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Canadian Govt. & Politics: International Relations — Primary Sources

International Relations: Selected Primary Sources and their Finding Aids

The following are selected key primary sources and examples of the kinds of primary sources available for the study of Canada's international relations. They supplement the general sources listed in the main parts of this guide.

What Was Said: (Quotations, speeches, interviews, hearings, in Parliament, etc.)

Canadian Foreign Policy, 1945-2000: Major Documents and Speeches. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Ottawa: Golden Dog Press, 2000. 262 p.

A key compilation of reprinted statements and speeches highlighting Canada's policies in international relations, organized by topic: (United Nations, security and peace, relations with the U.S., Far East, international economic and trade policy, north-south issues, environment, immigration/refugees, and the provinces and foreign policy) with each section introduced and put in context. Note: This volume complements the 4-volume "Selected Speeches and Documents" series launched by the Carleton University Press:
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1945-1954: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by R. A Mackay. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1971. 407 p.
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1955-1965: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977. 424 p.
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1966-1976: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Agincourt, ON: Gage, 1980. 366 p.
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1955-1965: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1994. 168 p.

Statements and Speeches. Global Affairs Canada. Print: 1946 - . Digitized collection 1946-1961 is available in the Global Affairs Canada Digital Library: Online: Search the news site for recent years:  and Archived news: 2002-2014:

A key resource in the field of Canadian international relations, this collection of numbered statements and speeches, usually made by the Foreign Affairs Minister, is a valuable source of primary research material. The set pulls together remarks, statements, speeches, etc. made at many occasions and in many venues including the United Nations General Assembly, which often contain policy statements difficult to find or not made elsewhere.
Print index: Statements and Speeches: Index to Speakers, 1946-1981. By Estelle Brûlé. Ottawa: Dept. of External Affairs, 1981. 71 p.

Canadian-American Summit Diplomacy, 1923-1973: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed by Roger Swanson. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1975. 314 p.

A collection of information mostly from official sources on the 61 summit meetings between the Canadian Prime Minister and U.S. President.

Canadian Defence Policy: Selected Speeches and Documents, 1964-1981. Ed. by Larry Stewart. Kingston, ON: Centre for International Relations, Queen's University, 1982. 336 p.

A collection of core documents related to Canadian defence policy, organized into four main sections: 1: Canada and NATO, 2: Continental Defence, 3: Peacekeeping, 4: Arms Control and Disarmament. Each section is prefaced with useful editorial comments for background information.

Human Rights and Canadian Foreign Policy: Selected Statements and Speeches. Ottawa: External Affairs Canada, 1988. 176 p.

A compilation of public declarations on human rights made by Ministers and senior public servants between 1977 and 1986.

O.D. Skelton Memorial Lecture Series. Sponsored by Global Affairs Canada.

This annual public lecture series is intended to provide a scholarly examination of Canada’s international relations by distinguished speakers. The text of past lectures is available here from 1991 on. Speakers include Chrystia Freeland, Louise Arbour, Mitchell Sharp, Maurice Strong, Michael Ignatieff, etc.

Canadian Contemporary Issues on Tape. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Dept. of External Affairs.

These are a series of interviews on cassette tape, generally 1 hour long with two 30-minute interviews, most with Robert Redford interviewing. For example:
Canadian Foreign Policy, an Overview with Vernon Turner and Canada and the European Economic Community with Marcel Cadieux. 1979.
Canada and Eastern Europe with J. H. Taylor and Canada-Communist Bloc Relations with Thomas Delworth, 1979.
Canada-U.N. Relations with W.H. Barton, 1977.
Canada and China with William Saywell, 1974
Canada-U.S. Relations, 1976
Canada-Commonwealth Relations with Arnold Smith, 1977
Diplomacy and Foreign Aid with Arthur Andrew and John Holmes, 1974
IDRC, A Model for Third World Aid with Ivan Head and The Development Process: A Third World Perspective with Rex Nettleford, 1979
Canada's Foreign Relations, 1945-mid 1970's with Denis Stairs, interviewed by Gerald Wright, 1975.

Parliamentary Debates, Committee Meeting Transcripts.

The House of Commons and Senate websites can be searched by keyword, and searches can be limited to the Debates (Hansard) or committee meeting  transcripts (Evidence). The House of Commons and Senate each have a "Committees" page listing the committees. Each committee has a separate page with access to their meeting transcripts for recent years. For previous years, use the print Index to the Debates (see the main part of this guide: Selected Primary Sources for details) to find the discussions related to Canada's foreign policy and other aspects of international relations.

Speeches and Statements by all other federal and provincial Ministers responsible for international policy (defence, trade, aid, etc.)

Search library catalogues for years predating the material available on their websites or See International Relations - Finding & Evaluating - Government Information for links to key government websites.

Statements made by Representatives of Canada at the General Debates of the United Nations General Assembly. UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library. 1946 to present.


See also Recorded Images for interviews and speeches on film and video.

What Was Written:

Political Party Publications | Government Publications| Law and Court Reports

Political Party Publications: (Campaign literature, special collections, etc.)

