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Gordon Hawkins

The author Gordon Hawkins discusses his biography of Amor De Cosmos, The De Cosmos Enigma (Ronsdale Press, 2015), with Joseph Planta.


The De Cosmos Enigma by Gordon Hawkins (Ronsdale Press, 2015).

Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: The De Cosmos Enigma [1]


Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.

The life of Amor De Cosmos is revisited with a new biography of one of Canada’s most eccentric of politicians. He was British Columbia’s second premier, as well as a Member of Parliament, just as the province joined Confederation. In fact, he was in the house about a decade. Born William Smith in Nova Scotia, he changed his name to Amor De Cosmos, ‘lover of the universe,’ while in California. This new book, The De Cosmos Enigma, charts the life of a quiet clerk in Nova Scotia, going across the continent through Salt Lake City and some controversy there, through to the gold rush in California, up to Victoria, where De Cosmos founded the British Colonist newspaper and argued for union between Vancouver Island and the mainland, and later in politics, argued for joining Confederation. Gordon Hawkins, the book’s author joins me now. I’ll ask him about what attracted him to write about Amor De Cosmos, and why perhaps he’s not as well-known as he ought to be. Gordon Hawkins has degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Toronto. He served in naval intelligence during World War II, and later presented the CBC television and radio program Citizen’s Forum. He is a Member of the Royal Victorian Order, and lives in Victoria, where he joins me from today. The book is published by Ronsdale Press. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Gordon Hawkins; Mr. Hawkins, good morning.