An inside look at the thoughts and convictions of a very public figure through his speeches on Canadian unity.
From the book:
"At the invitation of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, I entered the Federal Cabinet on January 25, 1996, without any direct political experience but driven by my convictions on Canadian unity and determined to defend them in complete frankness and in all circumstances. These convictions have become stronger and clearer over the course of my dialogue with Canadians. They have guided my actions as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and have nourished my writings and speeches on national unity. I have submitted them for public debate throughout the country, in both official languages, even in places where I knew full well that they would be unpopular."
So begins this collection of Stéphane Dion's speeches from 1996 to 1998. Organized around four central themes, Straight Talk shows the breadth and strength of Dion's convictions. Dion believes that Canada is first and foremost a nation of caring people, in contrast to the image projected by the endless, dry constitutional debate. He argues that the melding of diversity and unity that is the basis of this nation is possible only because of the particular federalism that Canadians have invented. This federalism, however, is far from perfect and it is the responsibility of government to continue to work to improve it, always remembering that its core must be the quality of service it provides to Canadians.
Dion believes that the Quebec question is not a constitutional question but one that concerns identity: many francophones believe that their identity and culture are not respected in the rest of Canada and see the anglophone majority as a force for assimilation, while many in other provinces feel that separatists do not share the same values of openness and tolerance. He believes strongly that the secession process the Parti Québecois has proposed - effecting independence on the basis of incorrect legal theory, an unclear referendum question, and a majority of fifty percent plus one - is difficult to reconcile with democracy and raises questions that must be discussed openly and resolved democratically.
Straight Talk is a refreshingly honest and frank discussion about a matter that has been at the forefront of Canadian's thoughts for too many years.