Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1997


268 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-8020-8803-1
DDC 320.9'71'604




Edited by David Mutimer
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of


Happily for researchers and students of contemporary Canadian history,
the Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs continues to
appear, and the 1997 edition attains the usual high quality.

In 1997, Jean Chrétien’s Liberals returned to office, but this time
with only four seats more than their combined opposition. Defence
Minister Douglas Young, who had aborted the Somalia Inquiry on alleged
crimes within the Canadian Armed Forces, suffered personal defeat.
Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy hosted a gathering of diplomats from 122
nations in Ottawa, who signed a treaty banning the use of land mines.
Canada provided $100 million to clear the mines and assist victims, and
Axworthy became a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. In the aftermath
of the 1995 Quebec referendum, the Chrétien government asked the
Supreme Court of Canada to rule on whether Quebec had the right to
secede and, if so, under what circumstances. Former Prime Minister Brian
Mulroney received a settlement for suggestions that he had taken bribes.
Gilles Duceppe succeeded Lucien Bouchard as leader of the Bloc
Québécois. Phil Fontaine replaced Ovide Mercredi as National Chief of
the Assembly of First Nations. In a 139:37 vote, the House of Commons
curtailed tobacco sponsorship of sports and cultural events. Evidence
surfaced that agents of Israel’s Mossad often travelled with phony
Canadian passports. The RCMP used pepper spray to disperse demonstrators
at the OPEC conference in Vancouver.

Among the provinces, only Alberta held a provincial election and, not
surprisingly, Ralph Klein’s Conservatives won yet another decisive
mandate. Ontario’s controversial Conservative government led by Mike
Harris faced a two-week strike by schoolteachers, English and French,
public and Catholic, elementary and secondary. While the government
claimed to be implementing reforms, the teachers said that the real
agenda was budget cuts. Despite strong opposition, the Harris government
also merged suburbs of Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Sudbury into
megacities. Areas of Western Quebec with substantial anglophone
populations considered secession from Quebec in the event that Quebec
should secede from Canada. Manitoba experienced serious floods. Frank
McKenna retired as New Brunswick’s Premier; Ralph Savage, as Nova


“Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1997,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 25, 2024,