From Cold War to Present Day


A New View and Vision

The French and British regimes enabled Canadians to have the burden of their defence largely shouldered by others. At the end of this era Canada went to the aid of its two mother countries. During the period covered in this volume, however, even during the Second World War, Canadians have been inclined to remain subject to Britain. February 1946 saw the establishment of a joint U.S.-Canada committee for military co-operation. Both countries appointed military delegates from all three arms, along with foreign affairs officials. On 12 February 1947 the Canadian prime minister and the American secretary of state issued simultaneous statements on the peacetime defence co-operation agreement they had reached. It provided for: exchanges of servicemen and, on occasion, observers for manoeuvres; development and trials of new weapons and the standardization of weapons, equipment and organization; mutual sharing of naval and air facilities; and minimal formalities concerning movements in the air above the territory and within the territorial waters of each country. In a way, the Americans had merely taken over the process of unified standards begun by the British before 1914.

Despite this strong thread of dependency, another thread was working its way through the period covered in this volume, just as in the periods covered in the previous two volumes: Canadianization. This has been seen in the attitudes and actions of the military community, on both big issues and small. But we seem unable to take the final and most telling steps. For example, the Canadian system of military honours established in the 1970s has retained, at its apex, the Victoria Cross. This supreme British Empire honour has not been awarded to a Canadian since the Second World War. The question arises: Why not award a "Vimy Cross" in recognition of an exceptional act of valour by a Canadian combatant?