The Other Road to Security: Canada and Disarmament


32 pages
ISBN 0-919084-43-5




Edited by The Report of a Working Group of the CIIA
Reviewed by Barry M. Gough

Barry M. Gough is a history professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and
author of The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and
Discoveries to 1812.


Since its founding in 1928 the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, a non-profit organization, has contributed mightily to the public debate about the directions of Canadian foreign policy in time of peace. The publication under review is no exception to this important and dedicated service. Conducted under the chairmanship of Robert W. Reford, the president of Reford-McCandless International Consultants Corporation, the research group aggressively analyzed the current state of Canadian security, including the need for Canada to have sufficient armed strength to provide security for itself and for its allies of the North Atlantic Alliance. The report makes 24 recommendations, the first of which, and from which many of the others follow, is that Canada recommit itself to a vigorous, leading role in disarmament diplomacy. Canada is advised to reject “first use” of nuclear weapons and to promote the international means of decreasing the tendency of the superpowers to use nuclear weapons. The means of promoting disarmament is the Second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament, and the intention of the resolutions is to bring to the attention of the Government of Canada that not only must it work to maintain a strong Canada but that there are means of “defusing” the present crisis of confidence that sectors of the public of the western world have in the superpowers and their allies in the use of nuclear weapons. In the view of this reader, the CIIA’s positions are not far different from the government’s two-track approach: stronger defences against a Soviet threat and active work in promoting disarmament. The government’s activities in the former have been more visible to the Canadian public than the latter, and the Institute’s report is therefore a salutary reminder to government that the work of peacemaking must go energetically on, both at home and in the councils of the world.


“The Other Road to Security: Canada and Disarmament,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 25, 2024,