Book List

1. David Smith is the winner of this year’s Donner Prize with a book on Parliament entitled The People’s House of Common: Theories of Democracy in Contention. Institutions Rule!

Here’s a paragraph from a short piece Smith published in the National Post on April 17, addressing the issue of Canadians’ declining confidence in Parliament and politicians. It is a mistake to see the past as a golden age, he says.

“It is not that Canada’s past MPs were paragons and today’s are fallen men and women. If anything, the reverse is true. Between the 19th and 21st centuries, an inversion in private and public morality occurred. At one time Victorian rectitude at home and buccaneering attitudes in public life were the norm; now anything seems to go in the private sphere, while the politician has become the modern scapegoat. If there is a parliamentary growth industry today, it is in ethics and accountability for public officials.”

2. The first volume of David A. Wilson’s biography of Thomas D’Arcy McGee is out. I’ll read it. And I’m looking forward to the second volume, which will pick up the story in 1858 and cover the Confederation years. Here’s an excerpt from McGee’s speech on the Quebec Resolutions and the prospects for colonial union in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (February 9, 1865).

“The two great things that all men aim at in any free government are liberty and permanency. We have had liberty enough – too much perhaps in some respects – but at all events, liberty to our hearts’ content. There is not on the face of the earth a freer people than the inhabitants of these colonies.”

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1 Response to “Book List”


  1. 1 janetajzenstat May 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm

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