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The rugged army life

Its goals were lofty and practical: to protect the free world and each other. Attacking one member of NATO meant you had attacked them all. At first, Canada played an important role as a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the Cold War. But when the Communist threat died, some Canadians wondered why we were still part of the alliance. As NATO continues to redefine its mandate, Canada struggles to determine its own role.

"You too can become a part of this hard-hitting team which has won the respect and admiration of the free world," promises this Canadian public service announcement. On Nov. 21, 1951, the Fairsen ship brought the first Canadian contingent, the 27th Brigade, to serve with the NATO forces in Europe. Canadians continue to serve as part of this unit for the next 42 years until the Cold War thaws. 
• By 1993, more than 100,000 Canadians had served with the 27th Brigade as Canada's contribution to NATO.
• During the 1950s, Canada's Royal Canadian Air Force hosted and trained pilots from other NATO countries. As of 2004, Canada continued to provide training centers in Suffield, Alta, Goose Bay, Nfld., and Wainwright, Alta. Canada also continues to stage the annual "Maple Flag" exercise in which NATO members rehearse coalition air drills.

• As of 2004, Canada is the sixth largest contributor to NATO's military and civil budgets. Canada's financial commitment in 2003 was $140 million. In 2004, Canada pledged 2500 troops for service in the alliance. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy are the top five NATO contributors.
• NATO maintains one civil and two military budgets. Each NATO member contributes to the budgets according to a cost-sharing formula.
Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Nov. 20, 1959
Duration: 1:09

Last updated: July 18, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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