The Churchill Society
Christopher Dummitt: What’s so evil about the Notwithstanding Clause?
The Notwithstanding Clause is perhaps the most obscure part of Canada’s constitutional history that everyone loves to hate. Ever since 1982 critics have attacked Section 33 as an unfortunate compromise that negates the Charter’s great promise of human rights. When the Quebec government invoked Section 33 to allow them to pass otherwise unconstitutional language laws, many in the rest of Canada were irate. Ever since, each time a government invokes or threatens to invoke the Notwithstanding Clause, the same criticisms re-emerge. In this talk historian Christopher Dummitt explains the origins of the clause, including how pivotal it was to ensuring repatriation, and places it within the long and vital history of responsible and parliamentary government in Canada. Christopher Dummitt is Professor of Canadian history at Trent University and host of the podcast 1867 & All That. His book Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life was shortlisted for several major awards including the best book on Canadian politics from the Writers Trust in 2017. He writes on history, politics and culture in venues like the Literary Review of Canada, the National Post, The Hub, and Quillette. He is currently conducting research on the state of academic freedom and viewpoint diversity in Canada and researching a book on the final decade of the life of former prime minister Mackenzie King. The Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy is a non-partisan, charitable organization that honours the life of Sir Winston Churchill by facilitating education, discussion and debate about Canada’s parliamentary democracy. The Yorkminster Park Speakers Series offers continuing education lectures by outstanding speakers on topics of general interest.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
The Undoing of History
University enrollment in history majors has slid farther and faster than most any other humanities discipline. Yet, popular engagement with history is thriving through podcasts and documentaries. The Agenda discusses what's going on, particularly in a time that desperately needs reliable historical knowledge?
Christopher Dummitt on his award-nominated book “Unbuttoned”
Canadian historian Christopher Dummitt talks about the diary of Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s diary – a 30,000-page diary documenting his private life in obsessive detail – and the gradual process through which its intimate contents became known to the public. With commentary from two members of the prize jury (Taiaiake Alfred and Joseph Heath) and an introduction from House of Commons curator Johanna Mizgala. Dummitt was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for this book. This video was produced by Shaw Communications for the 2018 Politics and the Pen event.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin
A Changing Canada and Mackenzie King
In his latest book, "Unbuttoned," Christopher Dummitt charts how within a matter of years former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King went from being a great statesman to an eccentric in the eyes of the Canadian public. Dummit joins The Agenda to discuss King's transformation and what it revealed about a changing Canadian society.