Library Moments: Canadian Politicians

stephen harperBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

With the Canadian Federal election happening next month we thought it would be timely to highlight some recent biographies and autobiographies of the federal leaders.

There is a brand new biography called Stephen Harper by John Ibbitson that is getting, as you can well imagine both positive and negative reviews, but almost all agree that it is interesting and well written.  We also have many more books by and about Stephen Harper.  But, because he has been our prime minister and in the limelight since 2006, we thought we would concentrate on recent books about Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, and Elizabeth May.

Today on Library moments Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each tell you about the political leader book we chose to read.

common groundSherrill Sherwood, Collections Development:Justin Trudeau has been news since conception. Long before being elected a member of Canada’s parliament—and decades before he rose to his current leadership of the Liberal Party—front pages trumpeted his birth, on Christmas Day 1971. His original crib: 24 Sussex Drive, the official Canadian state residence, in Ottawa. His parents: then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his flower-child bride, Margaret.

Dad was one of the 20th century’s great characters. A scholar turned politician, he famously slid down banisters, did pirouettes in the presence of the Queen, and dated Barbra Streisand when he was a bachelor P.M. Mom, meanwhile, was nothing short of capricious: she sewed her own wedding dress, “ran away” with the Rolling Stones, dated Jack Nicholson, hobnobbed with Andy Warhol, and was generally part of the jet set. And now the son of these two—the closest thing Canada has to J.F.K. Jr.—is positioning himself as the next prime minister.

Justin’s intention behind writing his candid memoir Common Ground is to reveal to its readers the experiences that have shaped him over the course of his life and show how his passion for Canada and its people took root. Covering the years from his childhood at 24 Sussex to his McGill days during the tumultuous time of the Charlottetown Accord, to his first campaign in Papineau, to his role as Liberal leader today, the book captures the foundational moments that have formed the man we have come to know and informed his vision for the future of Canada.

Filled with anecdotes, personal reflections, and never-before-seen photographs from his own collection, Common Ground shows how the events of Trudeau’s life have led him to this moment and prepared him for the future.

who we areErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Whatever your political leanings, Elizabeth May is a fascinating figure in Canadian politics. May’s eighth book is called Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada, and traces her development from child activist who warned other children not to eat snow because it contained Strontium 90 to waitress and cook on Cape Breton Island to law student, lawyer, and environmentalist and finally to leader of the Green Party and first elected Green Party Member of Parliament.

As leader of the Green Party, May has accomplished feats that would be thought impossible for the leader, and at times sole MP, of an unofficial party in Parliament. Notably were two amendments to Bill C-46 which were accepted into the finalized version of the Pipeline Safety Act which surrounded compensation for cleanup in the event of a spill. May has also earned the goodwill of her colleagues in the House of Commons, and was voted as Parliamentarian of the Year in 2012, Hardest Working MP in 2013, and Best Orator in 2014. Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada by Elizabeth May is sure to help you get to know an emerging force on the Canadian political landscape.

cThomasMulcair1Bessie: Strength of Conviction by Thomas Mulcair is described as a heartfelt and genuine memoir from a candidate aspiring to become Canada’s next Prime Minister. Mr. Mulcair writes about his Irish and French Canadian ancestries, the big house of ten kids that he grew up in Chomedy Laval, the struggles of his parents to make ends meet, and the love of his life Catherine whom he met at the age of 19. Once married with two law degrees from McGill University, Mulcair’s book then travels through the different stages of his career, from his tenure as a Civil servant in Quebec City to eventually becoming Quebec’s Minister of Environment. Mulcair followed his passion, ideals and convictions at every step of the way, including joining the ranks of Jack Layton’s NDP at a time when the party did not have a single MP from Quebec. The gamble surely paid off as he became the first candidate to win a constituency for the NDP in the province of Quebec during a general federal election.

Once elected by NDP members to become the leader of the official Opposition in the House of Commons following the tragic passing of Jack Layton, Mulcair begins to lay out his ideals and vision for Canada, touching on the paramount issues the country is facing such as child care, pension, terrorism, aboriginal rights, and the environment.

No matter what your political bent, democracy doesn’t work if people don’t vote. Visit to find out everything you need to know about voting – they even have a section dedicated to first time voters and students. Make sure your opinion is heard and go to a polling station by October 19th. The choice is easy when it comes to the best community radio station – 100.9 CanoeFM wins hands down.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, September 20th – September 26th, 2015.


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