Every political party with nation-wide aspirations has to consider foreign policy issues. There may be political party policy statements reported in the media, especially during election campaigns, speeches and remarks recorded in Parliament, or a political party's dissenting opinions published in Parliamentary committee reports. The most obvious place to find a political party's foreign policy is in its election platform. See POLTEXT for a digital collection of platforms from previous elections. Some examples:

Real Change: A New Plan for a Strong Middle Class. Ottawa: Liberal Party of Canada, 2015. 88 p.
Chapter 5: "Security and Opportunity" covers international relations, trade, and immigration.

Vision Green - Part 5: The Planet Needs Canada (and Vice Versa). Ottawa: Green Party of Canada. Oct. 15, 2007. 106 p.
Part 5 of the Green Party's 106-page platform covers the Green Party's policies on international relations.

Some parties have created foreign policy task forces or committees to consider the issues and formulate a strategy. To find any documents they may have produced, search party websites for the most recent information and library catalogues for current and earlier versions. Some examples of political party publications on foreign policy issues:

Canada and the Millennium: A New Look at Foreign Policy: Statement from the Official Opposition. By Bob Mills. Reform Party of Canada, 1999. 83 p.
Canadian Sovereignty, Security and Defence: A New Democratic Response to the Defence White Paper. By Derek Blackburn. Ottawa: NDP, 1987. 26 p.
Foreign Policy Handbook. By the Liberal Caucus Committee on External Affairs and National Defence under the direction of Lloyd Axworthy & Christine Stewart. Ottawa: House of Commons, Office of the Leader of the Opposition, 1993. 15,16 p. (in English and French)
The Liberal Party's Trade Policy: Third Report of the National Liberal Caucus Task Force on Trade. Ottawa: Liberal Party of Canada, 1988. 15 p.
New Foreign Policy: For Peace and Independence. Communist Party of Canada, 1975. 3 p.
Peace, Security and Justice: Report of the International Affairs Committee: An NDP Discussion Paper. New Democratic Party of Canada, 1981. 29 p.
Progressive Conservative Program for International Trade. Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, 1974.
Quebec, Francophone Nation of the Americas, Embracing the World. Montreal: Bloc québécois, 2003 62 p. (In French, English and Spanish)
The Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI): Interim Report of the Liberal Task Force on Peace, Security and World Disarmament. Ottawa: Liberal Party of Canada, 1985. 13,13 p.


Government Publications: (Royal Commission reports, task force reports, government department and agency reports, policy papers, Parliamentary documents, law and court reports)

Royal Commission Reports | Task Force Reports | Government Department and Agency Reports | Policy Papers | Parliamentary Documents | Law and Court Reports
Royal Commissions, Commissions of Inquiry, and Related Reports:

Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar. Dennis O'Connor, Commissioner.
Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar. 3 vols: Factual Background - Vol. I and Vol. II, and Analysis and Recommendations, 2006.
A New Review Mechanism for the RCMP's National Security Activities. 2006, 630 p.
All reports, hearing transcripts, background material, etc. available on the Commission's website are archived in the Library and Archives Canada Electronic Collection

This commission was called to investigate Canada's involvement in this case of a Canadian citizen tortured in Syria after being handed over to U.S. officials who accused him of being a terrorist, and the surrounding issues of Canada's national security activities, and to recommend an arm's length review mechanism for the activities of the RCMP regarding national security. The 3 vols of the "Report" provide details of what happened and the commission's recommendations. The "New Review Mechanism" volume reviews Canada's national security "landscape" post 9/11, the roles of government departments and agencies involved, with international comparisons, and provides recommendations for a review mechanism.

Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia.
Dishonest Legacy: The Lessons of the Somalia Affair: Report. Ottawa: The Commission, 1997. 5 vols & Executive Summary.
Research studies. Ottawa: The Commission, 10 vols.
Information Legacy: A Compendium of Source Material from the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia. Ottawa: Folio Infobase, 1997. (CD-ROM containing the report, research studies, hearings, transcripts, written submissions, historical documents and evidentiary exhibits)

This comprehensive assessment of the Canadian Forces was undertaken after a Somali civilian was killed and another wounded during a controversial mission in 1993. In the report, based on over 38,000 pages of testimony from over 100 witnesses and analysis of over 150,000 documents, the commission describes and analyses the decisions and events leading up to the mission and the death. 160 recommendations are made on issues relating to how the Canadian Forces operate,their operational readiness, planning, accountability, leadership, rules of engagement, etc.

Royal Commission on Government Organization. J. Grant Glassco, Chair.
Report. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1962-1963. 5 vols. (Vol. 4: Special Areas of Administration)

This Royal Commission examined many areas of the federal government's organization and management. Volume 4 covers the Departments of Defence and External Affairs. Their review of the Department of Defence: "Report 20" exposed significant management problems that had an impact on the functioning of the department and the armed forces.

Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada. Donald S. Macdonald, Commissioner.
Report. Ottawa: The Commission, 1985. 3 vols. (a.k.a. Macdonald Report on Free Trade)

This controversial report is known for recommending Canada negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.S., despite most of the input from public hearings, testimony, research, and dissenting opinions on the Commission.

