Canada’s Continuity of Government Program (1958 – 92)
- By the mid 1950s a massive nuclear attack on North America was becoming a very real possibility.
- Escalating political and military tensions between the Western NATO nations (headed by the United States) and the Eastern European Warsaw Pact nations (directed by the Soviet Union) were becoming increasingly threatening. Both sides were building nuclear and conventional warfare arsenals at an alarming rate.
- This situation motivated the Diefenbaker government to announce in the House of Commons (May 1958), a wide range of civil defence measures to respond to the increased threat. One of these measures was the creation of the Continuity of Government (CoG) Program.
- The CoG called for the establishment of a dispersed system of protected emergency government HQ facilities capable of sheltering small numbers of elected representatives and selected supporting staff from the direct effects of a nuclear attack. Federal and provincial officials assigned to these ‘bunkers’ were intended to provide (what was recognised to be only a ‘thin thread’ of) continuity of legitimate government in order to avoid complete anarchy in the horrific aftermath of a massive exchange of nuclear weapons.
THIS EXHIBIT IS ABOUT THE CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAM; ITS ORIGINS, PURPOSE, ORGANISATION, FACILITIES AND FUNCTIONS,