Eugene Forsey, Canada's Maverick Sage

Helen Forsey

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Born in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, Eugene Alfred Forsey (1904-1991) became one of Canada's foremost constitutional experts and served in the Senate from 1970 to 1979. Legendary for his sharp wit and his distinctive view of Canadian society, Forsey brought deep research, high principle, and irascible tenacity to the cause of constitutional democracy, justice, and equality for all. Those themes resound through this book. Raised a Conservative, Forsey converted to social democracy as a young academic in the 1930s. He spent the following decades working for the labour movement and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (now the New Democratic Party) and calling governments to account in speeches, articles, and letters-to-the-editor. As a senator, he sat as a Trudeau Liberal, but soon resumed his more natural role as non-partisan critic and gadfly. Whether delivering his urgent messages in labour halls, university classrooms, broadcasting studios, or the Senate chamber, Forsey entertained even as he educated. So, too, does this account of his works and life, which blends the personal and the political to provide a rich resource for Canadians facing the challenges of the twenty-first century.

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