VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > C. North America, 1946–2000 > 2. Canada, 1946–2000
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1945, June 11)
2. Canada, 1946–2000
The cold war shaped Canadian history no less than it did U.S. history. Located between two superpowers, both with nuclear capabilities, Canada supported the U.S. and became a major architect of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Through its treaty agreements as well as through trade arrangements, the nation became increasingly linked to the political economy of the U.S. Most of its trade went to the U.S., while American businesses expanded their investments in the Canadian economy. Foreign corporations (mostly U.S. companies) owned most of the nation's petroleum and discouraged Canadian-controlled research and development projects; this ensured Canada's exclusion from the microchip computer revolution that transformed American technology and industries during the period. Although some Canadian policy makers soon complained of the growing dependence of the Canadian economy on foreign companies, the pattern persisted and placed Canada in an increasingly precarious position in the world market. When the Middle Eastern oil crisis struck Western countries in the 1970s and 1980s, the Canadian economy was particularly hard hit.  1
Despite heavy dependence on the U.S. for economic development and defense, Canada experienced unprecedented economic growth and prosperity until the early 1970s. Production and consumption rose, as the nation's population not only increased but continued to urbanize, and then suburbanize, in growing numbers. A variety of forces fueled the development of Canadian cities, suburbs, and consumer culture: the baby boom, relatively low rates of unemployment, and an overall rise in the standard of living. Yet, as in earlier eras, the country's prosperity was unequally distributed. Inequality persisted between the troubled agricultural sector (and the maritime provinces) and the vibrant urban economies of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. French-speaking Quebec only slowly gained parity with English-speaking Canada. And the problems of Native Americans, African Canadians, women, and homosexuals received little attention until these groups organized and exerted increasing pressure on the Canadian government. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, Canada was also attracting increasing numbers of new immigrants from Europe (especially Italy), Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Although French-speaking Quebec voted to remain in the Dominion in 1980, the new wave of immigrants challenged the nation's ability to maintain an increasingly multiracial as well as multicultural nation.  2
1946, April 12
Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander succeeded the earl of Athlone as governor-general.  3
July 1
The proclamation of the Canadian Citizenship Act clarified the definition of Canadian citizenship but retained the status of British subjects for Canadians. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 1947.  4
July 15
A royal commission investigating the activities of a Soviet spy ring in Canada reported the disclosure of important secret information by Canadian officials and the existence of a Communist fifth column in Canada, directed by Soviet agents. Among the Canadians involved was the one parliamentary delegate of the Labour-Progressive (Communist) Party.  5
Aug. 3
An Anglo-Canadian wheat agreement provided for British purchases of large amounts of Canadian wheat at prices considerably below the world market.  6
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.