The Politics of Mythmaking: Foreign Policy in Canadian Federal Elections 1958-1965

  • Kristopher Kinsinger University of Waterloo


The notion of a Canadian foreign policy “golden age†during the decades following the Second World War has shaped how Canadians have come to view their country’s place in the world. While recent historical scholarship has laudably done much to demonstrate how the idea of a Canadian diplomatic “golden age†is ultimately an exercise in mythmaking, historians have done comparatively little to assess when and how this mythological notion became ingrained in Canada’s political consciousness. This paper seeks to begin to fill this gap in the historiography of Canadian politics by analyzing the role of foreign policy in the four federal elections held between 1958 and 1965. This analysis not only reaffirms the mythological status of the “golden age†but also demonstrates how this notion was fuelled by the foreign policy rhetoric of the Liberal Party during Lester B. Pearson’s tenure as leader.