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Gerald Friesen Book Launch

Wednesday Apr 24 2024 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium, Streaming on YouTube

Join Gerald Friesen for the launch of The Honourable John Norquay: Indigenous Premier, Canadian Statesman (University of Manitoba Press). Gerald will be joined in conversation by Don Norquay, former deputy minister in the Manitoba government, to discuss the family’s history, the famous premier, and this new biography of a Canadian statesman.

The launch will be hosted live in the Atrium of McNally Robinson Booksellers, Grant Park and also available as a simultaneous YouTube stream.

John Norquay, orphan and prodigy, was a leader among the Scots Cree peoples of western Canada. Born in the Red River Settlement, he farmed, hunted, traded, and taught school before becoming a legislator, cabinet minister, and, from 1878 to 1887, premier of Manitoba.

Once described as Louis Riel’s alter ego, he skirmished with prime minister John A. Macdonald, clashed with railway baron George Stephen, and endured racist taunts while championing the interests of the Prairie West in battles with investment bankers, Ottawa politicians, and the CPR. His contributions to the development of Canada’s federal system and his dealings with issues of race and racism deserve attention today.

This biography of the Premier from Red River sheds welcome light on a neglected historical figure and a tumultuous time for Canada and Manitoba.

Gerald Friesen taught Canadian history at the University of Manitoba from 1970–2011. He has written several books, including The Canadian Prairies: A History and Citizens and Nation, and is co-author of Immigrants in Prairie Cities. Former president of the Canadian Historical Association, he was an advisor on CBC-Radio Canada’s television series Canada: A People’s History. He lives in Winnipeg.

See:

The Honourable John Norquay

- Gerald Friesen

Hardcover $39.95
Reader Reward Price: $35.96

The life and times of the Premier from Red River 

John Norquay, orphan and prodigy, was a leader among the Scots Cree peoples of western Canada. Born in the Red River Settlement, he farmed, hunted, traded, and taught school before becoming a legislator, cabinet minister, and, from 1878 to 1887, premier of Manitoba.

Once described as Louis Riel's alter ego, he skirmished with prime minister John A. Macdonald, clashed with railway baron George Stephen, and endured racist taunts while championing the interests of the Prairie West in battles with investment bankers, Ottawa politicians, and the CPR. His contributions to the development of Canada's federal system and his dealings with issues of race and racism deserve attention today.

Recounted here by Canadian historian Gerald Friesen, Norquay's life story ignites contemporary conversations around the nature of empire and Canada's own imperial past. Drawing extensively on recently opened letters and financial papers that offer new insights into his business, family, and political life, Friesen reveals Norquay to be a thoughtful statesman and generous patriarch. This masterful biography of the Premier from Red River sheds welcome light on a neglected historical figure and a tumultuous time for Canada and Manitoba.