Mel Hurtig
Mel Hurtig, is a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 publisher, author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

, political activist and former political candidate
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...


He was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the former president of the Edmonton Art Gallery.

Businessman and Publisher

In 1956 he opened a book store which later grew into one of the largest retail book operations in Canada, with three locations. His stores featured staging of plays, readings of poetry, and encouraged social interaction, and even permitting drinking coffee.

After selling his stores in 1972, he established Hurtig Publishers. In 1980, he started work on The Canadian Encyclopedia
The Canadian Encyclopedia
The Canadian Encyclopedia is a source of information on Canada. It is available online, at no cost. The Canadian Encyclopedia is available in both English and French and includes some 14,000 articles in each language on a wide variety of subjects including history, popular culture, events, people,...

, spending $12 million on a comprehensive national encyclopedia first published in 1985.

In September 1990, Hurtig published the five-volume Junior Encyclopedia of Canada, the first encyclopedia for young Canadians. He sold the company to McClelland & Stewart in May 1991.


After supporting Pierre Trudeau's
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

 bid for Liberal
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

 leadership, he ran as a Liberal in the federal riding of Edmonton West
Edmonton West
Edmonton West was a federal electoral district in Alberta, Canada, that was represented in the Canadian House of Commons from 1917 to 1988 and from 1997 to 2004.-Demographics:-History and geography:...

, in 1972 but finished close second to longtime incumbent Marcel Lambert
Marcel Lambert
Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert, was a Canadian politician and Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons .Lambert was born in Edmonton to a French-Canadian father and a Belgian mother...


In 1973, he broke with the party and joined with other Canadian Nationalist such as Walter Gordon
Walter L. Gordon
Walter Lockhart Gordon, PC, CC, FCA was a Canadian accountant, businessman, politician, and writer.-Education:...

, Jack McClelland, and Claude Ryan
Claude Ryan
Claude Ryan, was a Canadian politician and leader of the Parti libéral du Québec from 1978 to 1982. He was also the National Assembly of Quebec member for Argenteuil from 1979 to 1994.-Early life and career:...

 to establish the Committee for an Independent Canada. He served as Chair for the first year. This organization lobbied against foreign investment and cultural imperialism.

In 1985, he established Council of Canadians, another nationalist organization, five years after the demise of the CIC. The primary purpose of this organization was to lobby against the rising tide of support for free trade. He would leave in 1992, but the council survives to this day.

In 1992, Hurtig was elected leader of the National Party of Canada
National Party of Canada
The National Party of Canada was a short-lived Canadian political party that contested the 1993 federal election. The party should not be confused by an earlier and unrelated National Party that was founded in 1979.-Formation:...

 and led it in the 1993 federal election
Canadian federal election, 1993
The Canadian federal election of 1993 was held on October 25 of that year to elect members to the Canadian House of Commons of the 35th Parliament of Canada. Fourteen parties competed for the 295 seats in the House at that time...

. He ran in the riding of Edmonton Northwest
Edmonton Northwest
Edmonton Northwest was a federal electoral district in Alberta, Canada, that was represented in the Canadian House of Commons from 1988 to 1997.It was created in 1987 from parts of Edmonton East, Edmonton North, Edmonton West and Pembina ridings...

, but lost to Anne McLellan
Anne McLellan

, finishing a distant third, but still with 4507 votes and 12.8% of the popular vote, by far the best showing of the National Party candidates.


  • Canadian Book Publisher of the Year, 1974 and 1981
  • Made an Officer of the Order of Canada
    Order of Canada
    The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

    , (1980)
  • Honorary LL.D. degrees from York University
    York University
    York University is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is Canada's third-largest university, Ontario's second-largest graduate school, and Canada's leading interdisciplinary university....

     (1980), Wilfrid Laurier University
    Wilfrid Laurier University
    Wilfrid Laurier University is a university located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It also has campuses in Brantford, Ontario, Kitchener, Ontario and Toronto, Ontario and a future proposed campus in Milton, Ontario. It is named in honour of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada....

     (1985), University of Lethbridge
    University of Lethbridge
    The University of Lethbridge is a publicly-funded comprehensive academic and research university, founded in the liberal education tradition, located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, with two other urban campuses in Calgary and Edmonton. The main building sits among the coulees on the west side of...

     (1986), University of Alberta
    University of Alberta
    The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president, it is widely recognized as one of the best universities in Canada...

     (1986), Concordia University (1990), University of British Columbia
    University of British Columbia
    The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

  • Eve Orpen Award for Publishing and Literary Excellence, 1985
  • Silver Ribbon Award, City of Edmonton, 1985
  • Centenary Medal, Royal Society of Canada
    Royal Society of Canada
    The Royal Society of Canada , may also operate under the more descriptive name RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada , is the oldest association of scientists and scholars in Canada...

    , 1986
  • Alberta Achievement Award, 1986
  • Toastmasters International
    Toastmasters International
    Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills...

    Communications and Leadership Award, 1986
  • President's Award, Canadian Booksellers Association, 1986
  • Quill Award, Windsor Press Club, 1986
  • Speaker of the Year Award, Canadian Speech Communicators Association, 1986
  • Corporate Citizen of the Year Award, Community of Business and Professional. Associates of Canada, 1988
  • Lester B. Pearson Man of the Year Peace Award 1988

Selected works

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