Getting Ready for Reagan’s “Sharper Edge”

Nearly three weeks after Towe’s tepid optimism about Carters’ re-election, Mark McGuigan, the largely pro-US External Affairs Minister Trudeau appointed after returning to power in March 1980, offers a more circumspect tone and advises the Prime Minister of the need to be ready for a possible Reagan victory. Along with the warnings about the market orientation of Reagan’s policies and their possible impact on Canada, he argues Reagan would likely look at Canada-US issues purely based on domestic considerations, and that he would likely be less likely to consult allies in foreign policy decisions. The objective of Reagan’s proposed North American Accord was greater US access to Canadian and Mexican natural resources. McGuigan concludes by cautioning Trudeau that a Reagan win would bring “a sharper edge” to Canada-US relations.

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Mark McGuigan, 23 Oct. 1980, Library and Archives Canada, RG 25, vol. 28307, file 20-1-2-USA pt. 60.