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How Canadians Govern Themselves

by Eugene A. Forsey
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Note on the Author


The Honourable Eugene A. Forsey, 1904-1991© Jean-Marc Carisse
The Honourable Eugene A. Forsey, 1904-1991
The Honourable Eugene A. Forsey© Jean-Marc Carisse was widely regarded as one of Canada’s foremost experts on the country’s Constitution.

Born in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, he attended McGill University in Montreal and studied at Britain’s Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to his PhD, he also received numerous honorary degrees.

From 1929 to 1941, Mr. Forsey served as a lecturer in economics and political science at McGill.

In 1942, he became director of research for the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), a post he held for 14 years. From 1956 to 1966, he served as director of research for the CCL’s successor, the Canadian Labour Congress, and from 1966 to 1969, as director of a special project marking Canada’s centennial, a history of Canadian unions from 1812 to 1902.

During most of his union career, he taught Canadian government at Carleton University in Ottawa and, later, Canadian government and Canadian labour history at the University of Waterloo. From 1973 to 1977, he served as chancellor of Trent University.

Mr. Forsey ran for public office four times for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). In the 1930s, he helped draft the Regina Manifesto, the CCF’s founding declaration of policy.

Mr. Forsey was appointed to the Senate in 1970. He retired in 1979 at the mandatory retirement age of 75, and in 1985 was named to the Privy Council. In 1988, he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest level of membership. The Honourable Eugene A. Forsey died on February 20, 1991, leaving Canadians a rich legacy of knowledge of how we are governed.

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