An Inside Look at External Affairs During the Trudeau Years


Between these covers, you will read about the life of an individual – Mark MacGuigan – who dedicated his life to bettering Canada…. From his fascination with the law to his interest in politics and international affairs, Mark made a lasting impact on virtually every area to which he turned his efforts.

Paul C. Martin, from the Foreword

Mark MacGuigan was appointed Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs in a tumultuous period of renewed East-West tensions, challenging Canadian-American relations, and regional conflict in the early 1980s. In this perceptive mélange of autobiography and study of foreign policy under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, MacGuigan surveys a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues, weaves together an intriguing cast of national and international characters, and offers important insights into the making of foreign policy from a ministerial perspective. In chronicling the events in which he participated, MacGuigan describes his motivations, reactions, and decisions which illuminate Trudeau’s approach to foreign policy and governance. An Inside Look at External Affairs during the Trudeau Years reflects on the interplay between domestic and international agendas and individual personalities in caucus that ultimately shape foreign policy.

Mark MacGuigan, An Inside Look at External Affairs During the Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan. Edited by P. Whitney Lackenbauer (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, September 2002), 234 pages.


As memoirs go, this one is good. When MacGuigan took an interest in a subject, he was a lively and acute reporter, and the result is a considerable advance in our knowledge of Canadian foreign policy in the Trudeau era.

Robert Bothwell

Students of Trudeau, especially his character, his relations with American leaders, and his constitutional patriation exercise, will find [this memoir] well worth their attention.

Howard Cody

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…. ‘It was not the best of times’, MacGuigan says by way of retrospect of his two and a half years in office. His memoirs will help illuminate the dying embers of the post-1945 world.

Ged Martin

In chapters devoted to people (Trudeau), events (the olympic boycott, arms control, the constitutional question etc) and geo-political divisions in the world (north-south, the pacific rim, the middle east), these memoirs cover a wide range of national and international issues, bringing in some cautiously painted, though certainly revealing of MacGuigan’s personal biases, portraits of political figures.

Rondi Adams

Table of Contents

Foreword by Paul Martin

Background by John English and Allen Linden

Biographical Note by Patricia D. MacGuigan

Editor’s Note by P. Whitney Lackenbauer

Preface by Mark MacGuigan

Part One: Introduction

1 The Beginning

2 Trudeau

3 The Department of External Affairs

Part Two: General Themes

4 The Olympic Boycott

5 The East-West Divide

6 Arms Control and Disarmament

7 A North-South Perspective

Part Three: Particular Themes

8 Constitutional Questions … and Resolution

9 Managing the American Relationship

10 The Caribbean, Central America, and Latin America

11 Southern Africa

12 The Pacific Rim

13 The Middle East

Part Four: Conclusion

14 Retrospect and Prospect