Royal Commission Reports | Task Force Reports | Government Department and Agency Reports | Policy Papers | Parliamentary Documents | Law and Court Reports

Task Force Reports:

Connecting with the World: Priorities for Canadian Internationalism in the 21st Century: Report. International Development Research and Policy Task Force. Maurice Strong, Chair. Ottawa: The Task Force, 1996. 40,35 p.

Report to the House of Commons on the Relations Between Developed and Developing Countries . Parliamentary Task Force on North-South Relations. Herb Breau, Chair. Hull, Quebec: Supply and Services Canada, 1980. 86,92 p.

Task Force on Review of Unification of the Canadian Forces - Final Report. G. M. Fyffe, Chair. Ottawa: The Task Force, 1980. 106 p.

Toward an International Policy Framework for the 21st Century: Report of the International Policy Framework Task Force. Ottawa: Government of Canada Privy council Office, 2003. 71,81 p.

Royal Commission Reports | Task Force Reports | Government Department and Agency Reports | Policy Papers | Parliamentary Documents | Law and Court Reports

Government Department and Agency Reports:

See the websites for the most recent years of selected publications. For earlier years, search the Government of Canada Publications catalogue, the National Union Catalogue: Voilà, and digital collections of government publications.

Global Affairs Canada Publications (OpenGAC).

Global Affairs Canada is the main Canadian government body responsible for Canada's international policies. Publications accessible through the "Reports" and "Transparency" links on their website lead to the OpenGAC page with links to a variety of selected publications, datasets, and information pages. For example: Departmental Plans, and Departmental Results Reports, Financial Statements, Internal Audit Reports, recent Briefing Notes and Materials for the Minister, Deputy Minister, and ADM, and Question Period Notes for the Minister. On international aid: Statistical Report on International Assistance and related datasets, Project Browser for information on international projects funded by GAC. Other key publications:
Documents on Canadian External Relations. Print: Vol. 1, 1908-18 - Vol. 29, 1962-63 available in depository libraries. Online: Vol. 12, 1946 - 1963. This is described as a "comprehensive record of Canada's major foreign policy decisions and their underlying rationale". 
GAC's Office of the Chief Economist published several documents, including monthly trade statistics, working papers, reports, etc. For example:
Canada's State of Trade. Annual. Print: 2000 - . (An annual review and analysis of Canada's international trade and investment performance.) Online: and archived:
2019 -  present:
Trade Policy Research. Annual. 2001 - 2011? . (The essays and articles in this annual publication described the results of some of the major trade-related research and analysis undertaken by and on behalf of the department each year.)
Other trade-related information: Trade Policy in Focus, market reports, international trade negotiations and agreements,  etc.
The GAC Jules Léger Library Catalogue is available online and the library provides research service to the public. Libraries and the Government of Canada Publications site: can also be searched for print and digitized GAC publications.

Canada Border Services Agency Publications.

Publications include the legislation, regulations, policies and procedures followed by the agency, Customs Notices on changes to programs and procedures, departmental reports, guides and brochures.

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Publications. 1968-2013.

CIDA was Canada's main agency responsible for development assistance. Archived publications can be found using the Government of Canada Publications Catalogue.
Some examples:
Canada's Action Plan on Child Protection: Promoting the Rights of Children who Need Special Protection Measures. Ottawa: CIDA, 2001. 46 p.
Gender Equality - Policy and Tools: CIDA's Policy on Gender Equality. 2010. 16 p.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Publications.

Canada's official intelligence gathering and analysis agency, advises government of threats to national security. Information on their website includes several years of the annual Public Report, and recent Minister's transition and  briefing material. There are also commissioned papers and reports from workshops and conferences from their academic outreach program. Examples:
Rethinking Security: China and the Age of Strategic Rivalry: Highlights from an Academic Outreach Workshop. 2018 163 p.
Who Said What?:The Security Challenges of Modern Disinformation. 2018. 118 p.

Defence Research and Development Canada. Research Reports.

This is a database of research articles and reports produced by the DRDC since 1947. DRDC is an agency of the Department of Defence with a mandate to perform research, development and analysis to support the operations of the department and the Armed Forces. Examples of reports:
China in the Arctic: Implications of China's Arrival in an Ice-Free Arctic. K. D. Christensen, 2011. 130 p.
Typhon's Song: Examining Russia's Employment of COVID-19 Disinformation to Generate Disruptive Effects. Matthew A. Lauder, 2020. 23 p.

Export Development Canada (EDC). 1944 - .

A Crown corporation and export credit agency, EDC's mandate is to develop and support trade between Canada and other countries. The website includes country risk assessments and exporting advice as well as recent years of their annual reports, financial reports, corporate plans, and CSR reports. It also has a link to its subsidiary Crown corporation FinDev Canada, created in 2018 to provide financial assistance to private businesses in developing countries.

International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library.

IDRC is a Canadian Crown corporation established in 1970, that conducts and funds research on development issues. They have a large library of books and other research publications available in print and online. For example:
Canada and Missions for Peace: Lessons from Nicaragua, Cambodia and Somalia. Ed. by Gregory Wirick and Robert Miller. Ottawa: IDRC, 1998. 143 p.
The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Ottawa: IDRC, 2001. 91 p.
Strategy 2030: A More Sustainable and Inclusive World. 2020. 22 p.

Department of National Defence Publications.

