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Ontario’s shame

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to cancel the previous Liberal government’s plans to fund a francophone university for reasons of costs has eerie echoes in history. Tampering with historical francophone rights has inflamed passions from the earliest days of the nation. In 1895 John Willison, an otherwise enlightened editor of the Read more…

By Robert Lewis, ago
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Remembering 1918

Few people in the world were untouched by the Great War, 1914 to November 1918. Some 70 million people were directly involved as military and more than 15 million —combatants or civilians — were killed. Journalists and journalism were marked forever as well. John Willison graduated from the Parliamentary Press Read more…

By Robert Lewis, ago
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The Free Trade Wars

When he was editor of the Globe and Mail, John Willison was a loyal supporter of Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, going so far at one point to hold back a story that would have embarrassed his friend before the 1891 election. But in 1911, after Canada signed a sweeping free Read more…

By Robert Lewis, ago
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The Dean: Bruce Hutchison

Bruce Hutchison (below), who died on this day 26 years ago, was a much-admired journalist who cultivated close ties with the Liberal establishment, especially his friend Lester Pearson. When Pearson became Liberal leader in 1958 Hutchison was among the small tribe trying to convince Pearson he was misguided in wanting Read more…

By Robert Lewis, ago
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The Scrum

They are much more controlled now than in the 1970s when reporters gathered in Ottawa outside  24 Sussex Drive to question Ontario premier Bill Davis (above). Now, if politicians even deign to talk to reporters in an unscripted setting, they do so with the wretches of the press behind ropes Read more…

By Robert Lewis, ago