Cover: Silent Partners: The Origins and Influence of Canada’s Military Industrial Complex, edited by Alex Souchen and Matthew S. Wiseman. Photo: smoke billowing into the sky from an explosion in the bottom left corner.
244 pages, 6 x 9
7 b&w photos, 2 maps
Release Date:01 May 2024
Release Date:15 Sep 2023
Release Date:15 Sep 2023
Release Date:15 Sep 2023

Silent Partners

The Origins and Influence of Canada’s Military-Industrial Complex

UBC Press

Canada is often seen as a peaceful country with a modest military and a small defence industrial base, but its military-industrial complex is deeply embedded in the fabric of the country. Silent Partners reveals its origins and influence.

During the Cold War, Canada’s military, industrial, and political partnerships developed in silent ways, behind the scenes and without much public scrutiny. Silent Partners explores this complicated history of leveraging military and defence expenditures to fund domestic industries, bolster employment, and support science and technology. Military and defence spending have affected Canada in myriad ways and in uneven patterns of prosperity and decline. The contributions in this volume explore the environmental impacts of military activities and munitions production, the ethical issues of human experimentation and military testing, and the economic and political implications of procurement and arms exports.

Using a vast array of archival sources – some only recently declassified or discovered – Silent Partners is an illuminating examination of Canada’s military-industrial complex from a historical perspective.

This book will appeal to military and Canadian historians, defence analysts, and political scientists interested in Canadian military affairs and defence procurement.

Silent Partners provides fresh, original insights into new areas of Canadian defence history. Roger Sarty, professor, History, Wilfrid Laurier University
Souchen and Wiseman provide a historical perspective that has not been dealt with before. It is a valuable discussion of Canada’s military-industrial experience within a wider war and society context. Craig Stone, associate professor emeritus, Defence Studies, Canadian Forces College

Alex Souchen is an assistant professor at the University of Guelph, cross-appointed between the Department of History and the Bachelor of Arts and Science Program. He is the author of War Junk: Munitions Disposal and Postwar Reconstruction in Canada, which won an honorable mention for the 2020–21 C.P. Stacey Award for the best book in the field of Canadian military history.

Matthew S. Wiseman is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo. He previously held a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at St. Jerome’s University and is the editor of The Selected Works of George R. Lindsey: Operational Research, Strategic Studies, and Canadian Defence in the Cold War.

Introduction: A Canadian Military-Industrial Complex? / Alex Souchen and Matthew S. Wiseman

Part 1: Origins and Environments

1 Victory at All Costs: Canada’s Munitions Industry and the Environment during the Second World War / Alex Souchen

2 Military Dispossession: Alberta’s Suffield Experimental Station, 1939–47 / Brandon Davis

Part 2: Ethics and Experts

3 The Human Sciences at Downsview: Military Research in Cold War Toronto / Matthew S. Wiseman and Matthew Farish

4 In Pursuit of Security: Canada’s Defence Research Board and Sensory Deprivation Research, 1950s–1970s / Meghan Fitzpatrick

Part 3: Politics and Procurement

5 The Honest (Arms) Broker: Promoting the Military-Industrial Complex during the Golden Age of Canadian Foreign Policy / Asa McKercher

6 “This Seems Pie in the Sky and Most Unlikely”: The Origins of General Dynamics Land Systems–Canada / Frank Maas

7 The Royal Canadian Air Force and the Military-Industrial Complex: A Figment of the Imagination / Randall Wakelam

Conclusion: “Insurance for Peace” / Matthew S. Wiseman


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