Canada made a commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that it would allow military bases be built in Canadian soil, track the movements of Soviet submarines through aircraft hovering in the sky, be involved in the military training program with other allies, and most significantly, adapt to the same defense policy as its allies. Together with Britain, France, the United States and other European countries, Canada was taking measures to protect its people and doing what it could to fight against the aggressors. Canada’s role in the United Nations (UN) was also noteworthy, as it had been keenly engaged in external affairs, such as accepting refugees from developing countries that were going through conflicts and providing aid to where it was needed. The establishment of schools, the construction of wells, dams and roads were some of the projects that Canada was involved with. Henceforth, Canada was recognized as a peacekeeper for its engagement in every peacekeeping projects initiated by the U.N. since its start of missions in 1956.
The Korean War
During the Cold War, there were several conflicts that Canada was and was not involved in. The ones that Canada participated were the Korean War, and the Suez Crisis. The Korean War was particularly significant, as the battle between North Korea and South Korea would have turned into a disastrous warfare, had Canada’s Minister of External Affairs not insisted on calling a ceasefire on both sides. This was especially true, since North Korea was a communist country supported by the USSR and China, and South Korea was a democratic country supported by the United States. Therefore, the battle was fought indirectly between the USSR and the United States. Fortunately, the conflict was resolved before it could turn into a total nuclear war.
The Suez Crisis
In 1956, Egypt took over the Suez Canal and attempted to prevent ships from delivering goods to and from Israel. Britain, France and the United States all supported an open canal. The Soviet Union offered Egypt arms and finance to defend against a possible Israeli attack. As a result, tensions rose between the superpowers and a nuclear threat loomed as a possible scenario. Lester Pearson, the Canadian foreign minister was able to begin a diplomatic solution to the problem and to achieve a peaceful outcome to the crisis. For his efforts, Pearson received the Nobel Peace prize in diffusing the explosive situation.
Recognition of the People's Republic of China
In 1970, Pierre Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada decided that his government should recognize the Peoples Republic of China. Although it was against the will of United States, he saw that China was a huge power and a potential major trading partner of Canadian wheat and other goods. He did not wish to offend the US, but realized that the relationship with China had to be good and perhaps it could help reduce some of the tensions caused by the arms race. His foreign policy helped to identify Canada as an independent nation willing to cooperate, trade and communicate with all nations.
The Spread of Communism
The fear of communism had made many Canadians suffer greatly. They experienced both discursive and physical dehumanization throughout the duration of the Cold War. Anyone who was suspected of communist sympathies were dismissed from their jobs without any further explanation, union leaders who fought for the good of the workers were also under suspicion. The RCMP Special Branch regarded artists, peace activists, union leaders and individuals who were seen to have discontentment toward the Canadian government a security risk. Police even conducted a full house search and raided offices to find any forms of “revolutionary” material. Even when a poorly built bridge collapsed in Trois-Rivieres in 1951, Premier Maurice Duplessis directed this cause to the communist activities.