Freedom, Equality, Community

Freedom, Equality, Community: The Political Philosophy of Six Influential Canadians

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 200
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Freedom, Equality, Community
    Book Description:

    Accounts of the work of six significant figures in Canadian political thought are used to examine key intellectual debates, including the national unity issue and Canada's relationship with the United States. James Bickerton, Stephen Brooks, and Alain Gagnon analyse the work and influence of George Grant, Harold Innis, Charles Taylor, and Pierre Trudeau, as well as two writers crucial to French-Canadian nationalism, André Laurendeau and Marcel Rioux. The authors look at the ways these individuals understood freedom, equality, and community and consider the impact they have had on Canadian political life.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7620-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Ideas, Intellectuals, and Canadian Political Life
    (pp. 3-13)

    Ideas have often seemed elusive in Canadian politics. A century ago, the French social scientist, André Siegfried, commented on what he believed to be the almost complete absence of grand ideas and ideological conflict from Canadian politics. Instead of offering voters competing sets of ideas and waging battle over matters of principle, Siegfried said, “Canada’s parties and politicians engaged in a sort of bidding war for the votes of citizens. The promise of a road, a post office, or a contract substituted for serious discussion of larger issues concerning the ends of governance.” “Whoever may be the winner,” Siegfried observed,...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Radical Political Economy of Harold Innis
    (pp. 14-34)

    Harold Innis was Canada’s first scholar in the social sciences to secure an international reputation. An economic historian at the University of Toronto from 1920 until his untimely death in 1952, Innis, along with W.A. Mackintosh, developed the “staples thesis,” an integrative and distinctively Canadian approach to the study of economic, social, and political development in frontier societies or “white settler” colonies. In his later years, Innis extended this seminal work on the role of staples (such as fish, fur, timber, wheat, and pulp and paper) in Canadian economic history into research on the history of communications and its relationship...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Lament: The Anguished Conservatism of George Grant
    (pp. 35-54)

    George Grant (1918–1988) was one of English-speaking Canada’s most celebrated and seminal twentieth-century thinkers. A professor of philosophy and religious studies at Dalhousie and McMaster universities from 1947 to 1984, Grant wrote and spoke forcefully and eloquently on a wide range of subjects, including history, religion, morality, ethics, technology, and of course, politics. Compared to the other thinkers discussed in this book, Grant’s ideas about freedom, equality, and community are perhaps closest to those of Harold Innis (although Grant’s critique of liberalism does share something in common with Charles Taylor). Indeed, Grant wrote approvingly about the intellectual contributions and...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR André Laurendeau: The Search for Political Equality and Social Justice
    (pp. 55-70)

    André Laurendeau is surely the intellectual who had the greatest impact on French Canadian, and later Québécois, political thinking about equality. More than any other thinker discussed in this book, his ideas were in harmony with the political realities of his time. Much of Laurendeau’s post-World War II thought has been popularised and is still frequently cited as forming the backbone for a political solution to the Quebec/Canada impasse.¹

    Laurendeau played an active role in several groups during his life. In 1932 , at the age of twenty, he co-founded theJeune-Canadamovement with, among others, Pierre Dansereau, who became...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Personal Emancipation, Pluralism, and Community: The Egalitarian Vision of Marcel Rioux
    (pp. 71-90)

    We can imagine democracy as a system of government, but we can also examine it from a broader perspective as a collection of ideas relating to mankind and its destiny. Moreover, the central premise of democracy is that no decision is ever permanent, that mankind can change the course of events, that he has the means to affect history. As Jeanne Hersch wrote inIdéologie et réalité“the fundamental value of democracy is the human person, irreducible and insurmountable – it being understood that this is not like a centre of possibilities or liberty – in other words it is, at a...

  10. CHAPTER SIX The Communitarian Liberalism of Charles Taylor
    (pp. 91-118)

    Charles Taylor is, in the eyes of many, Canada’s pre-eminent living philosopher. His international reputation was established through his work on Hegel and through numerous philosophical papers published in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, Taylor has produced a sweeping analysis of the philosophical roots and contradictions of modern western thought inSources of the SelfandThe Malaise of Modernity(published in the United States under the title,The Ethics of Authenticity). The erudition of his oeuvre is staggering. His status as one of the pre-eminent thinkers in the Anglo-American world is undeniable.

    Canadians, however, are more likely to...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Universalist Liberalism of Pierre Trudeau
    (pp. 119-146)

    Pierre Trudeau, more than any other person, influenced the course of Canadian history in the twentieth century. From his entry into federal politics in 1965 to his resignation as leader of the Liberal Party and prime minister of Canada in 1984, Trudeau was at the centre of Canadian political life. Even before joining the Liberals in Ottawa Trudeau was an important intellectual figure in Canada and in the politics of his home province, Quebec. And after his departure from public life he continued to shape Canadian politics through his influential condemnations of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords on constitutional...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Six Influential Canadians
    (pp. 147-162)

    In the division of labour that characterizes intellectual life there are innovators – those who acquire original insights; scholars and researchers who evaluate and preserve the insights; communicators and educators who hand on the intellectual tradition; and citizens whose lives are enriched by deeper understanding and renewed public debate. We have focused on six innovators. Their careers have followed different paths and their forms ofengagementhave ranged from iconoclast to advisor to prime minister. What they have in common, however, is a passion for understanding the human condition – both locally and universally – and a desire to make a difference in...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 163-168)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 169-178)
  15. Index
    (pp. 179-184)