The Avro Arrow might have been a good airplane, but had the project not been cancelled it certainly would not have engendered the technical infrastructure to put a man on the moon, as the Toronto Star suggests today.
The Arrow was cancelled for two reasons: cost, which the Liberals carped about for months in the House of Commons; and strategic reasons, the fact that Soviet ICBMs were replacing the Russian bomber fleet, and the Arrow was an over-the-Pole bomber interceptor. So, in an ironic way, the Star gets close to the truth. Rocketry did, in some ways, kill the Arrow.
We were never potential players in the space race. We couldn't be. We didn't have the scientists (the bulk of whom were former German V-weapons experts picked up in the last days of the war), we didn't have the economic infrastructure (either in the masses of engineers or in the physical plant needed to develop a rocket, command module system and lander), and we certainly didn't have the money. The Soviets, spending billions of dollars and possessing many of the V2 scientists, could not keep up to the US.
What was the space race really about?
1. ICBM power and technology
2. Dominance of orbital space economically and militarily
We had no interest in the first two. We certainly would not have skewed our economy to win the space race for reasons of science and propaganda, even if we had the economic and human resources -- which we didn't.
The Star's piece is a political cheap shot.
"If it wasn't for the Tories, we would have been first to the moon!" That's a keeper.
Kind of like: "If Mackenzie King hadn't been such a wimp and Nazi-coddler, we could have knocked off the Nazis in 1938."