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01 2011

Nation Maker

Syndicated from: Steve Paikin

Author and journalist Richard Gwyn has completed his two-volume series on the life and times of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. It's must reading for anyone who cares about why our country still exists 144 years after Confederation.   Even if he weren't our first prime minister, and "the man who made us," as the title of Gwyn's first volume suggests, Sir John A. would still be in the history books for several reasons.     * He won six out of seven elections. And when he lost in 1874 and everyone assumed he was finished, he came back and still won three more elections.   * He's one of only three prime ministers to have won an election after losing one.  (William Lyon Mackenzie King and Pierre Elliott Trudeau also accomplished this).   * He is one of only two prime ministers to have died in office (John Thompson, who was PM from 1892-94 was the other).   * And, of course, through sheer brilliance and force of personality, Macdonald managed to get the Canadian Pacific Railway built from coast to coast, despite the fact only 25,000 people lived in British Columbia at the time.  It seemed an insanely expensive venture, and yet without it, we couldn't have become the Canada we have become.   Join us tonight at 8 and/or 11 p.m. for a wonderful conversation with a man who has done a great service to Canadian history with volume 2, "Nation Maker."    With the bicentennial of Macdonald's birth coming in 1815, it's incumbent upon all of us as citizens to get to know this man's story better. And Richard Gwyn has just given us the best helping hand imaginable.    

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