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Marcel Cadieux, Pierre Trudeau, and the Department of External Affairs, 1968-1970

  • Larkin Building, Trinity College 15 Devonshire Place, Room 200 Toronto Canada (map)

The Graham Centre Graduate Student Forum presents:

"Marcel Cadieux, Pierre Trudeau, and the Department of External Affairs, 1968-1970"

Speaker: Brendan Kelly, PhD candidate, Department of History, University of Toronto

Between Marcel Cadieux and Pierre Trudeau there was a history. In 1949, fresh from backpacking around the world and sporting a raffish beard, the future prime minister came to Ottawa hoping for a job. When he expressed an interest in the Department of External Affairs (DEA) however, its personnel officer (Cadieux) vowed to bar his way. Yet almost two decades later, when Trudeau succeeded Lester Pearson as prime minister of Canada, Cadieux, who was now under-secretary of state for external affairs, was thrilled. The challenge from nationalist Quebec and Gaullist France was serious and demanded a commensurate response, one that Trudeau was determined to provide. Unfortunately, Cadieux and Trudeau agreed on little else. This paper explores the DEA's difficult adaptation to the new Trudeau government through the eyes of Cadieux and argues that the essential difference between him and the prime minister was between the consummately professional civil servant who believed in tradition and the brilliant politician who sought to redefine the government in new and startling ways.