Former MP Dennis Gruending is the author of Great Canadian Speeches, a best-selling, wide-ranging anthology that contains 68 edited selections. In this new book he focuses on 10 speeches. For each spe
Former MP Dennis Gruending is the author of Great Canadian Speeches, a best-selling, wide-ranging anthology that contains 68 edited selections. In this new book he focuses on 10 speeches. For each speech Gruending:
- Describes in detail the rich historical context in which each speech was delivered,
- Pays close attention to both the content of each speech and rhetorical techniques employed by the orators, and
- Examines the speech's immediate and long term impact upon Canada and Canadians.
Gruending has chosen dramatic speeches from 10 of Canada's finest political orators,
- Beginning with John A Macdonald's arguing Confederation into being in 1865 and
- Ending with Pierre Trudeau's 'No' to Quebec separatism during the 1980 referendum campaign.
- The book also contains Louis Riel's speech to the jury;
- Wilfrid Laurier's warning the Catholic clergy to stay out of politics;
- Nellie McClung's demand that women receive the vote;
- Agnes Macphail's call for both political reforms and the full equality of women;
- Arthur Meighen's divisive speech on military conscription;
- Richard Bennett's attempt to give Canada a New Deal during the Depression;
- Tommy Douglas introducing medicare; and
- Lester Pearson's epic debates with John Diefenbaker over a new flag for Canada.
Macdonald's speech established him as the drafter and dealmaker of Confederation and he was to remain the dominant presence in Canadian politics for many years. Riel's failure to convince a jury to spare his life created fault lines in Canada which persist to this day. McClung's withering satire in a 1914 speech paved the way for women's getting the vote; and Trudeau's speech shortly before the Quebec referendum in 1980 is widely believed to have ensured victory for the 'No' side in the referendum on separation.
This book will be a welcome companion to anyone interested in Canadian history, politics, literature and rhetoric. It will also be a useful source and guide for those who write speeches or deliver them.
View Biographical note
is a former Member of Parliament from Saskatchewan. A journalist by profession, he has worked for three newspapers and as a producer and host for CBC Radio in western Canada. His previous books includeGreat Canadian Speeches, The Middle of Nowhere, and biographies of Emmett Hall and Allan Blakeney. His articles, stories, and poems have appeared in NeWest Review, The Canadian Forum, New Internationalist, Maclean's, and Reader's Digest. Dennis lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
View Review text
"Dennis Gruending's latest book is so timely. . . It's a teaser of a book: so much to digest of our history, and yet you want to keep discussing its meaty parts. A very worthwhile book."
— The OSCAR (Ottawa)
View Table of contents
A reading note
John A Macdonald on Confederation, 1865
Wilfrid Laurier on Liberalism and the church, 1877
Louis Riel's speech to the jury, 1885
Nellie McClung on women and the vote, 1914
Arthur Meighen on conscription, 1917
Agnes Macphail on political reform, 1928
Richard Bedford Bennett on a new deal, 1935
Tommy Douglas on Medicare, 1961
Lester Pearson on a new flag, 1964
Pierre Trudeau on Quebec sovereignty, 1980
Joseph Gosnell on the Nisga'a treaty, 1998
About the author