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Foreign Policy Reference


Canadian Foreign Policy Handbook
By Mel Himes
Jewel Publications
1996, 481 pp, ISBN 0-920767-11

Reviewed by Greg Roberts

The Canadian Foreign Policy Handbook, by Mel Himes, is a recently published resource for those needing information about Canada's foreign affairs in the post-war period. The Handbook contains a wide range of information on diplomatic representation, international trade, bilateral and multilateral treaties, defence policy, historical federal party positions on international issues, and other aspects of Canadian foreign policy. Although the Handbook contains some information from the early part of the century and after 1990, it can be only be called comprehensive for the years from 1946 to 1990.

Most of the information in this Handbook is extracted from reports published by the federal departments of Foreign Affairs, National Defence, and Statistics Canada, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations. That doesn't make it any less useful - use the Handbook for the synopsis, which is presented clearly and simply, and go to the original source if you need the full details.

If you need to know the site of the G-7 meeting in 1981, or the makeup of the Francophonie, Organization of American States, or NATO, this book will help.

At the end of the book is an original chronology of significant events between 1946 and 1990, which taken together with another section, such as the position of the federal parties on major international issues, could be very useful.

Although flawed by poor designed, and not in-depth enough for doing serious research into the history of Canada's foreign and defence policy, it's a useful and handy resource for the working journalist. Don't buy it because you probably wouldn't use it often enough, but look for it on your resource library's shelves - and if you don't find it there, have them order a copy.

Greg Roberts is Sources Technical Co-ordinator and Editor of
Parliamentary Names & Numbers.

Published in Sources, Number 40.

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