June 24, 1932 |
|Occupation||publisher, author, political activist|
|Awards||Order of Canada|
Mel Hurtig, OC (born June 24, 1932) is a Canadian publisher, author, political activist and former political candidate. He was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and is the former president of the Edmonton Art Gallery. He has written several books critical of the Canadian government and its various policies.
Businessman and publisher
In 1956 he opened a book store which later grew into one of the largest retail book operations in Canada, with three locations. His stores featured staging of plays, readings of poetry, and encouraged social interaction, and even permitting drinking coffee.
After selling his stores in 1972, he established Hurtig Publishers. In 1980, he started work on The Canadian Encyclopedia, spending $12 million on a comprehensive national encyclopedia first published in 1985.
In September 1990, Hurtig published the five-volume Junior Encyclopedia of Canada, the first encyclopedia for young Canadians. He sold the company to McClelland & Stewart in May 1991.
In 1973, he broke with the party and joined with other nationalists including Walter Gordon, Jack McClelland, and Claude Ryan to establish the Committee for an Independent Canada (CIC) which lobbied against foreign investment and cultural imperialism. He served as Chair for the first year.
In 1985, Hurtig established Council of Canadians, another nationalist organization, five years after the demise of the CIC. The primary purpose of this organization was to lobby against a perceived rising tide of support for free trade. He would leave in 1992 but the council survives to this day.
In 1992, Hurtig was elected leader of the National Party of Canada and led it in the 1993 federal election. He ran in the riding of Edmonton Northwest, but with 4507 votes and 12.8% of the popular vote, finished a distant third to Anne McLellan. It was nonetheless the best showing of the National Party candidates in that election.
|Canadian federal election, 1972: Edmonton West|
|Progressive Conservative||Marcel Lambert||29,876|
|New Democratic||John Packer||6,770|
|Social Credit||Donald H. McLeod||1,419|
|Canadian federal election, 1993: Edmonton Northwest|
|Progressive Conservative||Murray Dorin||3,485|
|New Democratic||Stephanie Michaels||1,671|
|Natural Law||Ric Johnsen||186|
|No affiliation||Heide Zeeper||41|
- Canadian Book Publisher of the Year, 1974 and 1981
- Made an Officer of the Order of Canada, (1980)
- Honorary LL.D. degrees from York University (1980), Wilfrid Laurier University (1985), University of Lethbridge (1986), University of Alberta (1986), Concordia University (1990), University of British Columbia (1992)
- Eve Orpen Award for Publishing and Literary Excellence, 1985
- Silver Ribbon Award, City of Edmonton, 1985
- Centenary Medal, Royal Society of Canada, 1986
- Alberta Achievement Award, 1986
- Toastmasters International Communications and Leadership Award, 1986
- President's Award, Canadian Booksellers Association, 1986
- Quill Award, Windsor Press Club, 1986
- Speaker of the Year Award, Canadian Speech Communicators Association, 1986
- Corporate Citizen of the Year Award, Community of Business and Professional. Associates of Canada, 1988
- Lester B. Pearson Man of the Year Peace Award 1988
- Nationalism and Continentalism, 5 November 1981 speech at the Empire Club of Canada
- The Betrayal of Canada, 1991
- A New and Better Canada, policy statement for the National Party of Canada
- At Twilight in the Country/Memoirs of a Canadian Nationalist, 1996
- Pay the Rent or Feed the Kids, 2000
- The Vanishing Country, 2002
- Rushing to Armageddon, 2004
- The Truth About Canada, 2008