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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Canada and Ballistic Missile Defence, 1954-2009

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Since the mid-1950s, successive Canadian governments have responded to US ballistic missile defence initiatives with fear and uncertainty. Officials have endlessly debated the implications – at home and abroad – of participation. Drawing on previously classified government documents and interviews with senior officials, James Fergusson offers the first full account of Canada’s unsure response to US initiatives. He reveals that factors such as weak leadership and a tendency to place uncertain and ill-defined notions of international peace and security before national defence have resulted in indecision. In the end, policy-makers have failed to transform the ballistic missile defence issue into an opportunity to define Canada’s strategic interests at home and on the world stage.

Table of Contents


Prologue – What’s with Defence?

Act 1 – Anti-Ballistic Missiles: Don’t Worry, Be Happy (1954-71)

Act 2 – The Strategic Defence Initiative: Much Ado About Very Little (1972-85)

Act 3 – Global Protection Against Limited Strikes: Too Close for Comfort (1986-92)

Act 4 – National Missile Defense: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (1993-2000)

Act 5 – Ground-Based Mid-Course Defense: Is this the End? (2001-05)

Epilogue – Forward to the Past (2005 and Beyond)




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