John Turner

Title: “John Turner: An Intimate : Steve Paikin

Steve Paikin, a revered Canadian journalist and author, dives headfirst into the life and career of John Turner, Canada’s 17th Prime Minister, in his latest book, “John Turner: A Life in Politics.” Paikin combines thorough research and exceptional storytelling to flesh out a man often misunderstood or underappreciated in the annals of Canadian political history.

The biography is comprehensive, delving into Turner’s childhood, his journey into the world of politics, his ascent to the highest office in the land, and his post-political life. Paikin’s strong analytical skills shine as he dissects Turner’s character and decisions, lending insight into Turner’s motivation, fears, and aspirations.

John Turner’s time as Prime Minister was short-lived, and this, coupled with his longer tenure as Minister of Finance and Justice under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, makes for a compelling political story. Paikin’s handling of Turner’s role in these key positions is deft, showing both Turner’s strengths and weaknesses, his victories and failures.

One of the book’s standout features is Paikin’s portrayal of Turner’s commitment to the democratic process and parliamentary decorum. Drawing from first-hand interviews and meticulous research, Paikin paints a picture of a man who fervently believed in the value of democratic debate, parliamentary institutions, and individual liberties.

However, as with any biographical piece, there’s always the danger of the narrative becoming hagiographic. Paikin treads this line carefully, highlighting Turner’s commitment to public service and democratic values while not shying away from discussing the more controversial aspects of his career.

“John Turner: A Life in Politics” also examines the complex dynamics of Turner’s relationships, both personal and professional. The portrayal of Turner’s relationship with Pierre Trudeau, in particular, is a fascinating exploration of rivalry, respect, and political maneuvering.

Overall, Paikin’s latest offering is a well-rounded, engaging biography. It will appeal to those interested in Canadian politics, history, or just a compelling story about a man who believed in the power and importance of public service. The book, comprehensive yet approachable, is an excellent testament to a fascinating figure in Canadian politics.

While the book might not sway those who see Turner as a short-term PM with limited impact, it provides an in-depth look at Turner’s life and political career. It highlights the valuable lessons that can be drawn from his dedication to democratic principles and his belief in the power of reasoned debate. In the end, it leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the man and the political landscape in which he operated.