Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Kim Richard Nossal
By actively seeking to act as a peacekeeper, mediator, or any other function necessary to either preserve peace or remove contentious problems between states, Canadian governments in the years since World War II have created the perception that Canada is a helpful fixer in international affairs. Used here as a codeword to describe a state that is actively prepared to find a means of containing or solving international crises, the term helpful fixer best describes the international policies of successive Canadian governments. The crucial role performed by Lester Pearson in ending the Suez Crisis in 1956, following upon numerous other helpful fixer roles, was very important in firmly establishing the perception amongst both Canadian and foreign observers, that the Canadian government actively sought ways of reducing international tensions. The image thus created has served to influence the value judgements of succeeding Canadian governments.
The government of P.E. Trudeau has been unwilling to abandon the helpful fixer traditions established by its predecessors. In Foreign Policy for Canadians the Trudeau government attempted to warn Canadians that there would probably be few opportunities for peacekeeping in the 1970's, and that Canadians might not always be acceptable in such roles. However, as the 1970's unfolded it became obvious that the Canadian government not only supported the principle of peacekeeping, but was also concerned about protecting its image as an international helpful fixer. Indeed the positions adopted by the Trudeau government towards peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, Vietnam, the Middle East, and southern Africa support this contention. The image created by Pearson has persisted, and appears to have shaped the Canadian government's value judgement in the 1970's.
Brown, Gregory Paul, "Canadian Peacekeeping During the Trudeau Years: A Continuation of the "Helpful Fixer" Tradition" (1981). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5055.
McMaster University Library