Speeches That Changed Canada, history from the podium

In Speeches That Changed Canada author and former MP Dennis Gruending has created a book that will be of interest to anyone who loves Canadian history, politics, literature and rhetoric. The book, released in April 2018 by Fitzhenry and Whiteside, will also be useful as a source and guide for teachers and students, and for... Continue Reading →

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Chrystia Freeland on trade and democracy, June 2018

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was named “diplomat of the year” at a forum hosted by the Washington, D.C.-based Foreign Policy magazine in June 2018. In her acceptance speech, Freeland talked about both the strengths of democratic societies and the threats to them. She also defended a globalized, free-trade order against the protectionist measures being taken... Continue Reading →

Goldwin Smith on Canada’s joining the U.S., 1888

U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium and is threatening to do the same on automobiles. He has attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as weak, dishonest and worse. Back in the 1880s, Professor Goldwin Smith of Toronto acted as a self-appointed proponent of Canada's full commercial and political union with the... Continue Reading →

Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech

While this website highlights Canadian speeches and rhetoric, this posting commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of history’s great orators, who was murdered fifty years ago, on April 4, 1968. King was the son of an American Baptist minister and he, too, became a minister in Montgomery, Alabama. Inspired by Scripture and Mahatma Gandhi,... Continue Reading →

George Erasmus on self-government, 1990

In June 1990, the Meech Lake Accord failed when Aboriginal leader and Manitoba MLA Elijah Harper refused to give the necessary unanimous consent for his province to approve. The Assembly of First Nations also opposed the accord not least because it continued to focus upon the French and English as Canada’s founding nations. AFN chief... Continue Reading →

Foreign Voices in the House

Until recently there were very few anthologies of Canadian speeches. There existed collections by this or that prime minister but there was a dearth of more inclusive anthologies such as existed in the U.S., Great Britain and even Australia. That has begun to change. My book, Great Canadian Speeches, published in 2004, was one of... Continue Reading →

John A. Macdonald, yes to Confederation, 1865

In 1864, the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland planned to meet in Charlottetown to investigate a union among the British Maritime colonies. John A Macdonald and other representatives from Upper and Lower Canada invited themselves to the meeting and arrived by steamship. They proposed a wider union which would include... Continue Reading →

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