The Agenda

No journalist in Canada knows more about politics – and a lot of other topics – than Steve Paikin, host of The Agenda on TVOntario. In addition to being an excellent broadcaster, Paikin has written several books including Public Triumph, Private Tragedy on John Robarts and Paikin and the Premiers, a personal reflection on the last 50 years of Ontario politics. He is currently working on a biography of Bill Davis, Ontario Premier from 1971-1984.

So it was a pleasure and a privilege for me to be asked by Paikin to come into the TVO studios to talk about my most recent book, Thumper: The Memoirs of Donald S. Macdonald. Paikin had not only read the book carefully, we also had almost 30 minutes to talk about the many themes in Macdonald’s life. How different an experience than the usual fast-and-furious five-minute dash before which the the interviewer takes you aside and says, “I’m sorry, but I haven’t had a chance to read your book.” 

You can watch the TVO interview here

In addition to serving in four cabinet posts in the government of Pierre Trudeau, Macdonald was also chairman of the Royal Commission in the 1980s that lead to free trade with the U.S. From 1988-1991, he was Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. At the time, he and his wife Adrian lived in Macdonald House (named after Sir John, not Don) on Grosvenor Square in London’s Mayfair. The rest of the offices were in Canada House, on Trafalgar Square. The government has since sold Macdonald House while renovating and expanding Canada House that was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen last month. The website makes the place look like a foreign presence about which any Canadian can feel proud. 

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