The Involvement of Canada in the Vietnam War

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In the TDSB throughout the Canadian history curriculum students learn about WW1 and WW2. From the trench warfare to the attack on pearl harbour and to the creation and use of the atom bomb, the students learn of the causes and consequences of these events. Unfortunately maybe due to the limited time we have as semestered schools we don’t learn about the Vietnam war, but I think that it is an important topic that should be covered more extensively in this course. There are many different topics I could argue are some points we should learn about the Vietnam war, the big ones I will explain about are how Canada was involved and affected by the war, the Vietnam war being one of the last, largest, and longest “colonial” war, and the Vietnam war affecting the demographics of Canada.

My first point is how Canada was involved and affected by the war. During the war 30,000 Canadians volunteered to go overseas where 130 of them died to fight in the war, many Canadian individuals took off to the U.S. to fight in the war most the individuals being underage to qualify in Canada or thrill seekers. During the war also involved in secret missions and weapons testing. Agent Orange, which is a blend of tactical herbs a defoliant were used to spray on trees to get rid of the leaves to uncover hidden enemies and some soldiers even sprayed it on each other to cool down not knowing about the health complications they would have to face in the future. In the testing phases of the defloriant they had small scale testings where they sprayed it on small parts of the base in Gagetown to test the effectiveness of it. During the war almost all the soldiers including the Canadian ones came into contact and were exposed to Agent Orange and were left with the long lasting effects when they came back home as most of them developed cancer or other diseases, some got neurological disorders, and most of them having birth defects impacting their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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My second argument is that the Vietnam war was the one of the last, largest, and longest “colonial” war. The war started on Nov 1, 1955 and ended Apr 30, 1975 almost 20 years of fighting. Just like in Canada the fate of how the country were governed were decided by a colonial war, we should learn about this war to see how they were impacted by it and how it differs from the ones in Canada. The communist countries like the Soviet Union and China supported North Vietnam to go against a legitimate South Vietnamese government supported by the anti-communist countries primarily the United States. There were different sides to this war due to the Cold war like China vs U.S., Soviet Union vs U.S., in addition to the struggle between North and South Vietnam. 3 million people were killed in the war over half of them being Vietnamese. 2 years prior to the end of the war on 1973 the U.S. withdrew so they wouldn’t suffer further loses, and in 1975 the communist's ended the war seizing control of South Vietnam.

My final argument is that the Vietnam war impacted the demographics of Canada, and helped in the diversity and multiculturalism we have in Canada now. After the Vietnam war it led to two waves of immigrants coming to Canada. The first wave consisting of middle-class people with professional skills they could use to improve the Canadian economy. The second wave consisted of refugees from former South Vietnam, seeking to find refuge from the harsh conditions there. The fact that Canada allowed them to their country along with other reasons prior and after this led to more and more people around the world seeing Canada as a more open and welcoming country to immigrate to. Due to this Canada saw on a yearly basis more and more immigrants coming to Canada. The benefits of more immigrants coming to Canada at that time was that it made Canada more diverse and multicultural. Canada being more diverse and multicultural would lead to improvement in trades between other countries, a more understanding environment where there are many different ideas and people coming together, opening doors to investment opportunities overseas, and many other things.

After reading this you might make a counter argument to one of the arguments that were brought up. You might say that the impact of the Vietnamese people immigrating here contributing to the diversity in Canada is actually not beneficial, and that the more immigrants there are the less jobs for the native-born Canadians causing them to go unemployed. My answer to this is that study shows that most immigrants actually take the jobs that Canadians workers don’t want, this means the jobs that they want are still available and that they just need to apply for them. Due to the immigrants taking the jobs that most people don’t want it is also beneficial since it would bring down unemployment rates and who else would do it then.

In conclusion, Canada’s involvement in the war, the Vietnam war being a colonial war, and how the war impacted Canada’s demographics are reasons why I believe this topic should be covered more extensively in this course.I hope after reading this you feel the curiosity to learn more about this topic and believe it should be integrated into the curriculum.

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