Le ministère des Affaires extérieures du Canada
Volume III : Innovation et adaptation, 1968−1984
Imprint: Les Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa
By 1968, Canada’s storied Department of External Affairs was under siege. The postwar decades of steady growth and diplomatic accomplishment were over. Technological change and trade liberalization were ushering in a new era of globalization. The economy slumped and stagnated. Globalization stretched the international agenda, adding novel issues: human rights and woman’s rights; energy, science, and technology; the environment; and global revolution and terrorism. The new Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, encouraged the Department of External Affairs to keep up with the times.
External Affairs initially reeled under the assault, struggling to respond to the enormous political, economic, and domestic pressures of the era. Through the 1970s, however, it steadily reclaimed its relevance. It focused more of its efforts on economic diplomacy and found the administrative mechanisms required to reconcile its traditional global outlook with the government’s domestic preoccupations, finally merging with the Trade Commissioner Service in 1982.
Along the way, External Affairs helped craft innovative policies to respond to the dominant challenges of the era, including UN peacekeeping, decolonization and the North-South dialogue, the Middle East and the Iran Hostage crisis, and the ever-dangerous Cold War.
Published in French.