American conspiracy enthusiasts have plenty to choose from, but their Canadian confreres don’t have much . . . but they do have the Avro Arrow controversy:
InnovationCanada.ca spoke with Campagna 50 years after the only examples of Canada’s premier jet fighter were cut into pieces.
InnovationCanada.ca (IC): What would most Canadians be shocked to find out about the Arrow, 50 years after its demise?
Palmiro Campagna (PC): Most people don’t know that the order to destroy the Arrow did not come from Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. One theory was that Diefenbaker decided to cancel as this was a Liberal project and he had problems with A.V. Roe president Crawford Gordon. But the reports I had declassified showed that was clearly not the case.
The decision to cut the Arrows into scrap was blamed on Diefenbaker as an act of vengeance, but it was actually an act of national security. The Arrow was an advanced piece of military technology, and the Canadian government didn’t want the test planes to go to a Crown disposal group that would be allowed to auction them off to anyone in the world.
I’ve written a little bit about the Arrow controversy back in 2004:
I hate to sound like a killjoy, but everything I’ve read about the AVRO Arrow says that, while Dief was widely viewed as an idiot for destroying the . . . finished planes, it would never have been a viable military export for Canada. The plane was great, there seems to be no question about that, but it was too expensive for the RCAF to be the only purchaser, and neither the United States nor the United Kingdom was willing (at that time) to buy from “foreign” suppliers. With no market for the jet, regardless of its superior flying and combat qualities, there was little point in embarking on full production.
Also, given the degree of penetration by Soviet spies, the Canadian government took the easiest option in destroying the prototypes. That doesn’t make it any less tragic if you’re a fan, but it does put it into some kind of perspective, I hope.