Chantal Hébert

A bilingual nation needs bilingual voices—analysts who see both sides of the story.

National Affairs Columnist for The Toronto Star

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Chantal Hébert | National Affairs Columnist for The Toronto Star

Given Canada’s historic linguistic duality, it helps to have political commentators who not only understand that reality, but who have actually lived it. Chantal Hébert is one such commentator. Knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and direct, she cuts through the spin and hype of the politicians and their operatives to help audiences see what’s really going on in the corridors of power. 

In her new book, The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day That Almost Was, Hébert examines the 1995 Quebec referendum, a still-murky episode in Canadian history that continues to defy our understanding. Drawing on interviews with 17 key political leaders from the duelling referendum camps, she cleverly expose the fractures, tensions and fears that continue to shape Canada today. Her previous book, French Kiss: Stephen Harper’s Blind Date with Quebec, offers a brilliant examination of our changing political future, one that involves living with Quebec rather than just wooing it. Stephen Harper would not have gained power without the Conservatives’ surprising ten seats in Quebec, Hébert says. Now, the future success of his government hinges on whether he can sustain a long-term relationship with the province. Hébert, as usual, gives an incisive and non-partisan account of the situation. 


“[Chantal Hébert] may be the country’s most consistently insightful analyst of federal politics, especially as it plays in Quebec.”


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, Hébert 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.


Hébert 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.