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266 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Nogler=s experience of being Anne in Japan=s >Canadian World.= Whether or not the personal approach appeals to the reader, it does further illustrate how tightly Montgomery=s works have woven communities. Indeed, Avonlea is created over and over again by all who visit there. (ELAINE OSTRY) Lita-Rose Betcherman. Ernest Lapointe: Mackenzie King=s Quebec Lieutenant University of Toronto Press. xi, 426. $60.00 I strongly suspect that if one canvassed a statistically relevant slice of Canadians, almost none of the respondents would be able to identify Ernest Lapointe. Indeed, if one were to do the same thing in Lapointe=s beloved home province of Quebec, I doubt the results would be any more favourable. As a strongly federalist politician from a province whose recent political heroes bear a distinctly nationalist stamp, Monsieur Lapointe has all but vanished from modern Québécois consciousness. Countless Quebec towns and cities have named streets after controversial figures such as Abbé Groulx and René Levesque, but outside of his home town of Rivière-duLoup , Lapointe remains quite unrecognized and mostly unknown, a sad state of affairs for a man who played a key role in Canadian and Quebec politics prior to his tragic death from cancer in late 1941. But in Canadian historical circles at least, Lapointe=s political life has undergone a recent, and perhaps surprising, rebirth. First, in 1999 John MacFarlane published a fine and well-received account of Lapointe=s influence on the formulation of Canadian foreign policy for over two decades. And then in 2002, Lita-Rose Betcherman, a historian and labour activist whose previous studies have focused on communism and fascism in Canada prior to the Second World War, offered up this lengthy monograph dealing with Lapointe=s political career in its entirety. Betcherman=s book is a mixed success. While MacFarlane=s focus was, by design, fairly narrow, Betcherman has tried to give us a fuller measure of the man. Thus, there are many, and often quite fascinating, glimpses of Ernest Lapointe as a devoted family man and ambitious politician. Lapointe had strong views on a variety of issues; for example, he viewed Abbé Groulx=s strident attempts to link a burgeoning French Canadian nationalism to religion as >monstrous.= Furthermore, Lapointe, who had entertained vain hopes of occupying the post of secretary of state of external affairs (a post King would not relinquish until after the end of the Second World War), was quite isolationist and suspicious of Britain in the 1930s, but then in March 1939, as another global war seemed all too likely, made it clear to Quebec that Canada could not remain on the sidelines if Britain was threatened by German military might. It was, perhaps, his finest political moment, with Lapointe appealing to French Canadians for their humanities 267 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 understanding while assuring English Canadians that Quebec would answer the trumpet=s call if Britain faced attack. But there are problems with this monograph. While Lapointe=s tenure as minister of justice is well handled (he declined, for example, to overrule Quebec=s controversial Padlock Law of 1937 while declaring as ultra vires various legislative acts put forward by Alberta=s Social Credit government), Betcherman=s treatment of Lapointe=s foreign policy interests is far less sure. There are numerous errors of fact, such as the misnaming of the CCF B the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, not the Canadian Cooperative Federation B while Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, not 1932. Indeed, much of the secondary research for this book dates back to the period prior to the 1980s, leading one to suspect that this manuscript may well have been completed a good many years ago, only to be pulled more recently, perhaps half-forgotten, from a desk drawer. Much better use could have been made of MacFarlane=s work, as well as Paul Bychok=s 1995 MA thesis from Queen=s University. There are a handful of references made to these works, but they seem to have been rather clumsily added to a dated...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 266-267
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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