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Restructuring of the Canadian Armed Forces: 1969

On 3 April 1969, the Canadian prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, outlined the responsibilities of the Canadian Armed Forces. In order of priority, they included.

  • the surveillance and protection of Canadian coastlines and territory.
  • the defence of North America in co-operation with the United States.
  • the fulfillment of commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • participation in international peacekeeping missions.

The aircraft carrier, HMCS Bonaventure, fresh from a $12 million dollar refit, was decommissioned and scrapped. Further adjustments to the army took place in Canada. As a means of enhancing the recruitment and retention of French-speaking soldiers, a full army brigade group was established in Valcartier, Quebec. Le Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) would, of course, provide the infantry, but armoured, artillery, engineer, medical, and logistics units had to be created. This meant that, in a period of military downsizing, other units had to disbanded. For example, an armoured regiment, the 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada, was created, but the Fort Garry Horse disappeared from the Regular Force order of battle. In the infantry, the three regiments established in the 1950s, the Canadian Guards, Black Watch, and Queen's Own Rifles, disappeared. The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), however, went from two to three battalions each. (The R22eR had been comprised of three battalions since the time of the Korean War.) The dissolution of three infantry regiments and one armoured regiment is often blamed on integration and unification, but it had nothing directly to do with either. It was, rather, a result of a major restructuring of the army and a new emphasis on institutional bilingualism that was in place at all levels of the federal government. At the end of the reshuffling, the army still had three brigades in Canada, a reduced one in Germany, and the new Canadian Airborne Regiment. The Airborne Regiment, formed in 1968, was composed of two, and then three, commandos (battalions). Overall, Canada ended up with one less infantry battalion and the same number of artillery and armoured units.

The aircraft carrier, HMCS Bonaventure, fresh from a $12 million dollar refit, was decommissioned and scrapped. Further adjustments to the army took place in Canada. As a means of enhancing the recruitment and retention of French-speaking soldiers, a full army brigade group was established in Valcartier, Quebec. Le Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) would, of course, provide the infantry, but armoured, artillery, engineer, medical, and logistics units had to be created. This meant that, in a period of military downsizing, other units had to disbanded. For example, an armoured regiment, the 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada, was created, but the Fort Garry Horse disappeared from the Regular Force order of battle. In the infantry, the three regiments established in the 1950s, the Canadian Guards, Black Watch, and Queen's Own Rifles, disappeared. The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), however, went from two to three battalions each. (The R22eR had been comprised of three battalions since the time of the Korean War.) The dissolution of three infantry regiments and one armoured regiment is often blamed on integration and unification, but it had nothing directly to do with either. It was, rather, a result of a major restructuring of the army and a new emphasis on institutional bilingualism that was in place at all levels of the federal government. At the end of the reshuffling, the army still had three brigades in Canada, a reduced one in Germany, and the new Canadian Airborne Regiment. The Airborne Regiment, formed in 1968, was composed of two, and then three, commandos (battalions). Overall, Canada ended up with one less infantry battalion and the same number of artillery and armoured units.

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