DND is responsible for the Canadian Forces and all matters relating to national defence. The above link provides access to a subset of reports including annual departmental plans and results reports, audits and evaluations, financial reports, Boards of Inquiry reports, the Canadian Military Journal and others, equipment reviews and updates, and Ministerial transition binders which include details on Canadian Armed Forces operations and activities, and the Defence 101 Transition Binder with links to the Defence Policy, budget, and defence-related platform commitments, organization chart, key advisors, and more. Other publications can only be found by keyworld searching the site or following links. For example, the Military Operations page links to information on current and past operations since 1945.

Archival records, published and unpublished records of the federal departments involved in international relations can be found at the Library and Archives Canada.

Provincial / Territorial Equivalents. Quebec has a Ministry of International Relations, and all provinces and territories have a Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs which deals with some international relations, mostly trade related. See International Relations - Finding & Evaluating - Government Information for links to their websites. Some sample publications:
Quebec Ministère des relations internationales:

Énoncé de politique de relations internationales : Le Québec dans le monde, le défi de l'interdépendence. 1985, 204 p.
Guide de la pratique des relations internationales du Québec. By François LeDuc and Marcel Cloutier. 2000, 364 p.
Playing a Role in Building a More Secure World, or, The Security Challenge Facing Quebec. By Anne Bernard. 2006, 32 p.
Quebec and Interdependence: Global Horizons: Elements of an International Affairs Policy. 1991, 212 p.
Quebec's International Policy: Working in Concert. 2006. 113 p.

Other Provinces:

Alberta's Special Relations in Asia - A Review. Edmonton: Alberta Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs, International Division, 1987, 37 p.
Prospering in a Global Community: New Brunswick's International Strategy. Fredericton: Government of New Brunswick, 2003. 26 p.

Royal Commission Reports | Task Force Reports | Government Department and Agency Reports | Policy Papers | Parliamentary Documents | Law and Court Reports

Policy Papers: (Note: Policy statements can appear in government press releases, speeches, and various kinds of documents.)

Canadian Foreign Policy, 1945-2000: Major Documents and Speeches. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Ottawa: Golden Dog Press, 2000. 262 p. A key compilation of reprinted statements and speeches highlighting Canada's policies in international relations, organized by topic: (United Nations, security and peace, relations with the US, Far East, international economic and trade policy, north-south issues, environment, immigration/refugees, and the provinces and foreign policy) with each section introduced and put in context. Note: This volume complements the 4-volume "Selected Speeeches and Documents" series launched by the Carleton University Press:
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1945-1954: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by R. A Mackay. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1971. 407 p.
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1955-1965: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977. 424 p.
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1966-1976: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Agincourt, ON: Gage, 1980. 366 p.
Canadian Foreign Policy, 1955-1965: Selected Speeches and Documents. Ed. by Arthur Blanchette. Ottawa: Carleton Univ. Press, 1994. 168 p.

Documents on Canadian External Relations. Print: Vol. 1, 1908-1918 - Vol. 29, 1962-63 available in depository libraries. Online: Vol. 12, 1946 - 1963: A key primary source for researchers, this series compiles the full text of important departmental publications on Canada's major foreign policy decisions and actions.

Statements and Speeches. Global Affairs Canada. (See under "What was Said" tab.)

Selected Policy Documents:

Foreign Policy:

The Foundations of Canadian Policy in World Affairs. By Louis St. Laurent. Duncan & John Gray Memorial Lecture. Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 1947. 45 p.
Foreign Policy for Canadians. Dept. of External Affairs. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1970. 6 vols.
Canada in the World: Government Statement. Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Ottawa: Government of Canada, 1995. 51 p. (Also known as "White Paper on Foreign Policy".)
Freedom From Fear: Canada's Foreign Policy for Human Security. Ottawa, DFAIT, 2002. 16, 16 p. (2nd ed.)
Canada's International Policy Statement: A Role of Pride and Influence in the World. Ottawa: Government of Canada, 2005, 5 vols: "Overview", "Diplomacy", "Defence", "Development", "Commerce", by Dept. of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, CIDA, and National Defence.

Foreign Aid Policy

Environment and Development: The Policy of the Canadian International Development Agency. Hull, Quebec: CIDA, 1987. 18,19 p.
Sharing Our Future: Canadian International Development Assistance. Hull, Quebec: CIDA, 1987. 95,97 p.

Canada Making a Difference in the World: A Policy Statement on Strengthening Aid Effectiveness. Hull, Quebec: CIDA, 2002. 32,33 p.
Canada's International Policy Statement: A Role of Pride and Influence in the World: Development. Ottawa: Government of Canada, 2005, 31,37 p.
Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy. Ottawa: Global Affairs Canada, 2018. 77 p.

Defence Policy

Canada's Defence: Information on Canada's Defence Achievements and Organization. Ottawa: National Defence, 1947. 41 p.
White Paper on Defence. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1964. 30 p.
Defence in the Seventies: White Paper on Defence. Ottawa: National Defence, 1971. 50 p.
Challenge and Commitment: A Defence Policy for Canada: White Paper on Defence. Ottawa: National Defence, 1987. 89 p.
Canadian Defence Policy. Ottawa: Dept. of National Defence, 1992. 38, 44 p.
1994 Defence White Paper. Ottawa: Dept. of National Defence, 1994. 50,55 p.
Canada's International Policy Statement: A Role of Pride and Influence in the World. Defence. Ottawa: Government of Canada, 2005. 32,36 p.
Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's Defence Policy. Ottawa: National Defence, 2017. 113 p.

Many of the above documents, and others, are archived in the Defence Policy Archives. Some are reprinted with context and analysis, in Canada's National Defence. Ed. by Douglas Bland. Kingston, ON: School of Policy Studies, Queen's University, 1997-1998. 2 vols. (Vol 1: Defence Policy)

National Security Policy

Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy. Ottawa: Privy Council Office, 2004, 52,59 p.

Trade Policy

Trade Policy 101. Global Affairs Canada web page. Last modified date: 2020.08.05.


Royal Commission Reports | Task Force Reports | Government Department and Agency Reports | Policy Papers | Parliamentary Documents | Law and Court Reports

Parliamentary Documents:

Committee Reports: Standing parliamentary committees exist on important topics of ongoing concern such as the environment, immigration, etc. They are independent of the related ministries and include members of both the governing party and others. Their studies and reports can be very useful research material.

There have been several standing committees in both the House of Commons and Senate concerned with international relations-related issues. Committee websites on the Parliamentary Internet site include information on the committee, its members, meeting schedule, contact information, its studies, reports, news releases, a list of the witnesses who appeared before the committee, and the transcripts of the meetings, called "Evidence". You can also sign up for email notification of any new committee information to appear on the site.

Key International Relations-related House of Commons and Senate Standing Committees and Sample Reports:

House of Commons:

Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs & International Development. 
Previous names:
1994: Stdg Cttee on Foreign Affairs & International Trade
1986: Stdg Cttee on External Affairs & International Trade
1968: Stdg Cttee on External Affairs & National Defence
1945: Stdg Cttee on External Affairs
For more details see the Committee History.
For Whose Benefit?: Canada's Official Development Assistance Policies and Programs. William Wineguard, Chair, 1987. 167,185 p.
Partners with the United States: Advancing Canada's Relations with the United States and Mexico. Bernard Patry, Chair, 2002. 340 p.
Renewing Canada's Role in International Support for Democratic Development. Michael Levitt, Chair, 2019. 47 p.

Standing Committee on International Trade. Formed in 2006. Previously international trade issues were considered by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs & International Affairs.
Ten Steps to a Better Trade Policy. Leon Benoit, Chair, 2007. 55, 59 p.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Benefits and Challenges for Canadians. Mark Eyking, Chair. 2017. 113 p.

Standing Committee on National Defence. Established in 1986. Before then defence policy was considered by the Standing Cttee on External Affairs & National Defence. For more details see Committee History.
Canada's Role in International Peace Operations and Conflict Resolution. Stephen Fuhr, Chair. 2019. 133 p.
Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Rick Casson, Chair, 2007. 160, 173 p.


Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  Previous names: 1938: Committee on External Relations, then Committee on International Relations, then Committee on Foreign Affairs until 2005.
Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada's Foreign Policy. A. Raynell Andreychuk, Chair, 2019. 102 p.
Overcoming 40 Years of Failure: A New Road Map for Sub-Saharan Africa. Hugh Segal and Peter Stollery, Chairs, 2007. 189 p.
The New NATO and the Evolution of Peacekeeping: Implications for Canada. Peter Stollery and Raynell Andreychuk, Chairs, 2000. 97, 90 p.
Canada-United States Relations. George Van Roggen, Chair, 3 vols (vol. 1: The Institutional Framework for the Relationship, 1975, 89 p., vol. 2: Canada's Trade Relations with the United States, 1978, 158 p., vol. 3: Canada's Trade Relations with the United States, 1982, 155 p.)

Standing Committee on National Security and Defence.  Formed in 1992 from previous special and subcommittees.
Canadian Troops in Afghanistan: Taking a Hard Look at a Hard Mission: An Interim Report. Colin Kenny and Michael Meighen, Chairs, 2007. 45 p.
Managing Turmoil: The Need to Upgrade Canadian Foreign Aid and Military Strength to Deal with Massive Change: An Interim Report. Colin Kenny and Michael Meighen, Chairs, 2006. 314 p.
UN Deployment: Prioritizing Commitments at Home and Abroad. Daniel Lang, Chair. 2016. 83 p.

Standing Committee on Human Rights.  Deals with human rights generally, but issues often have international aspects.
Enhancing Canada's Role in the OAS: Canadian Adherence to the American Convention on Human Rights. Shirley Maheu, Chair, 2003. 82, 83 p.
Promises to Keep: Implementing Canada's Human Rights Obligations. Raynell Andreychuk and Sheila Finestone, Chairs, 2001. 59, 63 p.
Promoting Human Rights: Canada's Approach to its Export Sector. Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard, Chair, 2018. 54 p.

Joint House and Senate, Special Committees, and Subcommittees can be created at any time to examine specific issues. For example:

Special Committee of the Senate on National Defence.
Canada's Land Forces. Henry Hicks, Chair, 1989. 141 p.

Special House of Commons Committee on the Review of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Security Offences Act.
In Flux but not in Crisis. Blaine Thacker, Chair, 1990. 229, 234 p.

Special House of Commons Committee on Canada-China Relations. 
The Breach of Hong Kong's High Degree of Autonomy: A Situation of International Concern. Geoff Regan, Chair. Feb. 2021. 53 p.

Special Joint Committee on Canada's International Relations.
Independence and Internationalism. Jean-Maurice Simard and Tom Hockin, Chairs. 1986. 196, 210 p.

Special Joint Committee on Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy.
Canada's Foreign Policy: Principles and Priorities for the Future: The Position Papers. Alan MacEachen and Jean Gauthier, Chairs. 1994. 118 p.

Special Joint Committee on Canada's Defence Policy.
Security in a Changing World. Pierre de Bané and William Rompkey, Chairs, 1994. 2 vols.

Subcommittee on the Review of the Anti-terrorism Act, H. of C. Stdg Cttee on Public Safety & National Security.
Rights, Limits, Security: A Comprehensive Review of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Related issues. Gord Brown, Chair. 2007. 137 p.

Subcommittee International Human Rights, H. of C. Stdg Cttee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
Race to the Top: Improving Canada's Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy to Safeguard Human Rights in Latin America. Anita Vendenbeld, Chair. 2019. 51 p.

Subcommittee on International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investment, H. of C. Stdg Cttee on Foreign Affairs & International Trade.
Canada and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Bob Speller, Chair, 1997. 80 p.

Check the House of Commons and Senate Journals and Debates Indexes for the time period relevant to your research to see if any other parliamentary committees examined international relations issues at that time. The proceedings of committee meetings may also provide valuable research material.

See Primary Sources - What was Written -- Government Publications in the main part of this guide for more tips on finding committee reports.

NOTE: Advocacy groups, individuals and government bodies can submit briefs to committees informing them of the impact of proposed legislation or commenting on the issue under study. These may be found as part of the committee Evidence, on the group's or committee's website, or in library catalogues by authoring body.

Other Parliamentary Documents: Use Finding & Evaluating Government Information and Selected Primary Sources in the main part of this guide to see how to search the Debates, Parliamentary Journals, etc. for bills, questions asked in Parliament, etc.

Royal Commission Reports | Task Force Reports | Government Department and Agency Reports | Policy Papers | Parliamentary Documents | Law and Court Reports

Law & Legislation and Court Reports:

Current major acts and regulations dealing with Canada's international relations, defence, national security, foreign aid, etc. are available at the Justice Canada site at browsable by title or searchable by keyword. (See the main guide:  Primary Sources - What was Written - Government - Law & Legislation for how to find earlier versions.) Collections of current, related laws and legislation may also be available at the government sites most directly involved. For example:

Global Affairs Canada.

List of Acts and Regulations.

Canadian Sanctions.
Links to current and repealed sanctions imposed by Canada, related legislation, and Canadian and UN sanctions lists.

Trade Negotiations and Agreements.
This section links to a Database of all Trade Agreements searchable by country, type and status, and to related information on Canada's export and import controls, dispute settlements, assessments, etc.

Searchable database of all the treaties in which Canada is involved (search by keyword in text or subject), providing treaty title, dates in force, ratified and signed, parties involved and reference numbers.
Full text of the treaties that have come into force for Canada are available from the: Canada Treaty Series. Annual. 1856 - . (Print versions ended in 2014.)
Print indexes: Canada Treaty Series Index. Annual with occasional cumulations: 1928-1964, 1965-1974.
Canadian Treaty Calendar. By Christian Wiktor. London: Oceana Publications, 1982. 2 vols (v. 1: chronological and numerical index, v. 2: bilateral and multilateral treaty indexes and subject index.)
Index to Canadian Treaties 1979-2003. By Christian Wiktor. Halifax: Dalhousie Law School, 2003. 393 p. Both indexes provide the Canada Treaty Series number and date.

Department of National Defence.

Legislation and National Defence.
Provides brief descriptions of the laws relevant to the DND.

Selected additional titles:
Collection of Documents on the Law of Armed Conflict. Ed. by the Directorate of Law Training. Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2005. 378 p. Updated regularly.
International Human Rights Law - Collection of Documents. Ed. by the Directorate of Law Training. Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2007. 422 p. Updated regularly.
Law of Armed Conflict at the Operational and Tactical Levels: Joint Doctrine Manual. (aka "Law of Armed Conflict Manual"). Ed. by the Directorate of Law/Training. Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 2004. 246 p. 

Canadian Heritage. Human Rights Treaties.

Links to human rights treaties, conventions, and covenants to which Canada is a party, and related international laws, and review documents.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

The main administrative body responsible for investigations of unfair trade practices. Some types of decisions are available online from 1996 on.

Environment and Climate Change Canada. International Affairs and the Environment.

This page has information on Canada's international actions on key environmental issues, its international environmental partnerships, and participation in international environmental agreements. (Note: Many of these are not legally binding.)
Compendium of Canada's Engagement in International Environmental Agreements and Instruments.  Periodically updated. Last update: Winter 2020 (9th update) summarizes Canada’s current engagement in 116 international environmental agreements / instruments.

CUSMA Secretariat, Canadian Section. (Formerly NAFTA Secretariat, Canadian Section.)

