In the wake of the 2nd world war, Canadian engineers and innovators built, tested and flew the fastest jet the earth had ever seen.
The CF-105 Avro Arrow. At twice the speed of sound, it was literally faster than a speeding bullet. Canadians from coast to coast celebrated that remarkable achievement. Canada’s future looked bright. It was flying high at the fore-front of the global aviation industry.
In an instant, it all came crashing down when the project scuttled by the federal government. Why? Officially, no one knows.
What we do know for certain is the Avro Arrow was chopped into pieces and sunk to the bottom of the great lakes.
Almost overnight, the entire Canadian aviation sector collapsed. Jobs, innovation and lifetimes of work were scattered to the winds. Pilots, technicians, engineers, welders, programmers… the list goes on… all left without jobs or a future in Canada.
The Avro Arrow was dead. Canadian federal policy killed it.
And with its death, the genius that bore it was acquired; offered new jobs and new opportunities. Non-Canadian opportunities.
Why does it matter now?
The story of the Avro Arrow remains a hauntingly powerful reminder of the impact our legislative decisions can have on Canadians, big and small.
60 years have passed, and despite the 2001 tech crash and the 2008 financial crash, Canadian companies are back at the forefront of bleeding edge technology development.
Genius has never been our weakness, but size has.
Canadian companies have always been small, and yet we’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with giants. And for much of that, we’ve had to stand on our own.
60 years have passed, and a new decimation is here. Not the swift, spectacular crash of the Avro Arrow, but a slow methodical choke hold.
As COVID-19 wracks the country, Canadian companies are being forced onto the back foot, and our size is being used against us. Our genius, trained and educated in Canada, is being siphoned off to larger economies and new opportunities.
It’s a familiar pattern: we invest billions into Canadian Ips and research, scale and grow the companies, only to have these companies acquired by larger entities from other countries once they produce something novel and innovative.
Resisting hasn’t been much of an option, and those who try have been slowly strangled by companies with much larger economies backing them up.
The economic slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic will only accelerate this. However, COVID-19 isn’t the real enemy. It’s the canary in the coal mine, screaming at us that we need to protect Canadian businesses.
Our real enemies are acquisition and attrition.
There is a silver lining though.
There are roughly 12,000 Canadian tech companies, innovators, that are poised to lead us out of this recession. Much of Canada’s growth and recovery over the last few decades has been because of these companies.
Unfortunately makes them prime takeover targets for foreign owned companies. We need to protect and support our innovators.
History has a habit of happening quickly, and we’re witnessing history.
We thought the 4th industrial revolution, the knowledge revolution, would happen slowly. COVID-19 has forced that shift, causing economies the world over to re-structure faster than we could have imagined. You can see it all around you.
Desperation necessitates innovation, and innovation is something Canada knows very, very well. The world needs that innovation, and it will continue to need it. We must protect the sources of our innovation.
History also has a habit of being repeated.
Thankfully, habits can be broken. The federal government can protect these companies. We must learn from the past and stand up for Canadian technology businesses.
We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past half century. We cannot allow our tech sector to continue to be picked apart.
It’s time for the Canadian federal government to put down the sword and pick up the shield.
It’s time to protect Canadian companies.
It’s time to stand on guard for Canada.
Sign the petition if you agree.