Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 18

Did You Know? A Crown corporation differs from government departments in key ways: it’s virtually free from government intervention in its day-to-day operations, a Board of Directors is responsible for the stewardship of the Corporation and overseeing the conduct of operations by the officers and management, and it has greater flexibility in establishing its operating policies and practices. Project: The Pinetree Line As the Cold War began with its threat of a nuclear-based conflict, and hostilities in Korea commenced, North America was faced with the very real possibility of aerial attack. Canada’s location in the middle of the shortest aerial routes between the Soviet Union and the United States, along with our wartime alliance with America, made it crucial that we be involved in North American air defence plans. Negotiations that had begun between Canada and the United States in the late 1940s came to fruition on August 1, 1951, when the two nations reached an 8 agreement to establish the Pinetree Line of 33 radar stations roughly along the 50th parallel, just north of the Canadian-American border. It was an immense effort of coordination. On the Canadian side alone, it involved support from DCL, the Defence Research Board, the Department of Defence Production, Bell Telephone, and the RCAF. And it needed to be fast: using standardized building designs to save time wasn’t enough—deadlines were so urgent that foundations were poured at some of the early sites before the fina l building dimensions were known. One of DCL’s key roles involved the project’s speci- fication of equal or even preferential treatment for Canadian construction contractors and suppliers—a result of Canadian government concerns about both BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA