8.Peter C. Newman, 81, journalist, author and editor Why? For remaining Canada’s “most cussed and discussed” political and economic commentator For five decades, Peter C. Newman has been a groundbreaking chronicler of Canada’s life and times. His Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years, published in 1963, changed the way political biography was done and as a result, changed the way Canadians perceived their political leaders. To that point, the “traditional British screen of dignified sanctity” (as one reviewer aptly described it) had helped maintain the illusion that the private and public actions of politicians were wholly separate and mutually exclusive. but after 1963, the idea that Parliamentary minutes and party platforms offered a complete picture of Ottawa seemed quaint. It was Newman’s willingness to poke through and catalogue the guts and bile of Canadian politics that had given us our first peek behind the veil. At 81, Newman’s still wrist-deep in innards. In addition to the weekly column of political and business-world commentary he continues to produce for Maclean’s, he has just finished two new collections of his writing to be released on Oct. 15. Heroes: Canadian Champions, Dark Horses and Icons and Mavericks: Canadian Rebels, Renegades and Anti-Heroes are complementary compendiums of the best of Newman’s 50-year career as selected by the author himself. each offers dozens of intimate portraits of prominent Canadians, past and present, from the worlds of pop culture, business and politics. Newman is also working on an as-yet-untitled book about Michael Ignatieff and the current state of the Liberal Party of canada. Slated for release next year, Newman’s profile of Ignatieff will be his first political biography since 2006’s controversial The Secret Mulroney Tapes, which exposed former prime minister brian Mulroney’s shockingly blunt opinions of Ottawa’s political players and press gallery. In a world of live-blogging, new media, paywalls and 24-hour news channels, where established newspapers struggle to stay afloat and the definition of reportage seems to be increasingly fluid and turbulent, Peter C. Newman is a glorious anomaly. For five decades, we have been fascinated and sometimes repelled by the portraits of power he has revealed to us. In 2010, he is still the first person we turn to when we want a peek behind the veil.
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