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From the archives

The Other Side of “Irish Eyes”

Brian Mulroney abroad and at home

The Ramble

Memories from the PMO

Vintage Years

Two political memoirs

Christopher Dummitt

Christopher Dummitt hosts the podcast 1867 & All That and teaches history at Trent University.

Articles by
Christopher Dummitt

Question Time

A debate of national proportions October 2021
Toward the end of Questions of Order: Confederation and the Making of Modern Canada, the historian Peter Price notes that “every generation has a tendency to designate its position at the culmination of a dramatic narrative of human development.” Put another way, each generation sees itself at the end point of history and almost always has a difficult time overcoming its blind…

In the Eye of the Historian

Three takes on Louis Riel January | February 2021
There was a time when historians used some rather unsavoury, frankly racist language to talk about the Métis, the descendants of Indigenous women and European men, who emerged as a collective group in the Northwest around the turn of the nineteenth century. In these older histories, they typically appeared in accounts of conflict — with the fur trade…

The Cult of Personal Autonomy

The triumph of identity in politics, and everywhere else October 2018
We live in an age divided. This is partly an American story about Donald Trump and never-Trumpers, about red states and blue states. It is also about polarized views on signature issues like transgender rights or abortion where what you believe, on one side or another, defines who you are as a person. There are right answers and wrong…

Empire Man

A new look at the complicated life and work of Donald Creighton. September 2015
Toward the end of his career, the Canadian historian Donald Creighton began to think “that I will be remembered, if I am remembered at all, as a pessimist, a bigot, and a violent Tory partisan.” Conservatives are usually right when they are wrong. That is, they sense the direction of change and cry out that a way of life is fading into…

Following the Sheep

A notorious riot sheds light on our longest-serving prime minister May 2014
In September 1907, thugs paraded through Vancouver’s Chinatown, smashing windows, wreaking havoc and looking for non-white people to hurt. Julie F. Gilmour’s Trouble on Main Street: Mackenzie King, Reason, Race and the 1907 Vancouver Riots takes us back to these few days of racial trouble, but only as a starting point. Having zoomed in on Vancouver in that…

Lester Pearson on Trial

A polemical attack on the “ardent Cold Warrior” June 2012
There is no shortage of volunteers to hammer nails into the coffin of Liberal Canada. The results of the last federal election might have seemed enough, leaving a rump of a Liberal Party clinging onto political party status and under the leadership of a spirited but desperate former NDP premier. The current Conservative prime minister seems as interested in destroying the very possibility of a Liberal resurrection as he is in running a…

Yorkville State of Mind

The place may have changed, but the vision lingers on September 2011
One of the great ironies of the 1960s in Canada is that conservatives understand the era’s significance better than those on the left. You do not have to remove too many volumes from the right-wing bookshelf before a trend starts to emerge: the 1960s matter to Canadian conservatives. You could read William Gairdner, who, for more than two…