From Cold War to Present Day
The Effect of NATO
Caption: Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter, 417 Strike/Reconnaissance Operational Training Squadron, Canadian Forces, 4 June 1983
One thing is certain: NATO made possible the Canadian rearmament drive of the 1950s, a time when Europe was economically weak. Billions of dollars were spent to develop a navy with 100 ships of all tonnages, 40 RCAF squadrons and the equivalent of an infantry division. In the late 1960s, however, the Canadian presence in Europe under NATO would be reduced from some 10,000 army personnel to 2,800, and the number of fighter squadrons would drop to three, using CF-104s instead of the original Sabre F-86s. The aircraft carrier Bonaventure would go to the scrapyard and Maritime Command would be reduced to approximately 10,000 personnel. In the 1980s, after years of neglect, the Forces would undergo an expensive rearmament, especially at sea and in the air, with 12 new frigates, 137 new fighter aircraft and 18 Lockheed Aurora scout planes.
All through the years 1951-93, NATO would be one of the government's priorities, sometimes even its main priority.
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