Bill Davis, the man who understood Ontario

His sense of what Ontario wanted was on the money

Bill Davis, the man who understood OntarioBill Davis, the former Ontario premier, died on Aug. 8. He was the first Conservative I ever voted for. It happened in the October 1971 provincial election. My previous trip to the polls – in 1968 to vote for Pierre Trudeau’s federal Liberals – had been an enthusiastic occasion. Not this time. Davis wasn’t the…

If history is any guide, a Liberal majority government is within reach

The current Liberal iteration hasn’t been in power long enough for serious fatigue to set in and Justin Trudeau isn’t Paul Martin

If history is any guide, a Liberal majority government is within reachShould the mooted federal election materialize, it’ll be the third time in 50 years that a minority Liberal government took an early trip to the polls. So will the result resemble Pierre Trudeau of 1972 and 1974 (a minority followed by a big victory) or Paul Martin of 2004 and 2006 (a minority followed by…

J.F.K. dug a deep hole in his relationship with Khrushchev

Because of the Bay of Pigs disaster, Khrushchev pegged Kennedy as a pushover

J.F.K. dug a deep hole in his relationship with KhrushchevThings didn’t go well when U.S. President John F. Kennedy met with Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev in June 1961. Or at least they didn’t from Kennedy’s perspective. Speaking to American journalist James Reston after the Vienna summit’s second and final day, Kennedy described it as the “roughest thing in my life.” Khrushchev, he said,…

What you see with Joe Biden is what you get

Author Jon Meacham’s most important insights about U.S. politics and the presidency are intertwined with the current officeholder

What you see with Joe Biden is what you getJon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and historian. He’s been an executive editor/vice-president at Random House, has worked for the Chattanooga Times, Time and Newsweek, and written for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post and other publications. Several of Meacham’s books, including American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (2009), Thomas…

The Bay of Pigs fiasco upended J.F.K.’s presidential honeymoon

In his first serious foreign policy test in 1961, the new American president flunked badly. He was in way over his head

The Bay of Pigs fiasco upended J.F.K.’s presidential honeymoonThings were going swimmingly for U.S. President John F. Kennedy immediately following his January 1961 inauguration. Despite being elected by a mere whisker, his approval ratings were stratospheric and much of the media was in love with him. It was as if he was a political superman. Then came the fiasco at the Bay of…

Understated George Shultz left a lasting legacy

As Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, he played a key role in bringing about the end of the Cold War

Understated George Shultz left a lasting legacyGeorge Shultz, who died on Feb. 6 at the age of 100, was an important 20th-century figure. He was one of the good guys. An economist by profession, Shultz was born in New York in 1920. He graduated from Princeton in 1942, served in the Marine Corps during the Second World War and subsequently earned…

Eisenhower was cagey but Kennedy rushed in

In 1961, as a young president prepared to take over from an aging one, their perspectives on military responsibility were starkly different

Eisenhower was cagey but Kennedy rushed inIn the third week of January 1961, two American political figures made important speeches. One was the outgoing president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. And the other was the new guy, John F. Kennedy. Eisenhower was first up with his Jan. 17 farewell address. Aged 70, he was at that time the oldest president in United States…

Three political dramas worth watching

Think of them as a form of therapy, a way of easing back to everyday life while still experiencing the atmospherics of the political arena

Three political dramas worth watchingIf you’re suffering withdrawal pangs from the wind down of the American election, here are three political dramas to assist your transition. Think of them as a form of therapy, a way of easing back to everyday life while still experiencing the atmospherics of the political arena. Subject matter aside, the films have two things…

Politics as compelling theatre

Presidential debates rarely sway voters, but Biden-Trump will make for an entertaining, if vicious, spectacle

Politics as compelling theatreThe first U.S. presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be held this evening. Two more debates are scheduled on Oct. 15 and 22. Here are some thoughts on what can we expect to happen tonight: Presidential debates, like any leaders’ debates, lack spontaneity and leave almost nothing to chance. Scripts are created…

John Turner and the demise of gentlemanly politics

Politicians like the late prime minister are sources of inspiration for public service, intelligent discourse and common decency

John Turner and the demise of gentlemanly politicsJohn Turner, Canada’s 17th prime minister, passed away on Sept. 19 at the age of 91. A lawyer by trade, he had a serious relationship with Princess Margaret and was an Olympic-calibre athlete in track and field. He served as a Liberal MP from 1962 to 1976 in two ridings, St. Lawrence-St. George and Ottawa-Carleton,…
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