Stephen Lewis

(CP / Adrian Wyld)

(CP / Adrian Wyld)

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Michael Enright and Stephen Lewis go way back ... forty-two years in fact. Michael was a reporter for the now-defunct Globe Magazine, covering the NDP leadership race in Ontario. Mr. Lewis was a candidate.

In his piece, Michael described Mr. Lewis as "looking terribly young and a bit hip, like a newly hatched Jesuit about to give his ordination sermon," and as "the kid you couldn't stand in high school". And Michael has been following his trajectory ever since.

Stephen Lewis is arguably Canada's most tenacious and persistent advocate for social justice. In fact, many people would say you could drop the arguably.

His list of causes is long and it is daunting: human rights abuses, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, gender inequality, civil liberties, poverty and homelessness at home and abroad, children in armed conflict, global warming, and access to healthcare in the developing world.

Over the years, he has railed against and actively lobbied dozens of entrenched institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the many governments of "have" nations that are unwilling to support those who "have not". 

Not unable, he says.  Unwilling.

Stephen Lewis has received dozens of awards and honours from governments and professional organizations and 37 honorary degrees from universities. 

On Remembrance Day, he turned 75.  Birthdays are often a time to reflect, and that's what he and Michael did when Mr. Lewis visited our studio shortly after that milestone.

This interview originally aired in January.

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