Formerly the HMCS Labrador: an analysis of the vessel transfer that removed the Royal Canadian Navy from the Canadian Arctic

Fitzgerald, Justin (2022) Formerly the HMCS Labrador: an analysis of the vessel transfer that removed the Royal Canadian Navy from the Canadian Arctic. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This paper explores the question why the HMCS Labrador, an effective, valuable icebreaker and the first to be commissioned by the Royal Canadian Navy, was decommissioned in 1958 after less than four years of military service. The reasons for this are often described as "budgetary considerations"; However, it is conspicuous that the Navy would reverse its defence policy so radically and decommission its only vessel capable of arctic patrol and exploration, having so recently identified a weakness in Arctic capabilities. Foreign policy decision making theory is applied to investigate the personal backgrounds and structural constraints influencing those who participated in the decision-making process, and better understand their personal motives in an organizational context. This analysis reveals that based on Canadian defence commitments abroad and the budget cuts of a new Conservative government, the most likely future outcome of the HMCS Labrador was decommission. Yet, the findings speak to a pattern in Canadian post-war defence policy, where Canada’s Navy struggled to articulate its role in the world other than through its responsibilities to NATO, and thereby more closely linking itself with the US.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15384
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 32-35).
Keywords: Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Labrador, Labrador, Cold War, political science foreign policy, defence policy, Canadian history, Arctic Northwest Passage, Northern Affairs, icebreaker, naval icebreaker
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: February 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Canada. Royal Canadian Navy--History; HMCS Labrador (Ship); Cold War; Canada--International relations; Canada. Navy--History; Northwest Passage; Northern Affairs Program (Canada); Icebreakers (Ships)--Canada, Northern; North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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