Bomarc Missile Crisis
The Bomarc Missile debate was a dispute in the Cold War-era over whether or not Canada should house nuclear missiles as part of its air defense agreement with the United States.
In 1958, the decision made by the Conservative government to cancel the Avro Arrow and deploy two squadrons of the American Bomarc missle caused a crisis in Canadian defense policy, and was a highly controversial topic.
With the fall of the 1958 Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s Conservative government came the announcement of an agreement with the United States to deploy two squadrons of the American “Bomarc” antiaircraft missile in Canada. This was a very controversial defense decision; it was one of many coming from the 1957…show more content… Theoretically, the missiles would intercept any Soviet attacks on North America before they reached further inland, to the industrial heartland of Canada.
The Canadian government was unclear as to whether the version of the missile they’d acquired, the Bomarc-B, was to be equipped with nuclear warheads. When this became publicly known in 1960, it began a dispute as to whether or not Canada should adopt nuclear weapons; it led to anti-nuclear protests all over the country.
The government didn’t end up accepting nuclear warheads for the Bomarcs. The Conservative Government became divided over the issue. It’s Cabinet couldn’t come to a firm decision on whether Canada should follow its NORAD obligations and house the nuclear weapons, or maintain Canada’s oppostion to the spread of nuclear weapons.
Fifty-six missiles were deployed in North Bay, Ontario, and La Macaza, Quebec, under the complete control of the commander-in-chief of NORAD.
The Conservatives lost the 1963 election, partly over the Bomarc issue. The Official Opposition (Liberal) stated that it supported NORAD obligations and would accept nuclear