An independent agency responsible for administering the dispute settlement provisions of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)/United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, coming into force July 1, 2020. The text of the agreement is here, details on the dispute settlement process, and CUSFTA, NAFTA, and the Agreement's panel reviews, decisions, and reports.

Quebec's International Agreements. Ministère des relations internationales.

The site provides a database of the over 500  international agreements, non-binding agreements, multilateral conventions and Canadian accords entered into by the province of Quebec from 1964 to the present. Searchable by party (country, international organization, etc.), type, sector, status, and date signed.

Other International Organizations & Agreements: Canada's economic policy and trade is heavily influenced by the world economy and international trade agreements. These can be important sources for understanding Canada's policies. Some of the major ones Canada has been involved with since WWII:

GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). 1947-1994. A multilateral treaty to liberalize world trade. Its panel rulings have been incorporated into regional agreements such as NAFTA. GATT Electronic Archive:  (Includes a link to the less complete GATT Digital Library, 1947-1994). By the Stanford University Libraries and WTO. Both provide access to thousands of digitized GATT documents.
G7, G8, G20. 1975 - . Annual meetings of the heads of state or government of the major industrial democracies to attempt to co-operate on global economic and politics issues. For documents and information see: G7 Information Centre: and G20 Information Centre By the G7 Research Group, a global network of scholars and others who follow the work of the G7, G8 and related institutions. 
IMF (International Monetary Fund). 1945 - . Promotes international monetary co-operation.
OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). 1961 - . It's purpose is to co-ordinate economic and social policies among its members, the industrialized democracies. Details and publications: (OECD was responsible for the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) negotiated from 1995 and abandoned in 1998.)
World Bank Group. 1945 - . The World Bank Group of organizations provide development assistance. World Bank Publications: For details on Canada's involvement see: Canada and the World Bank Group by Global Affairs Canada.
WTO (World Trade Organization). 1995 - . The WTO Agreements are the rules of trade agreed to by most of the world's trading countries. For the legal texts and other official WTO documents see Documents and Resources:

Personal Papers:


Bartleman, James K. On Six Continents: A Life in Canada's Foreign Service, 1966-2002. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2004. 253 p.

___ . Rollercoaster: My Hectic Years as Jean Chretien's Diplomatic Advisor, 1994-1998. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2005. 358 p.

Browne, J. C. Gordon. Blazes Along a Diplomatic Trail: A Memoir of Four Posts in the Canadian Foreign Service. Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2000. 319 p.

Gotlieb, Allan. The Washington Diaries, 1981-1989. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2006. 649 p.

MacGuigan, Mark. An Inside Look at External Affairs During the Trudeau Years: The Memoirs of Mark MacGuigan. Ed. by P. Whitney Lackenbauer. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002. 208 p.

Pearson, Lester B. Mike: The Memoirs of the Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson. 3 vols. (vol. 1: 1897-1948, vol. 2: "The International Years", 1948-1957, vol. 3: 1957-1968.) Vol. 3 ed. by John Munro and Alex Inglis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972-1975.

Reid, Escott. Radical Mandarin: The Memoirs of Escott Reid. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989. 405 p.

Ritchie, Charles. Undiplomatic Diaries. Toronto: Emblem/McClelland & Stewart, 2008. 591 p.

Sharp, Mitchell. Which Reminds me: A Memoir. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995. 228 p.



Papers of Arthur Andrew. Library and Archives Canada. (Contains correspondence, subject files, writings, etc. from his career in the army and foreign service. Period covered: 1943-1982.)

Lester B. Pearson Fonds. Library and Archives Canada. (Includes official and personal papers covering Pearson's diplomatic and political career, with "extensive documentation on Canada's foreign policy and involvement in international affairs". Includes photos, taped interviews, a comprehensive set of his speeches, etc.)

Arnold Cantwell Smith Fonds. Library and Archives Canada. (Includes diaries, speeches, correspondence, taped interviews, audio, video and film reels, etc. from his 10-year term as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and his career in the Dept. of External Affairs. Period covered: 1932-1991.)

Use the Library and Archives Canada Collection Search page to see the descriptions of these and other unpublished collections. See also the other archival finding aids listed in the main guide.

Recorded Images (Selected films and video footage, photographs, cartoons):

Film, video footage:

At Loggerheads: The Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Dispute. CBC Archives. 8 TV clips, 4 radio clips.

These clips show aspects of a trade dispute, ongoing since the 1980's, revealing a lot about Canada-U.S. relations.

Challenge and Commitment: A Defence Policy for Canada. Highlights of the White Paper by the Minister of National Defence. Ottawa: Director General Information, National Defence Headquarters, 1987. 1 videocassette (15 min.).

The Minister of Defence, Perrin Beatty discusses the recommendations for a future defence policy as described in the White Paper on National Defence. Video also includes footage of Canadian armed forces in training.

Embassy. Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 1956. 1 videocassette (30 min.).

A first-hand look at the work of an ambassador and the staff of the Canadian Embassy in Holland.

National Defence Video Gallery.

A collection of short videos searchable by name or category.

One For All: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. CBC Archives. 6 TV clips, 5 radio clips.

