Defending North America
Center mind map
Collapse/Expand all nodes
Defending North America
The Scrapping of the Avro Arrow
In the mid-1950's, the Canadian Air Force obtained orders and blueprints for a new fighter
aircraft with resulted in the Avro Arrow.
American officials pointed out that Canada should stop the process of creating the fighter
jet because if they couldn't build a fighter of such quality, then neither could Canada.
Avro Arrow was a state-of-the-art fighter plane that was in production for the RCAF during the 1950's.
The plane was supposed to give Canada a huge advantage with nuclear air wars.
Due to the hight cost of the project, it was scrapped and since then, Canada has been buying fighter planes
from the Untied states.
The Cuban Missile Crisis sparked debate about Canada's stand on Nuclear weapons.
Canada had scrapped the Avro Arrow in favour of carrying Bomarc Missiles.
This led to a nuclear issue split of Canadian society vs. US - Canadian relations. From this
crisis, many realized that nuclear war was global suicide.
The project costed six times more to manufacture that the American counterpart and that
no one would even want to buy the project. Not even the Canadian Air force.
The costs for the project increased drastically and the project had to be stopped. There
were no unfamiliar orders and the company was disorganized.
Looking back, some Canadians feel as though a huge opprotunity to
establish their country as a technological leader was missed.
Canada's Acceptance of Nuclear Weapons in 1963
To meet the possible threat of Soviet attack, Canada and The United states
agreed in 1957 to establish an integrated North American Air Defence
Agreement (NORAD). It included: fighter forces and missile bases. Air -
defence radar controlled by a central command station in Colorado.
Diefenbaker believed that he and the rest of Canada denied the use of nuclear weaponry.
A poll later showed that 80% of Canada disagreed with him. Many Canadians changed
their opinions and begun to favour nuclear weapons in Canada.
During an election campaign of 1963, the Liberals and Lester Pearson proposed that
Canadians accept nuclear weapons under certain strict conditions only.
To protect against Soviet attack, the USA responded with 3 radar lines across Canada:
Pinetree line, Mid-Canada line and the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line.
The radar lines became obsolete with the development of Intercontinental
Ballistic Missiles armed with nuclear warheads as they could reach North
American cities in 30 minutes. There was not enough response time to take
any defensive measurements.
It seemed hypocritical that Canada was a part of the UN, in favour of disarmament but
was accepting of nuclear weapons to fulfil its obligations to the USA and NORAD.
Diefenbaker was narrowly defeated in the 1963 election and the Liberals formed a minority
government. This was the first federal election that fought over Canada-US relations.
As the Cold War intensified, tensions developed between Canada and the USA
during 1960's. Strained relations developed between Canadian Prime Minister
John Diefenbaker and US President John F. Kennedy.
Diefenbaker and the Conservatives favoured no nuclear participation and anti-American
sentiments emerged. Business leaders feared that Diefenbaker's anti-Americanism
would injure Canada-US trade relations.
Canada's Role in the Cuban Missile Crisis
The world held its breath for 14 tense days as Soviet ships with nuclear warheads sailed
towards the US blockade around Cuba. At last minute, Soviet Premier Nikita Krushev
agreed to remove the missiles if the US promised not to invade Cuba.
Canada did not help the US with the crisis because Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker
was opposed to US President John F. Kennedy as well as the use of nuclear weapons.
Diefenbaker felt that he was defending Canada's independence when he refused
the US to land planes with atomic weapons in Canadian forces.
The Prime Minister of Canada was reluctant to have Canada drawn into conflict
that was not related to Canada itself but instead more towards US policies and interests. This
resulted in the US having to deal with the conflict alone.
The Cuban Missile Crisis became a peak of the opposition between the USA and the USSR.
It has put mankind on the edge of a nuclear apocalypse.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy expected Canada, its NOARD partner to
provide unconditional support for its policies. Diefenbaker did not believe the US
photographs and asked that the US send a fact-finding mission to Cuba instead.
Diefenbaker also refused to put Canada's NORAD forces on alert or allow US planes
with atomic weapons land on Canadian bases.
As the cold War continued to grow more intense, pressure began to grow between
Canada and the USA within the 1960's. Unbalanced opinions rose between
Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and US President John F. Kennedy.
The men had different styles and disliked each other. These differences became
particularly obvious during the most serious crisis of the Cold War: The Cuban
Missile Crisis which took the world to the brink of nuclear war.
In 1959, Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro overthrew the pro-US government. The US
reacted by imposing economic sanctions against Cuba and also backed an invitation
of Cuba by a group of anti-Castro Cubans. Cuba turned to the USSR for its support.