Canada Quietly Gives Up Last Nuclear Weapons
The Montreal Gazette, 15 November, 1984
The last nuclear weapons on Canadian soil were removed without fanfare in July , the Department of Defence confirmed yesterday.
"These weapons were no longer required," said Lieut. Jill Robinson, a department official. The return to the United States of an estimated 55 nuclear-tipped was not publicly announced.
Robinson said the department simply followed up on a commitment made by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to strip the Canadian Forces of any nuclear role.
An official of the Department of External Affairs was there was "no great foreign-policy implications: in the removal, because Canada still remains a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the North American Aerospace Defence Command.
"We haven't completely disassociated ourselves:" said Louise de Lafayette. "We just don't have (nuclear weapons) and we won't use them."
Trudeau told the House of Commons in March that, with the introduction of the new CF-18 fighters, the Genies would be sent back to the United States.
The missiles were under U.S. control and, in the event of an attack on Canada by manned bombers, they were to be fitted to Canada's CF-101 Voodoo interceptors.
The aging Voodoos are being placed by CF-18s.
The Trudeau government made a commitment to equip the CF-18 with conventional weapons when it was chosen in 1981 as the main combat aircraft of the Canadian Forces.
Trudeau had frequently called on the western alliance to commit itself not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.
NATO policy now envisages use of tactical "battlefield" nuclear weapons to stop an attack by Soviet bloc conventional forces on Western Europe.
After he succeeded Pearson as leader of the Liberal party and Prime Minister, Trudeau oversaw the phase-out of the Bomarcs in 1971 and gradually changed Canada's NATO role.
The Honest John short-range nuclear missiles were taken away from Canada's ground forces in Europe and the CF-104 Starfighters based at Lahr, West Germany, were given a low-level ground-support and reconnaissance role, using conventional weapons.