Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War, directed by Andy Blicq, sheds new light on common misconceptions and myths about Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam war, examines Canada's reaction, response and relationship with the United States throughout this pivotal moment in history
When the North Vietnamese seized Saigon in April 1975, they took control of the country, leaving millions dead and a landscape scarred and poisoned by war. America lost face and 58,000 of its soldiers, but more important, at home, a generation had learned to doubt the integrity and wisdom of its government.
And what about Canada? On the surface, we landed on the moral high ground, choosing not to join America in the fighting and we welcomed American draft dodgers and deserters fleeing military service. But scratch a little deeper and you find evidence that we were a nation that began by playing at both ends of the court.
Over the course of the Vietnam decade – a new Canadian identity emerged. It was not so much about who we were, but who we were not. Faced as, one politician put it, with being either “servile or sovereign,” in the end Canada chose sovereignty.
Narrated by Ann-Marie Macdonald this striking documentary features first-hand accounts from activist and singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, authors John Hagan (Northern Passage) and Lawrence Martin (The Presidents and Prime Ministers), photographer Laura Jones, and former CBC war correspondent and MP Peter Kent. Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War is a summing up, and an accounting. It dispels some of the ignorance and the myths about the Vietnam experience.