National Affairs Columnist for The Toronto Star
As the National Affairs writer for the Toronto Star, Chantal Hébert is an influential voice on major national issues of the day. But what makes her perspective unique is that, more than any of her peers, she has immersed herself in French-English duality that defines this nation. Fluently bilingual, she is an outstanding choice for national conferences and able to provide insight into the many different cultures that make up Canada's political reality. In addition to her role at the Star, Hebert is a columnist for L’Actualité (for which she won a gold National Magazine Award in 2014) and a weekly participant on the "At Issue" political panel on CBC's The National.
Hebert is a Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto and holds honorary doctorates from Bishop’s, York University, the University of Western Ontario, and Concordia University. She has served as parliamentary bureau chief for Le Devoir and La Presse and is a recipient of two Asia-Pacific media fellowships (Malaysia and Japan). She has received the APEX Public Service Award, the Hy Solomon award for excellence in journalism and public policy, and York University's Pinnacle Achievement Bryden Alumni award. She is an officer of the Order of Canada and is a regular participant in many television and radio current affairs programs, in both national languages.
The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was
A sly, insightful and wonderfully original book from one of Canada's most popular political analysts, Chantal Hébert, and one of Quebec's top political broadcasters, Jean Lapierre.
Only the most fearless of political journalists would dare to open the old wounds of the 1995 Quebec referendum, a still-murky episode in Canadian history that continues to defy our understanding. The referendum brought one of the world's most successful democracies to the brink of the unknown, and yet Quebecers' attitudes toward sovereignty continue to baffle the country's political class. Interviewing 17 key political leaders from the duelling referendum camps, Hébert and Lapierre begin with a simple premise: asking what were these political leaders' plans if the vote had gone the other way. Even two decades later, their answers may shock you. And in asking an unexpected question, these veteran political observers cleverly expose the fractures, tensions and fears that continue to shape Canada today.
French Kiss: Stephen Harper's Blind Date with Quebec
Chantal Hébert’s first book is both a post-mortem of the Canadian federation that died on January 23, 2006, the night of the last federal election, as well as a brilliant examination of our changing political future, one that involves living with Quebec rather than just wooing it.
On that night, award-winning political writer and broadcaster Chantal Hébert stood in a Calgary convention hall with 2,000 Alberta Conservatives, who were raucously cheering the election of ten Tory MPs from Quebec. The Conservatives would not have gotten their man in office without Quebec, and now the future success of the Harper government hinges on turning this one-night stand into a long-term relationship.
More than ten years ago, the Quebec-Alberta coalition cobbled together by Brian Mulroney dissolved, leading to the births of the Bloc Québecois and the Reform Party. As a result, Alberta and Quebec took their marbles out of federal play, and Ontario got to run Canada.
Have we now come full circle? By the time this book is published, the Liberal Party of Canada may have morphed into the Liberal Party of Ontario (or Toronto). And the Canadian Left will have chosen a camp in preparation for a decisive federal election battle.
Provocative and always worth listening to, Chantal Hébert is at her savvy and insightful best in French Kiss. No Canadian can be truly informed on the subject of Canadian politics without the benefit of her non-partisan commentary.