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Description found in Archives
Fonds consists of
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
64 videocassettes (ca. 76 h).
34 audio cassettes (ca. 25 h).
24 audio reels (ca. 25 h).
13 drawings : pen and black ink, black felt pen on wove paper and on commercial board.
50 photographs : b&w, col., negatives.
102.8 KB of textual records.
1 reproduction : photomechanical print on wove paper
Scope and content
The Keith Spicer fonds provides a rich documentation of the life of its creator. The fonds reveals Spicer's intellectual formation at universities in Canada and abroad, his teaching interests and methods, his thirty-five year involvement with communications issues, aspects of his work as a public servant, his strong interest in constitutional questions and parts of his personal life. The records offer significant insights into the interplay of public and private life and underline the importance of the communications industries and constitutional-linguistic issues in Camada during the second half of the twentieth century. Fonds consists of records created or received by Spicer including editorials, articles, reviews, speeches, books, a screenplay, works of fiction and non-fiction, tapes and transcripts of radio and televisions broadcasts, cartoons, correspondence, photographs, business and financial files. The subjects covered in the fonds range from foreign aid, French Canada and federal-provincial relations through communications policy, friendship and effective public speaking. The records have been divided into nine series, four sub-series and three sub-sub-series constructed on the basis of the activities which Keith Spicer undertook during his career. In particular the Communication activities series brings together in an analytical grouping records which document a wide range of activities connected with communication. Nonetheless, related material will also be found in other series.
Conditions of access
2000936012 Item no. assigned by LAC 1 -- 13
Item no. assigned by LAC 14;15
Moving images and sound recordings: Reproduction with written permission of copyright owner and donor.
Photographs and artistic material: Various copyrights according to artist. See individual items.
Textual records The finding aid provides a list of the textual and computer files contained in this fonds. The finding aid is organized by series and sub-series and provides file titles, outside dates as well as volume and file numbers. MSS2125 90 (Electronic)
Moving images and sound recordings Refer to MINISIS for item-level descriptions. 90 (Electronic)
Graphic material (Photo) Refer to Photography Acquisition and Research collection file for additional information. 90 (Paper)
Graphic material (Art) Refer to Documentary Art Acquisition and Research collection file for additional information. 90 (Paper)
Creator / Provenance
Biography / Administrative history
Keith Spicer was born in Toronto on 6 March 1934; he attended school there at Brown Public School and North Toronto Collegiate. As an undergraduate Spicer studied modern languages, at the University of Toronto (Honours B.A. in French and Spanish, 1956) and on exchange at the Université de Paris (Diplôme d'études de civilisation française, degré supérieur, 1955). Later as a post-graduate, he studied international relations at the Universite de Paris (Diplôme de l'Institut d'Études Politiques, 1958) and political science at the University of Toronto (Phd, 1962).
Keith Spicer's career was notable for his movement between the public and private sectors, and for his complementary interests in the communications industries, politics and the place of Quebec and French in Canada. Spicer began his work life as a professor teaching political science at the University of Ottawa (1961-64, 1965-66), the University of Toronto (1966-69), Dartmouth College (spring 1967), and Glendon College, York University (1969-70). Keith Spicer first worked in communications as a commentator for the French television and radio networks of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1961-1969, and for Radio Canada International from 1966-1970. During the latter period, he was also employed as an editorial writer at the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Spicer started the summer of 1964 as a staff researcher on the armed forces for the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, but in July was recruited for a year to work as a speech writer for Guy Favreau, Minister of Justice. Five years later Spicer was asked to investigate means of publicizing the Official Languages policy of the federal government and he was subsequently named Canada's first Commissioner of Official Languages on 1 April 1970, a post he held until 31 July 1977. Spicer was a key figure in the promotion of official bilingualism and was noted for his innovative, but firm advocacy of federal bilingualism policies.
In 1977 Spicer left the civil service to work as a free-lance journalist, establishing Garden Hill Communications Ltd. (1977-1981) to market products and services which he developed. These included newspaper columns, TV and radio scripts, acting as host and interviewer in the broadcast media, public speaking, and writing. In the early 1980s Spicer introduced a communications training program for senior managers which he marketed through an unincorporated British Columbia enterprise, Executive Seminars International. When the seminar business grew, Spicer folded Garden Hill and launched the Spicer Communications Group, a British Columbia incorporated company; Spicer sold SCG to McLuhan and Davies Communication of Toronto on 1 January 1989. Spicer was also visiting professor of political science at the University of British Columbia in 1977-78, and Adjunct Professor of Canadian Studies at Simon Fraser University in 1978-79.
From 1 January 1985 to 31 August 1989, Spicer was Editor-in-Chief of the Ottawa Citizen, moving the paper upscale to achieve increased readership, advertising revenue, and reputation. He returned to the federal public service as Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) from 1 September 1989 until 30 June 1996. During that period, Spicer was asked to undertake the consultation of Canadians concerning the orientation of an amended constitution. He served as Chairman of the Citizen's Forum on Canada's Future from 1 November 1990 until 30 June 1991 and conceived of, created and directed the grassroots consultation of some 700,000 Canadians.
Spicer was active in a number of voluntary organizations, including seeking nomination as a Liberal candidate in the 1968 federal general election. He was one of the key organizers of the Commonwealth Student Volunteers in 1959 and later the Canadian Volunteers Overseas (forerunners of the Canadian University Service Overseas). Spicer is the author of many articles and books, including A Samaritan State? External Aid in Canada's Foreign Policy (Toronto, 1966), Cher péquiste...et néamoins ami (Montreal, 1980), and Winging It (New York and Toronto, 1982). He was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1978 and received honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa, Glendon College of York University, and Laurentian University. The biography is based on information contained within the fonds and on curriculum vitae supplied by the creator.
Material was acquired in 1997 from Keith Spicer.
System details note
Related control no.
1. 1997-0419 MISA
2. 1997-480 DAP
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