Janet Ajzenstat

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Janet Ajzenstat is professor emeritus of political science at McMaster University. The author of numerous works on Canadian political history, she is best known for The Political Thought of Lord Durham, where she argues that Durham's call for French-Canadian assimilation was consistent with liberal principles.

Her view of Canadian federalism, which dismisses the idea of special status for Quebec or Aboriginals, provoked much scholarly debate, especially following the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord.[1] Ajzenstat also contends that judicial activism undercuts the foundation of responsible government;[2] as a result, her work is well received by conservative scholars, such as Barry Cooper and Stephen Harper's former chief of staff Ian Brodie.[3]

Ajzenstat received her PhD from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Peter H. Russell. While a doctoral student, she was a teaching assistant for Allan Bloom's introductory political philosophy course. She has described Bloom as a major influence on her own thought.[4]

As an undergraduate at University College, University of Toronto, Ajzenstat majored in art and archeology. Following graduation in 1959, she worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario, only turning to Political Science in the mid-1960s. She is married to philosopher and fellow McMaster professor Samuel Ajzenstat. Their daughter, Oona Eisenstadt is a professor of Jewish studies at Pomona College. Their son, Sandor Ajzenstat, is a Canadian artist specializing in what is known as Soundsculpture.

On her blog she comments on current affairs. [1]


  1. ^ Guy Laforest, Trudeau and the End of A Canadian Dream, MQUP.
  2. ^ Janet Ajzenstat The Once and Future Canadian Democracy
  3. ^ http://mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=1613
  4. ^ The Political Thought of Lord Durham, PhD. Dissertation, University of Toronto, 1979