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Peter O’Neil

28 November 2016 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The Vancouver Sun’s Peter O’Neil, veteran Ottawa correspondent, discusses his new book I Am a Metis: The Story of Gerry St. Germain (Harbour Publishing, 2016), with Joseph Planta.

I Am a Metis: The Story of Gerry St. Germain by Peter O’Neil (Harbour Publishing, 2016).

Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: I Am a Metis

Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

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

The Vancouver Sun’s Peter O’Neil joins me now. The veteran Parliament Hill journalist is the author of a new biography, I Am a Metis: The Story of Gerry St. Germain. It’s not only a great look at the remarkable life of one of Canadian politics most influential insiders, but a terrific view onto political history not only in Ottawa but British Columbia in the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 21st century. St. Germain’s life, which began on the shores of the Assiniboine, the eldest of three kids (the other two being sisters), whose father was a shy Metis trapper and construction worker, gives us a view onto a hardscrabble life that shapes St. Germain’s life. There are stints as an air force pilot, as a police officer, and a chicken farmer as well. But it’s business that propels him to politics and a seat in the House of Commons from the Lower Mainland here in BC in 1983, to a role in Brian Mulroney’s government when the Progressive Conservative Party wins in 1984. He’s finally named to the cabinet in 1988, but is defeated in the Free Trade election of that year. He goes on to become president of the party, and in those dark years of the 1990s and early 2000s when the right needed uniting, it was by this time Senator St. Germain who was at the fore. We see too in the book, his further Senate career during the Harper years, and his ongoing work with First Nations. Peter O’Neil has been in Ottawa covering national affairs since 1988. He is the former Paris-based Europe correspondent for Postmedia News, and was the 2005 recipient of a Jack Webster Award. He also received a Citation of Merit at the 2012 National Newspaper Awards. This new book is published by Harbour. In Ottawa today, please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Peter O’Neil; Mr. O’Neil, good morning.