Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

An Inside Look at External Affairs during the Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

An Inside Look at External Affairs during the Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan

Article excerpt

P. Whitney Lackenbauer (ed.), An Inside Look at External Affairs during the Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan, foreword by Paul C. Martin (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002), xxvi + 208pp, illus. Cloth. $34.95. ISBN 1-5523-8076-9.

Mark MacGuigan thought he would get into the cabinet when Trudeau came back into office in 1980. A former law professor, he had the ability and, after twelve years in the Commons, he could hardly be passed over forever merely because he hailed from a part of Ontario thick with ministers. Still, he was surprised to be given the senior post of External Affairs. Jean Chrétien, who had held the portfolio in the previous Liberal government, did not seem pleased. MacGuigan called him, effusively thanked the little guy from Shawinigan for standing aside, and expressed his delight that so formidable a talent had gone to Justice to confound the Quebec separatists. The ice was broken. Trudeau had obviously wanted an academic lawyer in the Pearson Building to handle patriation. He had also stumbled upon a diplomat - a quality also shown in MacGuigan's restrained sketch of the problems his master's interventions could cause. Canada, as we know, is the world's classic middle power, an active participant in international affairs but rarely a determining force. There are chapters on specific episodes, such as patriation and the boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games. …

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