A new biography of polarizing NDP MP Svend Robinson hits stores this month. Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics, by Ottawa writer Graeme Truelove, tells the story of the long-time federal MP, from his Minnesota roots and UBC student days, to his soaring career and humbling fall as a star in the Canadian political firmanent.
Hard-working and mediagenic, Robinson, representing working-class Burnaby, BC in Parliament from 1979 to 2004, learned early how to garner headlines for the many causes he embraced, along the way gaining the wrath of his political enemies as well as many journalists who resented his media skills, while winning the admiration and respect of millions of Canadians on whose behalf he fought. Robinson used his popularity and political skills to advance the causes of First Nations, consumer safety, political refugees, gays and lesbians, and the right of the terminally ill to die on their own terms, among many other battles he took on.
Truelove, who conducted numerous interviews with Robinson, doesn’t shy from the controversial aspects of Robinson’s career — his head-butting with party leaders and colleagues, the rocky relationship with Dave Barrett and the BC provincial NDP, the infamous “chicken book” incident, his near-fatal fall while hiking, and the incident which brought his career to a sudden halt, the 2004 theft of a diamond ring.
Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics launches in three cities. The Vancouver launch is Friday, November 15 at 7 pm at the Bill Reid Gallery, 639 Hornby Street. The Ottawa launch is Tuesday, November 19 at 5:30 pm at D’arcy McGee’s Irish Pub, 44 Sparks Street. Books will be provided by Books on Beechwood. The Toronto launch is Saturday, November 30 at 2 pm at Frontier College, 35 Jackes Avenue, where the Glad Day Bookshop is the bookseller of record.
Admission to the launches is free. Svend Robinson himself is expected to attend the launches in all three cities.
Copies of Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics go on sale this week at 32 Books, Another Story, Ben McNally Books, Black Bond Books, Bolen Books, Books on Beechwood, Laughing Oyster Bookshop, Mill Street Books, McNally Robinson Booksellers, Mosaic Books, Munro’s, Octopus Books, People’s Co-op Bookstore, Perfect Books, Talewind Books, Volume I Bookstore, Words Worth Books, University of Calgary Bookstore, Yellowknife Book Cellar, York University Bookstore, Archambault, Chapters, Indigo, Amazon.ca, Indigo.ca, and New Star’s own website.