By Paul Wells - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 0 Comments
Four of Jean Chrétien’s six Supreme Court appointees were francophones, including some from outside Quebec; the two anglophones, Fish and Binnie, were Montreal-born McGill graduates who had no trouble in French. At one point Chrétien’s Chief Justice (Antonio Lamer), Clerk of the Privy Council (Jocelyne Bourgon), Chief of Staff (Jean Pelletier), and some large number of his cabinet ministers were francophones. Chrétien’s favourite cabinet minister, Stéphane Dion, introduced an Action Plan for Official Languages in 2003; Paul Martin extended it in 2005.
I belabour all this because Stephen Harper responded to some criticism in a year-end interview with TVA by saying: “As prime minister, I think I’ve given more space to French than any prime minister in the history of the country.” (He began the sentence with a franchement, frankly, that gave me this post’s headline.) Continue…
By John Geddes - Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 7:01 PM - 17 Comments
It’s was fun watching the contest that Samara and the Writer’s Trust of Canada held to anoint the best Canadian political book of the past 25 years. The winner announced yesterday—selected by the gold-standard method of online voting—is Ezra Levant’s Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights, which I haven’t gotten around to but I gather is about how our government is undermining democracy in the name of human rights.
No offence to fans of Shakedown (or any of the other finalists in the contest, which spotlighted some superb books), but when I scanned down the short list, something seemed to be missing. Not fine writing —Ron Graham’s One-Eyed Kings, for example, provides plenty of that. Not polemical verve—Andrew Cohen’s While Canada Slept is your ticket there. Not journalistic timeliness and historical insight—other books in the running offered these virtues.