July–August 2011

The names Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin don’t resonate much with Canadians, not the way Sir John A. Macdonald or Sir Wilfred Laurier do. And yet, according to John Ralston Saul, they should. Of all the extraordinary Canadians Saul has highlighted in the series of small biographies he has edited for Penguin, the double bio of Baldwin and Lafontaine is the one he chose to write himself. In an essay for our August issue, historian Christopher Moore reviews Saul’s book and brings the great achievement of this political duo—responsible government based on social equality—into the limelight where it belongs.

The definition of a full-time job is changing radically in Canada and around the world. Short-term insecure contract work is replacing the lifetime job with pensions and benefits. What this means to individuals, families, workplaces and communities is the subject of Working Without Commitments: The Health Effects of Precarious Employment which Rachel Pulfer reviews this month. “This country,” she writes, “is overdue for a more engaged public conversation on the changing nature of work today, and what to do about it.”

One more lovely month of summer still to go, so why not join our armchair travel agents—including stellar literary names like Alexander MacLeod, Jessica Grant and Antanas Sileika—who will introduce you to some amazing fictional getaways that you can experience without leaving your porch or balcony? Exotic destinations include 1929 Saigon, Segu on the Niger River in Africa, the Polo Grounds in 1951 Manhattan . . . and a bucolic New Zealand beach.

Bronwyn Drainie