Each of these essays begins with the words
“A Canadian is . . .”. Each one is very different, producing a
fascinating book for all thinking Canadians.
Studin is an idealistic young Canadian who wanted to do something
extraordinary for his country. So he decided to approach leading
Canadians — he calls them “sages” — to tell us what they believe
defines us. The people who responded eagerly, to produce an essay of
1,500 to 2,000 words, are, in his words, “all distinguished Canadian
thinkers and achievers from all walks of life — politics, the civil
service, academia, literature, journalism, business, the arts — from
both official language groups, and from all regions of the country, as
well as from the Canadian diaspora.”
The strength of this book
lies in the contributors, listed in the sidebar. The variety ranges
from the funny — “A Canadian is . . . someone who crosses the road to
get to the middle” (Allan Fotheringham) through the hostile — “. . .
the citizen of a country badly in need of growing up” (William Watson)
through the surprising — “. . . adaptable. To illustrate, consider the
depth and breadth of the Canadian woman’s wardrobe” (Jennifer Welsh) or
celebratory — “. . . a wonderful thing to be” (Bob Rae).
A Canadian is . . . certain to find this book fascinating.
Fotheringham, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Roch Carrier, Jake MacDonald, George
Elliott Clarke, Margaret MacMillan, Thomas Franck, Rosemarie Kuptana,
Gérald A. Beaudoin, Peter W. Hogg, George Bowering, Christian Dufour,
Paul Heinbecker, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, John C. Crosbie, Audrey
McLaughlin, Roy MacGregor, Charlotte Gray, Hugh Segal, Janet
McNaughton, Sujit Choudhry, Aritha van Herk, L. Yves Fortier, Catherine
Ford, Mark Kingwell, Silver Donald Cameron, Guy Laforest, Maria
Tippett, E. Kent Stetson, Louis Balthazar, Joy Kogawa, Wade
MacLaughlan, Douglas Glover, Lorna Marsden, Saeed Rahnema, Denis
Stairs, Valerie Haig-Brown, Guy Saint-Pierre, William Watson, Doreen
Barrie, Jennifer Welsh, Bob Rae
Hmmm… definitely a great list of thinkers. Whom have I met? Joy Kogawa is now a friend. I have met writers George Elliott Clarke and George Bowering a few times. I saw Roch Carrier just on Sunday at the Word on the Street Festival, I can add Audrey McLaughlin to my list… I would love to meet Charlotte Grey!
Of CBC's top ten Greatest Canadians – David Suzuki lives in Vancouver
Of BC Almanac's top ten Greatest BC'ers – David Suzuki and Nancy Greene are still alive
“What Is A Canadian” contributers – several live near Vancouver: George
Bowering “Canada's first poet-laureate”, Joy Kogawa, Valerie
Haig-Brown is the daughter of eco-pioneer Roderick Haig-Brown and lives on Vancouver Island.
Maybe I can propose an essay collection for “What is Chinese-Canadian?” or “What is Asian-Canadian?” Would Kristin Kreuk be availalble or Jon-Kimura Parker?