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


208 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55238-076-9
DDC 327.71'0092




Reviewed by Ashley Thomson

Ashley Thomson is a full librarian at Laurentian University and co-editor or co-author of nine books, most recently Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005.


Mark MacGuigan (1931–1998) had a distinguished career as a professor
of law at the University of Toronto, founding dean of law at the
University of Windsor, MP for Windsor-Walkerville, Minister of External
Affairs, Minister of Justice, and finally, a justice of the Federal
Court of Canada. This book, which was published with the “financial
assistance of the Donner Canadian Foundation, the Court Martial appeal
court, as well as 31 individuals” (including Paul Martin, who wrote
the introduction), provides an inside look at External Affairs between
1980 and 1982—a rather brief period in the Trudeau era (1968–79 and

There are two major sections: general themes (The Olympic boycott, the
East–West divide, arms control and disarmament, a North–South
perspective) and particular themes (constitutional matters, managing
relations with the Americans, Southern Africa, the Pacific Rim, The
Middle East, and the Caribbean, Central America, and Latin America).
Much of the text is disappointingly short of context. For example, at
one point MacGuigan writes, “I had encouraged our new ambassador to
the United States, Allan Gotleib, to pick his own ‘team’ for
Washington, which included the brilliant Jeremy Kinsman.” For the
reader who wants to know who Kinsman was, and why he was so
“brilliant,” the book has no answers. That said, parts of
MacGuigan’s memoirs are fascinating. Especially interesting are his
descriptions of the Trudeau style of governing.


MacGuigan, Mark., “An Inside Look at External Affairs During the Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 3, 2023,