Thought Leadership Will Empower Your Workforce

December 18, 2013 9:45 am

On average, only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their work.

Marketers often view thought leadership as a platform that is focused externally. But while thought leadership is an effective means of influencing customers, it’s also a very successful way of empowering employees.

Over the last decade, various organizations have shifted their policy towards encouraging employee empowerment. Studies have shown that organizations with empowered employees perform better than their competitors by a factor of up to 202%. Empowered employees are known to be more engaged, inspired and productive in their work. They are more likely to take initiative and are expected to last longer within the company.


Though thought leadership is a great tool for spreading your brand message, it can also be used as an effective means of empowering your staff from inside your organization.

How Thought Leadership Empowers Your Employees

Mitchell Levy, CEO and Thought Leader Architect at THiNKaha of Cupertino, California, says: “Influence is the currency of thought leadership. That’s because effective thought leaders can have a profound effect on the people they influence. As a tool for change, influence has a longer-lasting effect than simply giving out orders on the office floor or through e-mail. It can refocus your company and empower your entire workforce.”

Here are just a few of the ways thought leadership can empower your employees:

 Thought leadership allows employees to see the bigger picture of the organization by sharing the company’s long-term goals and longstanding principles.
 Thought leadership encourages employees to excel at their responsibilities, inspiring them to come up with solutions that allow them to go above and beyond their roles.
 Thought leadership provides employees with incentives other than monetary gain. Employees understand the larger, more intangible goals of the organization: success, satisfaction and service.
 Thought leadership allows employees to discover the importance of their roles in the organization. It allows them to see the worth in their actions and become proud of their accomplishments.

This is why thought leadership should help influence the organizational culture beyond one that is geared towards customers, but one also focused on staff and employees. The infusion of thought leadership into an organization’s culture can unite and empower the organization.

Empowerment through Influence


To gain influence over your employees, it’s important to equip them with the right tools, skills and responsibilities to make sure they perform to the best of their professional abilities.

On average, only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their work. While managers can increase salaries, improve benefits and promote key staff, nothing takes the place of genuine leadership.

Thought leadership uses edu-training tools that empower your workforce by making them advocates of the organization. These internal initiatives provide insight and ideas that are of value to employees. They are activities and platforms that help inspire the staff and bring the organization together. Whether it’s through an internal social media platform, speaking, training or other forms of internal communication, these are all means of introducing a culture of empowerment into the organization.

Followers are the lifeblood of any thought leader, but followers can be found inside as well as outside the organization. In truth, empowered employees are the most effective followers of all. They look to their leaders for more than just their next paycheck. They look to them for inspiration and ideas.


Mitchell Levy has created and operated 15 firms and partnerships since 1997. Today, he works with companies that are active in social media to leverage their IP and unlock the expertise of the employee base to drive more business. He is also an Amazon bestselling author with 18 business books, including the recently released #Creating Thought Leaders tweet. Levy has provided strategic consulting to over 100 companies and advised over 500 CEOs on critical business issues. Get a free copy of his latest eBook at

Distant Stars – John Banville – Ancient Light

December 2, 2013 2:40 pm
Ancient LIght - John Banville

John Banville – Ancient Light
Vintage Canada 2012
Reviewed by Don MacLean

Readers familiar with the great Irish writer John Banville will also be familiar with the characters Alexander (Alex) Cleave, his wife Lydia and their troubled daughter Catherine (Cass), all of whom feature prominently in some of his previous works. They do so again in Banville’s most recent novel, Ancient Light. The story is told by Alex and revolves around two events central to his life: his torrid affair started in his 15th year with his best friend’s mother, Mrs. Gray and the more recent suicide of Cass. The affair and the suicide are separated by over half of Alex’s life and are seemingly unrelated. We read with the expectation that at some point the connection between the story’s disparate parts will be revealed.

