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Block G
April. 2/07
Canada’s Role in the
World From 1945-2000

Canada has played a very significant and valuable role in the

world since 1945 and this vital role has continued to this very day.
Canada is continually being viewed as a peacekeeping and
peacemaking nation because of its efforts and contributions in
organizations such as the UN, NATO and NORAD. These contributions
have given Canada a much larger and more influential role on the
world stage. Since 1945, Canada has been able to find a comfortable
role in which it can exercise its middle-power status and still be
recognized world wide for being a mediator and peacemaker.

Canada has made considerable contributions in organizations

such as the UN, NATO and NORAD. The United Nations, or the UN, is an
organization that promotes social and economic progress and peace
world-wide. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, was
formed in 1949 and was focused on protecting Western countries from
the threat of invasion by the Soviet Union. The North American
Defence System, or NORAD, was an agreement created in 1957
between Canada and the US. This agreement was designed in order to
meet and halt the possible threat of Soviet attack on North America.

The United Nations was formed in April of 1945 and consisted of

50 countries that all shared the same ideals and basic goals. The four
basic goals of the United Nations are: keeping world peace and
preventing new wars; improving the standard of living for all nations;
encouraging cooperation among nations; and defending human rights
and helping to promote equality. Canada has played an important role
in the General Assembly, as well as the Security Council ever since
gaining its own seat in 1948. Canada also played a crucial role in the
drafting of the UN Charter. A Canadian man named John Humphrey is
often given credit for drafting the Charter of the UN and Canadian
Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson played a key role in solving many of
the problems the UN faced. Lester Pearson even received the Nobel
Peace Price for his efforts to resolve a major problem the UN faced—
the Suez Crisis. Canada has been a strong supporter of the UN since its
creation. Canada has aided refugees from war or natural disasters and
worked on development projects in various underdeveloped
communities. Canada has been, and will indefinitely continue to be,
very involved and notably active as part of UN peacekeeping efforts.

While celebrating with Allied countries over the end of World War
II, Canadians soon realized that they were about to become involved in
another type of war—a war that was not fought on the battlefield.
Almost immediately after WWII had ended, a Cold War broke out
between the two superpowers of the world, the United States and the
Soviet Union. It was a war fought over political differences, seeing as
the Soviet Union was communist and the United States and most
Western countries were capitalists. When the Soviets took over Eastern
European countries and established communist governments there,
many people began to fear the spread of communism in what became
to be known as the Red Scare. In response to this Red Scare, Canada
joined the US, Britain and many other Western European countries in a
military alliance known as NATO. The NATO members agreed that, if
conventional weapons were not sufficient enough, they would use
nuclear weapons in order to protect the Western countries from the
threat of invasion by the Soviets. Canada made a serious commitment
by joining NATO because it agreed to keep a full army brigade and air
squadrons in Europe, as well as building and supplying military bases
overseas. Canada also played a serious role in NORAD by having three
radar lines set up in order to detect Soviet planes and missiles and
give early warnings of a Soviet attack. It also contributed $300 million
dollars to help develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

Canada has also become involved in many international conflicts

since 1945. The fear of communism was not only a powerful force in
the West, it began dividing nations globally. Korea was divided in 1945
with the North being communist and the South being democratic. With
support of the Soviet Union, the North Koreans invaded South Korea in
1950. The North Korean troops refused to withdraw and the US
demanded the UN come to the defence of South Korea. A UN force,
including over 26 500 Canadians, was sent to fight in Korea. This
decision signified Canada’s support towards the UN and that they were
willing to support the UN’s goals.

Nevertheless, Canada has not always become involved in

international conflicts. The Vietnam War, much like the Korean War,
was fought between the communist-controlled north and the
democratic south. The United States supported South Vietnam and
Communist countries, such as the Soviet Union, supported the North.
The US was determined to stop the Communists by sending in
American troops and fighting a Client War. Canada on the other hand,
did not want to get involved in this battle. Most Canadians still saw
communism as a threat but they felt that being under a communist
government was better than being dead. They did not send in
Canadian troops to fight along side their American neighbors; instead
they chose to not participate. Canada was its own country and was
able to make its own decisions, without the influence of other nations,
and this crisis showed just that.

The Suez Crisis in 1956 was also a significant event that gave
Canada a chance to take a leading role at the United Nations, which is
exactly what Canada did. When Egypt’s president, Gamal Abdel
Nasser took over the Suez Canal; Britain and France joined Israel to
attack the Egyptians. This resulted in the Soviet Union joining sides
with Egypt and offering it financial aid and missiles. Many people felt
that it was Canada’s duty to support Britain and help attack Egypt, yet
Canadian Prime Minister, Louis St. Laurent, refused to support them.
Lester Pearson, acting as Canada’s minister of External Affairs, went to
the United Nations to try and work out a solution. He suggested
creating a United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which would keep
combatants apart until a settlement was workout. The UN agreed and
battle forces were withdrawn and replaced with UN peacekeeping
forces. Canada was able to find a more peaceful approach to solving
this crisis and Lester Pearson eventually received the Nobel Peace
Prize for his contribution.

Canadian foreign policy has also changed considerably since

1945. During the First World War, Canada’s foreign policy was
completely controlled by Britain. This meant that when Britain went to
war, Canada was automatically at war. When the Second World War
came, Canada was independent from Britain and therefore had a
separate foreign policy. Canada could make the decision as to whether
or not they would go to war. In 1968, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre
Elliott Trudeau planned to change the Canadian foreign policy in order
to make it less dependant on US approval. He also called for more aid
for the poor countries of the world and tried to establish trade and
sporting links with communist states. Canada is known as a ‘middle
power’ and is notorious for being a peacekeeping nation.

The end of communism and the new world order has also
affected Canada and its foreign policy in many ways. When
communism ended, Canada was no longer filled with a society terrified
of the Red Scare. Canada was able to open its doors to nationalities
and races all over the world and its citizens not longer felt threatened
by communism. Canada’s immigration policy became very open and
Canada accepted people from all over the world, regardless of where
they came from. The New World Order allowed Canada to have more of
a peacekeeping role in the world and permitted Canada to contribute
more to the United Nations.

Canada has gone through many significant and notable changes

since 1945. Canada has become a very multicultural by using its ‘open
door policy’ towards immigration and treats everybody as they
deserve. By being an active member in the UN, NORAD and NATO,
Canada has earned the title of being a peacekeeping and peacemaking
nation: a title that is well deserved and recognized all over the globe.