Books

Beverley McLachlin among finalists for $25K Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

The former Supreme Court Justice is nominated for her memoir Truth Be Told. The winner will be announced on Sept. 23, 2020.

The former Supreme Court Justice is nominated for her memoir Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told is a memoir by Beverley McLachlin. (Jean-Marc Carisse, Simon & Schuster)

Beverley McLachlin is one of five writers nominated for the 2020 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

The former chief justice of the Supreme Court is being recognized for her memoir Truth Be Told.

The annual $25,000 award celebrates the best political writing in Canada.

Truth Be Told shares McLachlin's journey from growing up in rural Alberta to spending 28 years on the Supreme Court — 17 of them as chief justice — where she helped shape Canadian law and governance, including legislation on sex work and mandatory minimum prison sentences

Also nominated is former crown prosecutor Harold R. Johnson for his book Peace and Good Order: The Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada.

In Peace and Good OrderJohnson makes the case that Canada is failing to fulfil its legal duty to deliver justice to Indigenous people. In fact, he argues, Canada is making the situation worse and creating even more long-term damage to Indigenous communities. 

University of Toronto law professor Kent Roach is a finalist for Canadian Justice, Indigenous Injustice: The Gerald Stanley and Colten Boushie Case, which looks at the trial of Gerald Stanley, who was acquitted in the 2016 death of Colten Boushie. The book made headlines in 2019 when Boushie's family said they were not informed of the book's publication or consulted on it.


Journalist Jonathan Manthorpe is a finalist for Claws of the Panda: Beijing's Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada, which looks at Canada's diplomatic relationship with China.

Adam Chapnick, who is a professor at Royal Military College of Canada, is nominated for Canada on the United Nations Security Council: A Small Power on a Large Stage, which looks at Canada's quest for a seat on the UN Security Council.

The jury was comprised of federal government historian Greg Donaghy, Huffington Post Canada's Ottawa bureau chief Althia Raj and senator Paula Simons.

The winner will be announced on Sept. 23, 2020. The four remaining finalists will each receive $2,500.

Last year's winner was Boys: What It Means to Become a Man by Rachel Giese.

Other past winners include Kamal Al Solaylee, Jane Jacobs and Roméo Dallaire.

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