A US Satellite?

mercredi 28 janvier 2015

A US Satellite?
Cultural Colony
Economic Integration
Canada in the world today

Canada and the US: Military satellite ?


Since 1940 Canada has been part of a common North American system under American control. This made sense during WW2, but it was continued during the Cold War. Canada was the transpolar front line between the US and the Soviet Union. NORAD (the North American Air Defence Agreement) was signed in 1957 and American radar stations were built in Northern Canada to prevent air attacks on the North American continent. Moreover, under American pressure, Canada participated in the Korean war and supplied raw material during the Vietnam war.





This created tensions in Canada, as Canadians wondered whether their country must follow the US in its so-called fight for liberty. Many Canadians were aware that the "free-world" was not that free and supported Latin American and Asian dictatorships. Many Canadian intellectuals and politicians did not like American sense of a divine mission to defend the free world. They knew that the cold war was also a conflict of interests. They distrusted the expansionist and imperialistic nature of the US to which Canada had narrowly been a victim, and were shocked by McCarthyism.


The last straw came during the Suez crisis of 1956 when the Liberal government of Louis St Laurent supported the US against Britain. In the following elections of 1957 and 1958, Canadians voted massively for the Conservative, anti-American John Diefenbaker. This led to a crisis in 1962 when Canada hesitated in its support of the US in the Cuban missiles affair. As a result, the American Democrats financed the Canadian liberal party to help it win the 1964 elections. Hence Liberal leader Lester Pearson was, in part,  elected thanks to American money, although he later tried to avoid complete alignment with the US in the Vietnam war. He tried to follow a "Quiet Diplomacy" and gave shelter to the Vietnam draft-dodgers, thus earning a famous scolding from President Johnson, who reportedly grabbed Prime Minister Pearson by the lapels, shook him, and shouted "Dammit, Les, I don't piss on your rug, so don't you piss on my rug!"





The feeling of military dependence was acute until the mid-1960s because the US appeared so powerful and invincible. But things changed when the American situation in Vietnam deteriorated and riots and contestation increased. With the US no longer so powerful, Canada could relax and even enjoy a feeling of moral and political superiority. It seemed that Canada had all the advantages of North American wealth and freedom, and none of the drawbacks. There was a feeling that more autonomy was possible and this encouraged Canada to develop its internationalist stand.


Will the US ever try to invade Canada? Have a good laugh reading “Raiding the Icebox” by Peter Carlson of the Washington Post (December 30, 2005)