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1983: Cruise missile testing coming to Canada

The Story

It's Friday afternoon and Parliament is not in session but the demonstrators are out in full force, waving their protest flags. The federal government just confirmed that American cruise missile testing will be performed in remote areas of Canada. Foreign Affairs minister Allan MacEachen says that the tests pose no threat to Canadians. But critics say this is a dangerous operation and question Prime Minister Trudeau's commitment to disarmament. CBC News reports on the debate.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 15, 1983
Guests: Pauline Jewitt, Gilles LaMontagne, Flora MacDonald, Allan MacEachen
Reporter: Mike Duffy
Duration: 3:10

Did You know?

• The cruise missile testing project had been exposed earlier on March 10, 1982, when Don Sellar of Southam News divulged details of the Canadian-American agreement. Sellar indicated that the two countries had agreed to a five-year deal that allowed for the testing of a range of weapons. On June 8, 1983, the FBI started an investigation of Sellar at the request of the Canadian government.

• In 1985, the anti-nuclear organization Operation Dismantle argued that the Canadian government was violating section seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. The Federal Court of Appeal rejected this argument because it said the claim was based upon assumptions and hypotheses instead of actual fact.

• Some critics argued that this agreement had little to do with NATO diplomacy since Norway, also a NATO partner, refused to test the missiles.

Also on July 15:
1846: The first issue of the "Hamilton Spectator" is published.
1870: Manitoba is admitted to Confederation as Canada's fifth province, and the Northwest Territories are transferred to Canada.
1997: The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate 50 years of marriage with a garden party at Buckingham Palace. About 4,000 couples also celebrating their golden anniversary, attend, including 30 from Canada.


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