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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
15 photographs : 9 b&w and 6 col.
1 badge ; textile.
Scope and content
This fonds documents Yalden's lengthy and influential career in the area of national and international relations. The variety of material found portray's Yalden's career development and provides significant information on the functions and activities of the various positions and appointments he held as a diplomat, a public servant and a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, including his interest in constitutional and linguistic issues in Canada and in human rights. The records cover his professional life, which reflects his character and personality, (especially as a language rights and humans rights advocate). The records have been divided into eight series on the basis of Yalden's career within each government departments, except for the Subject Files and Personal Series which relates to all phases of his career. The series are: Department of External Affairs (1960-1989); Department of the Secretary of State (1979-1990); Department of Communications (1973-1977); Official Languages Commission (1977-1984); Canadian Human Rights Commission (1987-2000); United Nations Human Rights Committee (1983, 1995-2006); Subject Files (1976-2005); and Personal (1948-2002). Within each series, the records are grouped under various subject titles mainly created by Yalden and the documents are arranged chronologically within.
Textual records The finding aid is organized by series and arranged by subjects within. MSS2443 90 (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
Maxwell Freeman Yalden, diplomat and senior public servant, was born on 12 April 1930 in Toronto. He studied at Victoria College, University of Toronto, received an Honours B.A. in 1952 and continued his studies at l'Université de Paris from 1952 to 1953. From 1954 to 1956, he undertook his graduate studies at the University of Michigan and received his M.A. and PhD. in philosophy. In 1958, he took Russian language courses at Cambridge University.
Max Yalden joined the Department of External Affairs in 1956 and after two years he was posted to the Canadian Embassy in Moscow as second secretary. In 1960, he served on the Canadian Delegation to the Geneva Conference on Disarmament and in the same year he returned to Ottawa to work with the Disarmament Division. In August 1963, he was nominated first secretary to the Canadian Embassy in Paris and was also promoted to counsellor in 1965. He returned to Ottawa in 1967 as special advisor to the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs responsible for the federal-provincial relations. From 1969 to 1973, Yalden served as Assistant Under-Secretary of State in the Department of the Secretary of State, where he was responsible for the promotion of official bilingualism and developing programmes for post secondary education with the provinces. From May 1973 to September 1977, Yalden was Deputy Minister of Communications and then was appointed the second Commissioner of Official Languages for a seven-year mandate. During his term in office, the equality of the two official languages was added in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. He became Ambassador of Canada to Belgium and Luxemburg in September 1984. From November 1987 to 1996, Yalden was Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission where he was responsible for the implementation of human rights legislation and for ensuring evenhanded treatment of individual cases before the Commission. In the early 1990s Yalden served as founding Chair of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions, created following the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights. In 1996 he was elected to a four-year term as member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and he was reelected in 2000 for a second term.
In 1997 he became an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa.
During Yalden's career in the Department of External Affairs, he was the author of the white paper on "Federalism and International Relations", and the principal author of a second white paper on "Federalism and International Conferences on Education". As Deputy Minister of Communications, he was closely associated with the preparation of the policy studies "Proposals for a Communications Policy for Canada" and "Communications: Some Federal Proposals". As Commissioner of Official Languages and Chief Commissioner of Canadian Human Right Commission, he was responsible for a series of Annual Reports to Parliament which represented a comprehensive evaluation of progress achieved in those areas by governmental authorities and the private sector.
Yalden was elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1996 and in 2000.
In 1998 Yalden was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1999. In 1982 he was awarded an Honorary doctorate from the Ottawa University and in 1998 an Honorary LL.D. from Carleton University.
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