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Canadian nuclear weapons: the untold story of Canada's cold war arsenal.

John Clearwater, Dundurn Press (Toronto), 1998, 400 pp., ISBN 1-55002-299-7, $23.99.

In 1968 Canada signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. But, like several other NATO members, Canada was a non-nuclear state with a difference. From 1963 until 1984, Canada's armed forces were both trained to use and equipped with American-owned nuclear weapons. Canadian Nuclear Weapons tells the story of the four nuclear weapons systems that were deployed by Canada during those years: the BOMARC surface-to-air guided interceptor missile, the Honest John short-range battlefield rocket, the thermonuclear bombs carried on Canadian Starfighters, and the Genie air-to-air rocket. Most of these weapons were phased out by 1972, but the Genies, designed to shoot down Soviet bombers, remained in service with the Canadian squadrons at Bagotville, Quebec and Comox, British Columbia until mid-1984.

Illustrated with photographs and diagrams, Canadian Nuclear Weapons contains far more detailed information about Canada's nuclear arsenal than has ever been made public previously.

Peace activists will find the description of surveillance of the anti-nuclear movement particularly interesting. As the author notes, "both the civilian and military authorities feared and distrusted those who disagreed with their nuclear policies and the nuclear deployments. The RCMP were therefore called out both to provide security at the various nuclear bases and to spy on the people and groups involved in peaceful and constitutionally-guaranteed protest ... Freedom is indivisible, but this concept was lost on the government and its security forces."

Canadian Nuclear Weapons does not discuss the political and physical support (NATO policy work, training, components, etc) that Canada provides to the US nuclear arsenal. Canada may "see itself as a nuclear virgin," as the author suggests, but the Canadian position on nuclear weapons is still far too promiscuous to justify that view. Can we look forward to Volume II of the story?
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Ploughshares Monitor
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1998
Words:303
Previous Article:1998 armed conflicts report: conflicts continue to decline.
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