, Doha, Qatar is about eight kilometres closer to London than Montreal and in summer the temperature in Doha averages more than 40 degrees Celsius.
The Qatar delegation also cites high Canadian taxes and the difficulty in getting visas by some delegates.
Canada has vowed to fight any proposed move of the ICAO office.
“Our government is working to keep ICAO in Montreal,” said Joseph Lavoie, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “Minister Baird is personally ready, willing and keen to work with the government of Quebec and the city of Montreal to keep ICAO in such a world-class city.”
ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said it’s the first time a move has been suggested. The 191-member organization will vote on the proposal during its general session which starts Sept. 24 in Montreal. More than 60 percent of delegates will have to approve it.
Qatar says it will build a new headquarters and cover all the costs of running it if the move is made.