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Political reaction to the Arrow's cancellation

It's the closest thing Canadian industry has to a love story and a murder mystery. The Avro Arrow, a sleek white jet interceptor developed in Malton, Ontario in the 1950s, could have been many things. It might have become the fastest plane in the world, our best defence against Soviet bombers, the catalyst to propel Canada to the forefront of the aviation industry. Instead, it became a $400-million pile of scrap metal, and the stuff of legends.

The decision to cancel the Avro Arrow means $400 million wasted tax dollars, instant unemployment for thousands of workers, and a defence department turned upside down. Yet the leaders of the two main opposition parties do not oppose the decision. Liberal leader Lester B. Person and Hazen Argue of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) choose their words carefully.
• Lester B. Pearson joined the government in 1928 in External Affairs, and was elected to the House of Commons in 1948. He was active in the United Nations and became president of the Seventh UN General Assembly. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his proposal to send a peacekeeping force to the Suez Canal area. He became leader of the federal Liberal party and was elected Prime Minister in 1963.

• Hazen Argue was elected to the CCF in 1945 at age 24 and became party leader in 1960. When the CCF became the New Democratic Party a year later, Argue ran for leader, losing to Tommy Douglas. Argue joined the Liberals and was eventually made a senator by Pearson. He became the first Canadian Senator to face criminal charges (misusing Senate funds) in 1989, but died before the case went to trial. He was Canada's longest serving parliamentarian.

• The cancellation of the Arrow was a tragedy for workers in the Toronto area, and local media criticized the decision. But outside Ontario, there was little reaction.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: Feb. 20, 1959
Guest(s): Hazen Argue, Lester B. Pearson
Duration: 2:18

Last updated: January 18, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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