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Political Science Canadian

A Fair Country

Telling Truths About Canada

by (author) John Ralston Saul

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2009
Canadian, Canadian Studies, Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2009
    List Price

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In this startlingly original vision of Canada, renowned thinker John Ralston Saul argues that Canada is a Métis nation, heavily influenced and shaped by Aboriginal ideas: Egalitarianism, a proper balance between individual and group, and a penchant for negotiation over violence are all Aboriginal values that Canada absorbed. An obstacle to our progress, Saul argues, is that Canada has an increasingly ineffective elite, a colonial non-intellectual business elite that doesn't believe in Canada. It is critical that we recognize these aspects of the country in order to rethink its future.

About the author

John Ralston Saul is one of Canada’s leading social and political commentators. He is the author of numerous books on philosophy and contemporary politics, including Voltaire’s Bastards, Reflections Of A Siamese Twin, and most recently The Collapse of Globalism. Saul was the Massey lecturer in 1995, and won the 1996 Governor General’s Award for nonfiction for The Unconscious Civilization, based on those lectures. He is the former president of PEN Canada and the creator of the acclaimed LaFontaine Baldwin Lecture series. A regular speaker and panelist across Canada and internationally, John Ralston Saul currently lives in Toronto.

John Ralston Saul's profile page

Editorial Reviews


“[A] brilliant and timely argument about Canada’s complex nature and our country’s best future course. What a relief it is to read something so observant about Canada. . . . we are a Métis nation, certainly, and it has never been so eloquently said.” —The Globe and Mail

“Gutsy and exciting. . . . A Fair Country has the potential to change the way Canadians see themselves forever. It offers a romantic and heroic vision, and it’s a stirring and unpretentious read.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“There’s something admirable, possibly even heroic, in the earnest anger of John Ralston Saul as he bangs away at the theme of his book A Fair Country.” —National Post

“[A Fair Country is] that rare work of political thought that, by virtue of its daring, is both thrilling and sobering. One reads it with the even rarer sense that it had to be written.” —The Gazette (Montreal)

“Any Canadian reading the book, or learning about its content, will think of Canada differently.” —Toronto Star

“A stinging assessment of public- and private-sector leaders paralyzed by a ‘colonial inferiority complex.’” —Edmonton Journal

“An excellent first step to recovery. By seriously examining Aboriginal influences in Canadian history, Saul goes some way to curing the ongoing dysfunction suffered by—not Aboriginal Canadians—but by mainstream Canadians. . . . A consequence of Saul’s vision is that Western Canada assumes greater influence in the Canadian story. . . . Makes a lot of sense.” —Calgary Herald

“Always challenging . . . [A Fair Country] is a new and much needed foundation for a profoundly new (multi-) national self-definition.” —Now (Toronto)

“Anyone who is the least bit curious about Canadian identity will find A Fair Country a fascinating text. Saul goes to the heart of the matter and demonstrates how Aboriginal inspiration has defined us as a unique people whose roots are both European and Native.” —Hour (Montreal)

“An intellectually engaging effort to reframe our view of the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canadians who have arrived (or been born to migrants) over the past four centuries. . . . Maybe—maybe—Saul has begun the dialogue that will create a powerful new national narrative(the Greeks called it mythos) to reframe this relationship from one of ignorance and racism to that of equality and respect.” —Michael Adams, author of Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values

“Combative, provocative and stimulating.” —Quill & Quire

“From the cover illustration that refers to the Anishnabeck world view of Turtle Island to the notion of the all-inclusive circle as opposed to the Anglo/Franco/European linear view, Saul challenges us to re-examine our history as it applies to our contemporary world view, our contemporary lives and our future.” —Inverness Oran (Inverness, Nova Scotia)

“[A Fair Country] shines light on the failings of our national capital and the people who live there.” —Ottawa Citizen

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