Calling it as he wants to see it: Canada’s ambassador on the 1980 elections

A month before the 1980 Presidential election, Ambassador Peter Towe, who replaced Warren in 1977, betrays a nervousness about the campaign’s progress but believes despite polls giving Republican nominee Reagan an edge over President Carter, the latter’s ’s incumbency, optimism and foreign policy experience will work to his advantage. Towe indicates he would bet “even money [but not too much}” that Carter would be re-elected, which he describes as “an outcome preferable for Canada and the allies.” The facts he offers in making his case were Ottawa’s good access to senior US Carter administration officials sympathetic to Canada, including Vice President Walter Mondale and Secretary of State Edmund Muskie. Conversely the Ambassador warns Ottawa that Reagan’s emphasis on the market would collide with Trudeau’s economic policies concerning foreign investment, the environment and energy, and that he feared that Reagan’s “apparent jingoistic approach to foreign affairs and defence” categorized by calls to scrap SALT II rearmament limitations would bring about new international tensions.

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Ambassador Peter Towe, 6 Oct. 1980, Library and Archives Canada, RG 25, vol. 28307, file 20-1-2-USA pt. 60.

Calling it as he wants to see it: Canada’s ambassador on the 1980 elections