Written by André Pratte.
Published by the Penguin Group (Canada), 2011.
|Everyone knows that Wilfrid Laurier was a great prime minister,
an astonishing speaker, and a survivor. But nobody has looked at him as more
than a mythological figure for a very long time. André Pratte uncovers
Laurier's full complexity amid the charged political circumstances of the early
Laurier tried to unite a country deeply divided in the wake of the First World War, grappling with the thorny questions of minority rights, multiple cultures, and regional tensions. A superb oratorhis defence of Louis Riel established him as perhaps Canada's greatest speakerhe talked to his listeners as if they were as intelligent and well-read as he. Pratte reveals a Laurier who did not have to create a special political strategy in order to deal with the complexities of Canada. His personality, in and of itself, was a mirror of that complexity.
Pratte's Laurier affirms our long and stable history, while recognizing that events are never predictable. Like Laurier, great leaders must accept both to govern Canada successfully.
"It was Laurier who, better than anyone before or since, showed Canadians the only path possible, that of compromise .... If Canada still exists today, it is because there have always been Canadians who felt that Laurier was right, that compromise is not surrender or cowardice, but rather daring and courage." André Pratte, Wilfrid LaurierA veteran reporter, columnist and editor, André Pratte has written several books on politics and the media. He is the chief editorial writer for La Presse. He is one of the founders of The Federal Idea, a think tank on federalism.
Also available from the Extraordinary Canadians series:
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin
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This page last modified: May 3, 2011
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