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Documentary seeks out Canadian connection to Vietnam War - by the Winnipeg Free Press

April 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, and the final chapter of the Vietnam War.  While Canada chose not to join America in the fighting, welcoming draft dodgers and deserters fleeing military service, it did support America in the field with intelligence and earned huge profits from the sale of munitions and supplies to meet the U.S. military’s almost limitless demand. But by the end of the conflict, the Canadian government, reflecting changing public opinion, criticized American policy regarding the bombing of North Vietnam, and a new Canadian identity emerged.  Vietnam: Canada's Shadow War examines Canada’s role in the Vietnam conflict, and its relationship with the United States throughout this decade-long war.

At the onset on the Vietnam War, a cautious Canadian government led by Lester B. Pearson settled for what some have called a policy of “quiet complicity”. But over the course of the conflict, influenced by what they were seeing on television, the music of the era and the arrival of young people escaping military service, young Canadians demanded change.  During the Vietnam decade, Canada celebrated its Centennial, elected a sexy new Prime Minister, distanced itself from the British Empire and consolidated its independent identity. Faced with being either “servile or sovereign,” by the end of the war, Canada chose sovereignty. 

Laura Jones and her husband chronicle the war resistance movement from their Baldwin Street headquarters.

Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War features insightful interviews from a variety of fascinating perspectives, including photographer Laura Jones, who fled the U.S. with her husband and chronicled the war resistance movement from Toronto, as well as journalist Peter Kent, who was on the ground reporting from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon, and draft evader John Hagan, author of Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada.

Now, 50 years after the first official U.S. combat boots hit the ground in Vietnam and 40 years after the fall of Saigon, we will take stock of this game-changing war. Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War provides an account of Canada’s reaction and response to the decade-long war and dispels some of the misconceptions and myths about Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam experience that have lingered over the last four decades.

Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War is produced by Merit Motion Pictures and directed by Andy Blicq in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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