Clips show Canada's role in the alliance from founding member during the Cold War to the present.

Peacekeepers and Peacemakers: Canada's Diplomatic Contribution. CBC Archives. 9 TV clips, 6 radio clips.

These clips show how Canada earned its reputation for diplomacy from drafting the Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 to the "Canadian Compromise" in Iraq in 2003.

Skeptic's Journey. Toronto: Prisma Light Ltd., 1996. 1 videocassette (45 min.)

A documentary about foreign aid showing four average Canadians travelling to India and Nepal to see first hand how Canadian sponsored aid projects are working.


Photographs and Cartoons:

Canadian Forces Image Gallery. National Defence.

A database of thousands of photographs and video clips searchable by category, country, date and keyword.

The Carnivalization of Politics: Quebec Cartoons on Relations with Canada, England and France, 1960-1979. By Raymond Morris. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995. 148 p.


See Primary Sources - Recorded Images in the main part of this guide for tips on finding more photos, political cartoons, films, etc.

What Is Happening Now (in political parties and government, contacting people, getting involved):

Besides all of the more general sources to keep up to date with political party and government information, to find contact information and to get involved (covered in the main part of this guide), the following are selected sources specific to Canadian international relations, organized by whether they are created by a political party, a government body or advocacy groups and others:

Political Parties:

Each of the major political parties will make some mention of international relations related issues during election campaigns. General party policy documents may also contain a few lines. The opposition party critics for Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Security, International Development, Trade, etc. should be especially active in providing their party's views, either in blogs, the party website, or other media. (Note: The Library of Parliament ParlInfo website provides a list of current and past Opposition Party Critics: Departments and Roles: 1867 - Today.)


Each government department's and agency's budget and planning documents, and audit reports allow Members of Parliament and the public to see what the government is doing and whether it is working as well as it should. Occasional audits by the Auditor General are also very useful. These documents are accessible to the public (on the websites of each department and agency) to enhance accountability, but do nothing if no one reads them. Read, ask questions, get involved...

Links to selected relevant government websites are in Primary Sources -- What Was Written.

The design and content of federal government websites changes fairly frequently, but there is usually a "What's New" section for current issues. Some have a newsletter that you can subscribe to and receive by email, and other ways to stay informed using social media, RSS feeds, etc. Contact information is always given. Details on how you can get special internship programs, granting opportunities, or employment opportunities may also be provided. A link to any public consultations involving the department should also be included at each site. Global Affairs Canada has had fairly frequent public consultations since 1999 on trade issues, and even earlier (and in 2003), on foreign policy issues (earlier ones through the former Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development). Current public consultations can also be found by searching the Consulting with Canadians database.

Federal Government News. Government of Canada.

This section of the Government of Canada website provides access to RSS news feeds, news releases, media advisories, readouts, etc. by organization, region or audience, minister, topic, etc. You can sign up to receive these by RSS news feed or Twitter. (For email distribution lists, see the relevant department website).

Getting Involved in International Development. Global Affairs Canada.

This GAC web page provides information on several ways to get involved, with links to organizations that provide government-funded volunteer, consulting, and employment opportunities.

Advocacy Groups, etc.:

See the websites of the Research Organizations listed in International Relations — Finding & Evaluating Substantive Information to learn about the issues, and to find links to other organizations of interest. The following are some of the Canadian advocacy groups working in various areas of international relations that welcome others to get involved:

Cooperation Canada (Formerly Canadian Council for International Co-operation).

Established in 1968, this is a coalition of Canadian voluntary sector organizations working in the international development and humanitarian sectors. The "Policy Analysis" section has the latest responses to government announcements and policies. See also "News and Updates". Resources include podcasts, a newsletter and other publications, and the "Take Action" tab links to campaigns and events organized by member organizations.

The Council of Canadians.

Since it was established in 1985 by a group of prominent Canadians, the Council of Canadians has been fighting for fair trade "that puts people and the planet first".  Open, democratic trade negotiations remains a current campaign focus, among others. They provide commentary and analysis of current trade issues, information and encouragement for activism including letter-writing/email campaigns, organizing and advocacy campaign guides, checklists and toolkits, and through local chapters across the country.

Project Ploughshares.

This is a non-profit peace research institute of the Canadian Council of Churches established in 1976. It focuses on disarmament and international security. They publish analysis and commentary on Canadian defence and security policy, the arms trade, NATO nuclear policy, space security, and emerging military and security technologies. Their quarterly journal  Ploughshares Monitor is available online from 2008. They organize events, discussions, and presentations every year, with podcasts and videos available on their website. You can subscribe to their e-newsletter or news alerts. They offer internships and other ways to get involved.

United Nations Association of Canada.

A national, nonprofit charitable organization, UNA-Canada promotes United Nations programs and activities in Canada and offers the public opportunities to become engaged in the work of the United Nations and in global issues. Among many educational programs, they sponsor Model UN and CANIMUN conferences that simulate working meetings at the UN General Assembly or Security Council for high school and university students, provide internships and volunteer placements at UN agencies, award the annual Pearson peace medal for outstanding achievement in international service and understanding, and provide a great deal of information for understanding international issues and getting involved.

See also the links to organizations provided on the Global Affairs Canada Getting Involved in International Development page.