Extraordinary Canadians Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baa

Publisher: Penguin Canada
Canada has no better interpreter than brilliant writer and thinker John Ralston Saul. Here he argues that modern Canada did not begin in 1867; rather its foundation was laid years earlier by two visionary men, Louis-Hipplyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. Opposites in temperament and driven by intense experiences of love and tragedy, together they developed principles and programs that would help unite the country.

After the 1841 union the two leaders of Lower and Upper Canada worked to create a reformist movement for responsible government run by elected citizens instead of a colonial governor. During the “Great Ministry” of 1848-51, despite violent opposition, they set about creating a more equitable nation. They revamped judicial institutions, established a public education system, made bilingualism official, and designed a network of public roads.

Writing with verve and deep convictions, Saul restores these two extraordinary Canadians to rightful prominence.


“Required reading for Canadians.” - The StarPhoenix (Regina)

“Saul explains in superb factual detail, the creation of our democratic foundation…. The most compelling part of Saul’s narrative is his description of the friendship that bonded the two men.” - Winnipeg Free Press

“Saul’s snappy, well-written biography of LaFontaine and Baldwin covers their personal as well as political lives and stresses the close friendship which played a pivotal role in setting the framework for a new and dynamic country. It is a book which should be well received.” - The London Free Press