Canada's Changing Foreign Policy

February 4, 1970

Report Outline
Independent Thrust of Canadian Policy
Development of Canadian Foreign Policy
Canadian Policies for the Seventies
Special Focus

Independent Thrust of Canadian Policy

Foreign Policy Under Full Review in Canada

Canada is rebuilding its foreign policy to reflect the country's growing desire for a “fully independent Canada.” In recent months, Canada has decided to reduce its military contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to open negotiations with Communist China on establishing diplomatic relations, and to seek closer ties with Latin American countries. The independent thrust that is becoming evident in Canada's international posture is causing disquiet abroad.

Many of the initiatives for change in Canadian foreign policy come directly from Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whose views reflect a cosmopolitan background. One of his first acts after winning an election victory in June 1068 was to order a review of Canadian external-affairs policy. This review is continuing into 1970 but the theme of independence has already been well established. “I don't believe I have ever talked about a fully independent Canada,” Trudeau said early in 1969. “But what I have said is that if Canada has only 10 or 20 per cent independence, it should use that 10 or 20 per cent to the hilt.…I feel that in some cases we haven't pressed far enough to exercise what little independence we did have, we weren't systematic enough about it.” “Mr. Trudeau's Canada,” the London Economist commented, “is in effect announcing that it means to look over certain policies that may, it feels, have been retained largely because they suited the Americans, or the British, or somebody, and see whether they really suit the Canadians.”

The job of explaining Canada's evolving policy to Washington falls primarily to Marcel Cadieux, who assumed his post as ambassador to the United States on Jan. 31, 1970, replacing E. A. Ritchie. Having served since 1964 as Under Secretary of State for External Affairs, Cadieux probably knows more about the scope, detail and thrust of Canadian policy than anyone else. Western European capitals and Washington alike have sought reassurance from Ottawa on a number of issues, especially that of Canada's role in Nato.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 06, 1995  Quebec Sovereignty
Apr. 12, 1991  The Deepening Canadian Crisis Over Quebec
May 11, 1990  Will Canada Fall Apart?
Mar. 08, 1985  Canada's Time of Change
Dec. 24, 1981  Canada's Political Conflicts
Nov. 04, 1977  Quebec Separatism
Nov. 05, 1976  Canadian-American Relations
Oct. 18, 1972  Canadian Nationalism
Dec. 09, 1970  Canada's Troubled Economy
Feb. 04, 1970  Canada's Changing Foreign Policy
Jun. 12, 1968  Canadian Unity
Oct. 07, 1964  Canadian Separatism
Jun. 06, 1962  Canadian Election
May 29, 1957  Relations with Canada
May 06, 1941  Canada's War Effort
Jul. 18, 1930  Canadian General Election, 1930
Aug. 10, 1929  Canada and the American Tariff
Sep. 21, 1926  Canadian Politics and the Imperial Conference
Regional Political Affairs: Canada