Alex has a complicated relationship with the past. He excavates it incessantly without necessarily trusting what he discovers. At one point he uses stars as an analogy to explain both his fascination and wariness. Like a star, that which happened long ago sends a light that takes years to reach its destination and illuminate. This, in a sense, is the role of memory in the human experience: to use that light from the past to make sense of one’s life then and now. The problem, of course, is that memory is an imperfect filter. Or to use a more exact metaphor, the prism through which the light from the past is distilled can distort as much as it illuminates. Memory, in other words, is fallible. People forget. What we do recall is often embellished or sometimes not true at all. “Images from the far past crowd in my head and half the time I cannot tell whether they are memories or inventions” Alex tells the reader at the novel’s outset. And so we are never quite sure if his recollections of making love to Mrs. Gray in secret places are accurate or mere tricks of the imagination.

Nevertheless, there remains a sense that in recalling their affair Alex is attempting to recover the sense of wonder and newness that is the privilege of youth and too often a casualty of age. Readers of a certain vintage will identify with his impassioned reveries. What middle aged man or woman can’t recall those first kisses or other acts of intimacy shared in the back seat of a car or the basement your parent’s house? For Alex that magical stretch of adolescence was wrapped in additional layers of mystery and complications. Why, he wonders, would a married woman more than twice his age and the mother of his best friend be drawn to him? Why would she want to introduce him to the life of the flesh? He doesn’t know and doesn’t much care so long as Mrs. Gray was intent on swimming naked with him or making love in the back of her station wagon. But for all of his adolescent joy, Alex can’t avoid the complications stemming from their unlikely liaison. He allows it to tear asunder his friendship with his best friend. He is occasionally aggressive towards his older love and, like most 15 year old boys, horribly jealous. He believes Mr. Gray is a boring oaf and secretly imagines doing violence towards him. If the affair is a test of Alex’s maturity, he often fails.

In the present Alex is more or less a retired actor when he’s asked to play the role of a famous individual whose biography is to be the basis for a movie about his life. He accepts and in so doing establishes a tenuous connection between the man he’s playing and Cass, his deceased daughter. The two were residing in the same city at the time of Cass’s death. Alex has reason to believe they knew each other. If so, could he have had something to do with her deep unhappiness? Not likely, but any possible connection is enough to concentrate Alex’s thoughts on his daughter’s suicide and the unresolved questions it left in its wake.

Although Banville’s prose is uniformly beautiful, the sections in which Alex describes his and Lydia’s relationship with Cass are the most poignant. This is in part because in talking about his wife and daughter Alex is at his least self absorbed. He reveals a vulnerability and generosity of spirit that isn’t always evident in his recollections of his affair with Mrs. Gray. Although he and Lydia are equally bereaved, Lydia strikes the reader as the more tormented. Alex talks of Lydia’s night time episodes of sleepwalking, during which she is convinced of Cass’s presence in their home. He must follow her as she wanders around their dark, empty house in a fruitless search to find their dead daughter. There is something not only deeply sad about these scenes, but beautifully mysterious as well. Neither Alex nor Lydia believes in the promises of religion: they don’t expect Cass is attempting to communicate with them from somewhere in the afterlife. But her death doesn’t mean Cass’s absence. She has a ghostly, haunting presence that serves to draw them back to a time when she was alive.

Banville is hardly mining new territory in Ancient Light. The themes of adolescent love, the relationship between the past and present and suicide and loss are as old as literature itself. And although there are some intriguing twists, the story isn’t what one could call plot-heavy. The language in which it is told, however, is unfailingly unique. Indeed, as is true of any Banville novel, the story is as much about the prose as it is the plot. Reading him is like listening to a virtuoso performance by one of the world’s great pianists or guitarists. From the opening page you immediately recognize you’re in the presence of a master who remains at the height of his considerable powers.

How terrible it was to witness Mrs. Gray caught up in such innocent enjoyment – the innocence more than the enjoyment was what was terrible, to me. She sat there, canted backwards a little, her face lifted in dreamy ecstasy to the screen and her lips parted in smile that kept trying to achieve itself but never quite succeeded, lost as she was in blissful forgetfulness, of self, of surroundings and, most piercingly, of me.

