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André Pratte, Chief Editorial Writer, La Presse

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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The Empire Club of Canada Presents:
André Pratte, Chief Editorial Writer, La Presse With What Does the PQ Government Mean for Quebec? For Canada?

Editorial editors are normally an unrecognized—and frequently disrespected—breed in journalism. They are often accused of being obvious, irrelevant or naïve by jealous reporters. Their job, in the cliché of self-described “working journalists,” is to “Come down from the hills, after the battle is over, to shoot the wounded.”

Usually anonymous—except in Quebec and some European centres where they get a byline—they get blamed for the editorial positions that are the publisher’s insistence and little credit for
blazing new trails. I know because I am the son of one such grumpy former editor.

My friend, André Pratte, is not one of those. In a 30-year career as one of Quebec’s most serious political writers, he has spent the last decade building the editorial reputation of the La Presse
editorial page with great courage, determination and occasional humour. His colleagues have endorsed that view naming him the best editorial writer in Canada in three separate years.
An author in his spare time, his life of Laurier, published last year is a fabulous addition to the thin shelf of Canadian political biography, and a great addition to his oeuvre of five other books.
But it is his championship of a new Canadian federalism for which he is most infamous at home, and most famous in English Canada.

It is hard to describe to a Toronto audience what resolve, and what courage, his eloquent defense of federalism means to someone of his prominence in Quebec. Perhaps a comparison might be an editor of the Toronto Star endorsing Rob Ford, over and over and joining the attack on his enemies.

André Pratte, Chief Editorial Writer, La Presse

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