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					                       1959: End of the Arrow

                               Canadians are capable of achieving
                             great things. On June 26 we celebrated
                             the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
                             6,595 ships from around the world have
                             already used it and the port of Toronto
                             handled more than 700,000 tons of cargo
                             this year. The agricultural and industrial
                             products of the heartland are now within
                             easy reach of Europe. The cost of
                             construction? A cool billion dollars. Last
                             year natural gas from Alberta began to
                             reach Toronto and Montreal via the new
                             pipeline. The loans the government made
to American investors have been repaid and Trans-Canada Pipelines
has become a majority Canadian-owned company. All that opposition
talk in parliament about the Liberals selling Canada out to the
Americans was just a bunch of hot air. Now the final phase of work is
being done on the Trans-Canada Highway. The continuous 7,821-
kilometres of asphalt make it far easier to transport resources and
products to market. Just as the completion of the CPR in 1885 made
it possible to cross the country by rail, the Trans-Canada Highway
allows Canadians to drive across the country by car. These three
mega-projects – the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Trans-Canada
Pipeline, and the Trans-Canada Highway – were managed by C.D.
Howe. They’ve made Canadians proud. The AVRO Arrow should
have been a fourth source of national pride.
  I am proud to have been one of Howe’s boys. After graduating with
a commerce degree from McGill University at age 19, I rose rapidly in
the business world. By age 21, I was controller for Canadian General
Electric. When I was 26, C.D. Howe recruited me to help the
government organize wartime production. After a stint in the private
sector in the late 1940s, I returned to government service during the
Korean War. Howe made me president and general manager of
AVRO Canada. Since 1951, I have been working with James Floyd to
improve production of the CF-100 jet-fighter and develop the CF-105.
 The Korean War and the Soviet invasion of Hungary increased
tensions in the Cold War. The Russians have had atomic weapons
for a decade. At their annual May Day parade in 1954 they unveiled a
new class of long-range jet-bombers. The Royal Canadian Air Force
needs something fast enough to shoot them down should they violate
our airspace over the Arctic. AVRO Canada started working on the
CF-105, an all-weather supersonic interceptor, the world’s fastest jet.
The Arrow required a brand new air frame design. It was a big
challenge for the design team but we pulled it off. Test-flights began
last year and the Arrow performed very well. When it flew to mach
1.96 and reached a ceiling of 50,000 feet, it broke existing speed and
altitude records. Canadian aeronautical engineers designed and built
something that is the best in the world.
 If you’ve spent a quarter of billion dollars designing jets that can
outperform every other plane on the planet, why destroy them and
sell them for scrap metal? That’s precisely what John Diefenbaker
ordered the military to do. When the government announced it was
cancelling production of the CF-105 in February, I had to lay off
14,000 AVRO workers. It was the blackest day of my life. During the
war, C.D. Howe asked, “What’s a million? If we win the war, the cost
will have been of no consequence and will have been forgotten.”
Apparently the same thinking doesn’t apply during the Cold War. The
RCAF won’t be doing Arctic patrol in squadrons of supersonic CF-
105s. Instead the government will rely on cheaper unmanned
missiles. Canada doesn’t build missiles; the United States does.
   To save money Canada will buy Bomarc missiles. They will be
operated on Canadian soil by the North American Air Defence
Command. Two years ago Diefenbaker agreed that the air defences
of Canada and the United States should be integrated to defend
against the Soviet threat. The NORAD structure places Canada’s air
force under American command. When the Soviets launched a
satellite into orbit in 1957, NORAD decided the world will soon be
entering the era of intercontinental ballistic warfare. The Americans
convinced Diefenbaker the Arrow would be obsolete against ICBMs,
so he scrapped the CF-105 program.
   If the government had taken delivery of the 169 Arrows it ordered,
each interceptor would have cost the government $12 million. If
foreign buyers for the Arrows could have been found, Canada could
have recouped much of this money from foreign sales. But the
Americans wouldn’t buy them. Instead they convinced Diefenbaker to
buy their missiles. What I don’t understand is this: What good will
American Bomarcs be against Soviet ICBMs? The government’s
thinking is all wrong. Not only did we give up a chance to put the
world’s fastest jet into squadron service, but we have surrendered
even more of our independence to the United States.

                                                     Crawford Gordon

				
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