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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
Scope and content
The Thomas S. Axworthy fonds consists of correspondence, memoranda, and other records relating primarily to Axworthy's career as a senior advisor in the PMO from 1975 to 1984. The fonds comprises ten series: Academic Career, Briefing Books, Chronological File Copies, Election Campaigns and Transitions, Liberal Party, Ministerial Special Assistant, Prime Minister's Office Memoranda and Correspondence, Prime Minister's Western Trips, Public Opinion Surveys, and Watkins Task Force.
Textual records: Consists of a file title list. MSS2291 (Paper)
Textual records: Finding aid. MSS2291 (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
Thomas Sidney Axworthy was born at Winnipeg in 1947. He obtained a BA from the University of Winnipeg in 1968 and later earned an MA (1970) and PhD (1979) in political science at Queen's University. In 1972-1973 he was a visiting student at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. During his student years, Axworthy was an active member of the Young Liberals. An admirer of Walter Gordon's economic nationalism, Axworthy worked during the summer of 1967 as a research assistant for the Watkins Task Force on the Structure of the Canadian Economy and later devoted his MA thesis to Gordon's impact on the Liberal Party. In 1968, Axworthy worked on John Turner's leadership campaign. During the 1971-1973 period he was employed on several projects relating to urban studies. In 1974 Axworthy launched a career as a policy advisor in Ottawa. His first position was as Special Assistant on Urban Policy to the Minister of State for Urban Affairs. He then served as Special Assistant (Cabinet Briefing) to the Minister of National Revenue. In 1975 he became a special assistant in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and began work as a policy advisor in 1977. The following year, he became Assistant Principal Secretary (Policy) in the PMO. In 1979, following the defeat of the Trudeau Liberals, Axworthy served as Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Leader of the Opposition, and as Acting Director for the Liberal Caucus Research Bureau. During this same period (1979-1980), he taught part-time at Queen's University in the Department of Political Studies. From 1981 to 1984, Axworthy assumed the senior position at the PMO, serving as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. Following his PMO career, Axworthy joined the CRB Foundation as Vice-President in 1986 and became Executive Director in 1989. He has also been an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, since 1990. As well, Axworthy is currently Executive Director of the Historica Foundation of Canada in Toronto, and an associate of the Centre for International Affairs at Harvard University. In 2001, he was appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Axworthy is the author/co-author or editor/co-editor of several books, including Our American Cousins: The United States Through Canadian Eyes (1987), Canada Not for Sale: The Case Against Free Trade (1987), Marching to a Different Drummer: An Essay on the Liberals and Conservatives in Convention (1988), and Towards a Just Society: The Trudeau Years (1990). He also assisted with the Trudeau memoirs (book and television series) project in 1992-1993. fonds
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