Prime Ministers and Others

Though many of Canada’s literati are discussed in the pages of Stories About Storytellers, many other influential Canadian were worthy of inclusion. As a young editor trying to get John Diefenbaker’s memoirs in 1968, Doug Gibson got off to a very bad start by sitting on Mrs. Diefenbaker’s smart little straw hat. Over the years, however, he came to work on their memoirs with three Prime Ministers. Pierre Trudeau grilled him fiercely before accepting his re-shaping suggestions. Later, when they had become friends, he almost killed Gibson by racing him across three lanes of Montreal traffic.

Brian Mulroney got along well with him, except when he accused him of desertion while he was on the author tour, and Gibson was off happily fishing in the Queen Charlotte Islands. They got over it, and Gibson writes about liking the hard-working Mulroney, even developing a new theory about the Karl-Heinz Schreiber affair.

Other major political figures crop up in the book, including Jean Chretien metaphorically throttling Gibson at a Rideau Club cocktail party. Perhaps most surprising is his chapter devoted to Paul Martin, whom Doug Gibson likes and admires, and describes as “the Prime Minister we never really got to know.”

Other distinguished Canadians who made their marks on our country, and who are given major attention in the book as important non-fiction authors include oral historian Barry Broadfoot, James “Igloo Dweller” Houston, the diplomatic Charles Ritchie, Robert “Greenpeace” Hunter, and the extraordinary journalist and author, Peter C. Newman.