2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing Winner

Stephen Harper

John Ibbitson
Stephen Harper
Signal/McClelland & Stewart


Norman Hillmer

Jury Citation

The many ways in which Canada changed during Stephen Harper’s nearly 10 years in power have been well documented. But the man himself has remained a mystery. With impressive access and meticulous research, John Ibbitson writes a remarkable biography that puts us inside Harper’s head during some of the most critical moments of his life, providing the definitive picture to date of one of the most significant Prime Ministers in Canadian history. From his decision to drop out of university to his tumultuous relationship with Reform Leader Preston Manning, from his first date with Laureen to his majority win, Harper is captured magnificently in this gripping read for all Canadians.

About the Book

Stephen Harper reshaped Canada into a more conservative country; a transformation that his opponents tacitly admit will never be reversed. He made government smaller, justice tougher, and provinces more independent. In this comprehensive biography, John Ibbitson explores the life of the most important Canadian of our times—his suburban youth, the crisis that caused Harper to quit university for three years, the forces that shaped his tempestuous relationship with Reform Leader Preston Manning, how Laureen Harper influences her husband, his devotion to his children—and his cats. Ibbitson explains how this shy, closed, introverted loner united a fractured conservative movement, defeated a Liberal hegemony, and set out to reshape the nation. Read an excerpt.

About the Author

John Ibbitson is the Globe and Mail’s writer-at-large based in the Ottawa bureau. Previously, he was the newspaper’s Queen’s Park columnist, Ottawa political affairs correspondent, and Washington columnist and correspondent. He is the author of three earlier works of political analysis, including The Polite Revolution: Perfecting the Canadian Dream. He is a past finalist for the Donner Prize, a Governor General’s Award, a National Newspaper Award, a Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction. He lives in Ottawa.




Woodcock Fund



Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 20 and September 18, 2018


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