State of the Canadian military during the late Cold War

Nov 2014
What was the state of the Canadian military equipment wise and in terms of quality of human capital during the late 70s and 80s? The military was underfunded from the late 60s onwards during the Trudeau years but got better funding from the late 70s onwards, and also got a bunch of equipment in such as CP-140s, Leopard 1s, and CF-18s, and new rifles such as the M-16 to replace the L1A1s, the destroyer escorts and submarines were also modernized in the 70s and 80s with the DELEX program and the upgrade program for the Oberons.


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
Here's a Canadian defense whitepaper writen in 1987 that talks about past defense spending cuts not being made up by current increased spending. New weapons are more expensive and the tendency was to replace many old weapons with fewer new ones (p. 44).

As someone who was alive in the 1980s and in the US military, my sense is that Canada's military was on par with NATO at large. Most NATO countries had allowed their militaries to decline in the 1970s but increased readiness in the 1980s. Personnel-wise, the Canadian soldier was probably as good as his American, British, French, or German counter-parts.
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