Sport and Canadian Anti-Apartheid Policy: a political and diplomatic history c.1968 - c.1980
In the 1970s the Canadian government took a strong stand against apartheid sport policies. Despite Canada’s limited sporting links with South Africa, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and his Liberal government took on a leading Commonwealth position in promoting the isolation of South African sport. The catalyst for this leadership was Canada as host of two ‘mega’ sporting events during the 1970s - the 1976 Montréal Olympics and the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games. This thesis focuses on the progression and adoption of new policies and initiatives which looked to strengthen Canada’s foreign policies dealing with apartheid sport while promoting these initiatives within the Commonwealth. Canada, a senior member of the association, had proved itself to be a key ally of newly independent Commonwealth nations throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. These nations looked to Canada for guidance. Along with taking on a stronger Commonwealth position during the Trudeau era, Canada also looked to increase its international presence by focusing less on its traditional ties with the United States and more on forging relationships with a variety of newer nations. As Canada looked outside its borders to assert itself, within the country regionalism was on the rise with the advent of Québec separatism. All these factors played a major role in the development of Canadian foreign policy during the 1970s. This thesis focuses on the balance between internal and external pressures for change and how changes unfolded in light of Canada holding two mega sporting events in quick progression. From 1968 to 1980, Trudeau dominated Canadian politics. An engaging figure, he came to power promoting his notion of a ‘Just Society’ and looking to expand Canada’s international prestige. Newly opened archives of the External Affairs Department at the Library and Archives Canada show that Trudeau played a key role in the development of Canada’s new policies, especially during the period of 1975 to 1978. The wide range of primary sources consulted, many recently opened through Access to Information and Privacy requests, alongside a variety of sources from voluntary associations, analysed in this thesis provide a fulsome, chronological narrative of how Canada moved to the forefront of the Commonwealth and the association’s movement to isolate South African apartheid sport.
- PhD