Wilfrid Laurier is acknowledged as a great prime minister, a superb orator, and a survivor. But he has become more myth than man. André Pratte, chief editorial writer of Quebec’s La Presse, uncovers Laurier’s complexity amid the charged political circumstances of the early 20th century. Laurier tried to unite a newborn country that found itself grappling with the thorny questions of minority rights, regional tensions, and its role in the world. Pratte skilfully reveals a Laurier who did not have to create a special political strategy in order to deal with the realities of Canada. Growing up in French- and English-Canadian cultures, he himself was a mirror of that complexity. Pratte’s Laurier affirms our long and stable history, while recognizing that events are never predictable, and that dialogue, tolerance, and compromise are always necessary.
André Pratte has covered politics for most of his 30-year career as a reporter, columnist, and editor. He has written five books on politics and the media, including Charest: His Life and Politics. Chief editorial writer for the La Presse newspaper, he lives with his family in Montreal.
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