Double Cross (by Shirley Render)
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Double Cross: The Inside Story of James A. Richardson and Canadian Airways tells the story of James A. Richardson's dream of promoting commercial aviation in Canada. It is also the tale of how Canada lost its chance to become a world leader in aviation as a result of government short-sightedness, departmental rivalries and bureaucratic bungling. This is a story of intrigue at the highest levels.
During most of the 1930s, Canadian Airways Limited was the largest flying organization in Canada. The company and its many subsidiaries carried passengers, freight and the mail from the nation's largest cities to its most isolated outposts. Founded by Winnipeg grain merchant James A. Richardson in 1930 as the successor company to his Western Canadian Airways, Canadian Airways was intended to be the foundation for a national network that would fly "around the world and over the top." The federal government shared Richardson's vision, promising that Canadian airways would be its ‘chosen instrument’ for Canada's airway development. Then, in 1937, it created Trans-Canada Air Lines, leaving Canadian Airways to fend for itself.
Richardson was stunned by the betrayal. He had invested millions of dollars of his personal fortune to keep Canadian Airways flying during the Great Depression, believing that in time it would not only become the national airline but dominate the international airways as well. He was a man with vision, money and credibility. The business community and his employees respected him. What happened to Richardson's dream of Canada's domination of international aviation?
Author and historian Shirley Render combed the Canadian Airways papers, searched minutes of government meetings and found the evidence that told the real story of the role played by General Andrew McNaughton, chief of the general staff to the Department of National Defence (which controlled civil aviation), and C.D. Howe, the Minister of Transport, in the development of Canadian aviation. Double Cross untangles the web of deceit and double dealing that resulted in the demise of Canadian Airways.
Shirley Render is a 2020 inductee into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.