The Power of the Pen

Overview

Arguably, Sir John Willison had more influence on the evolution of Canada’s emerging nationalism and public policy shifts than any other journalist had in his time or since.

Sir John Willison (1856-1927) was the most influential Canadian journalist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries while the country achieved economic growth, intellectual maturation, and world status. With his incisive pen and clear reasoning, Willison utilized Toronto’s Globe and News, his Times of London contributions, his many books and speeches, and his unparalleled connections with key political leaders to establish himself as a major national figure.

Uniquely, Willison was at the heart of both the Liberal and Conservative Parties as a devoted supporter and good friend of Sir Wilfrid Laurier; a first employer, early booster, and continual admirer of William Lyon Mackenzie King; and a close ally of Sir Robert Borden. Willison was a major player in the epochal federal political shifts of 1896, 1911, and 1917 and articulated highly influential views on the nature and evolution of Canadian nationalism and public policy.

Reviews

“In the style of our last true 'national historian,' Donald Creighton, with whom Clippingdale studied the historian's craft, the author capably explores 'the character and circumstances' that shaped a key player in a formative phase of Canadian history so as to illuminate both the man and his times.”

Dorchester Review

About the Authors

Richard Clippingdale

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Richard Clippingdale photo

Richard Clippingdale

Richard Clippingdale was the director of Canadian studies at Carleton University. He remains at Carleton today as adjunct professor in the same field. In addition to working as a senior federal civil servant, he was also policy adviser to the Right Honourable Joe Clark. Clippingdale's previous works include Laurier: His Life and World and Robert Stanfield's Canada. He lives in Ottawa.