In the National Interest: Canadian Foreign Policy and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 1909-2009

By Greg Donaghy; Michael K. Carroll | Go to book overview

9
CONFLICTING VISIONS
PIERRE TRUDEAU
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
AND ENERGY POLICY

Tammy Nemeth

When the Liberal Party met in April 1968 to choose a successor to Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson they opted for change.1 Pierre Elliott Trudeau was in many ways the antithesis of Pearson; he was charismatic, energetic, single, bilingual, and, at the comparatively young age of 48, he captured the minds and imagination of the youth of the 1960s. Pearson’s bowtie seemed antiquated compared to the rose Trudeau wore in his lapel. Most scholarly works and reflections by contemporaries about the years when Trudeau was in power in Canada have a common theme: a significant aspect of Trudeau’s personal philosophy was to challenge conventional wisdom.2 Or, as Trudeau put it himself, “the only constant factor to be found in my thinking over the years has been opposition to accepted opinions.”3 Both the departments of Energy, Mines and Resources (EMR) and External Affairs were significantly affected by Trudeau’s desire to challenge conventional thinking on Canada’s energy policy and relations with the United States, as he articulated a new vision of Canada’s national interest.

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