There are few writers who can string together words in ways that are as consistently unique, challenging and beautiful. Although he is often humorous, Banville’s prose is marked more by a combined sense of melancholy and loss. Given his fascination with the past, this is fitting. As Alex suggests, the past can be mined but never recovered.





World War I Could Easily Have Been Avoided but for Human Folly

November 14, 2013 12:21 pm

Margaret MacMillan’s The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 is  a compelling narrative of the political, cultural and personal forces that shaped Europe’s path to the First World War (1914-1918).

Countless volumes have chronicled the political struggles, the diplomatic efforts, the battles and the strategies behind them, the terrible conditions that soldiers fought in, and the social and class divisions at home. But few historians have looked so extensively at the years and circumstances leading up to the war. In the first years of the 20th century, Europe believed in a golden, prosperous future, but a complex web of ethnic nationalism, colonial legacies and shifting alliances and rivalries derailed a long period of peace, MacMillan argues. It was a war that could have been avoided up to the last moment—so why did it happen? After all, the century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire.


Beginning in the early 1800s and ending with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the declaration of war, MacMillan depicts the huge political and technological changes, national decisions, and small moments of human muddle and weakness that led Europe from peace to disaster. (And of course the First World War sowed the seeds of the Second World War and the Cold War.)

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 | ISBN: 9780670064045 | $38.00 | Allen Lane

Publication Date: October 29,2013

Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them – Susan Delacourt (Douglas & McIntyre)

October 31, 2013 10:14 am
Shopping for Votes Final Cover_D&M

Here is an insightful and provocative look at the inside world of political marketing in Canada – and what this means about the state of our democracy in the 21st century – from a leading political commentator.

“Canada is now a nation of shoppers… We may want to ask whether it’s time to draw some clearer lines between our civic life and our shopping pursuits,” says Susan Delacourt, author of Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them.

Inside the political backrooms of Ottawa, the Mad Men of Canadian politics are planning their next consumer-friendly pitch. Where once politics was seen as a public service, increasingly it’s seen as a business, and citizens are the customers. But its unadvertised products are voter apathy and gutless public policy.

Susan Delacourt takes readers into the world of Canada’s top political marketers, from the 1950s to the present, explaining how parties slice and dice their platforms for different audiences and how they manage the media. The current system divides the country into “niche” markets and abandons the hard political work of knitting together broad consensus or national vision. Little wonder then that most Canadians have checked out of the political process: less than 2% of the population belongs to a political party and fewer than half of voters under the age of 30 showed up at the ballot box in the last few federal elections. Provocative, incisive, entertaining and refreshingly non-partisan, Shopping for Votes offers a new narrative for understanding political culture in Canada.

How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change by Joe Clark

October 29, 2013 12:25 pm

In HOW WE LEAD: Canada in a Century of Change, former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark launches an impassioned argument for Canada to reassert its international position as an agent of change, diplomacy and peace. Drawing on our history, successes, and the unique qualities that we possess today, Clark describes an ambitious but vitally important role for Canada – for the world’s benefit, but also for our own.

“As power disperses in the world, so does the capacity to lead ­ and, in almost every case, the most effective leadership will have to be shared, not only among states, but with other entities and, often, with citizens.” In this scenario, Clark asserts, the best approach should be “leading from beside.” No longer will disagreements and conflicts be meted out using the hard power assets like military strength. Today’s world calls increasingly for diplomacy, conciliation, and development – soft power assets  – says Clark.

joeclark2The cast of characters is also shifting, he notes. The traditional powers are not faltering so much as a diverse group of new emerging countries ­ including many in Asia and Africa ­ are growing in importance and power. Individual citizens, informed and at times inflamed by the Internet, are “less docile and compliant.” Extremist groups are taking footholds in many regions and finding ready converts in the young, poor and unemployed. And a rapidly growing contingent of non-state actors –  non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups and volunteers – play increasingly powerful roles in the developing world and in the development of international treaties and policy.

Clark holds that Canada’s respected reputation is needed today more than ever before. Drawing on our diplomatic successes on the Suez Crisis, apartheid, the Vietnamese boat people, the Tehran hostage drama, the environment and several lesser-known but equally instructive issues, Clark argues that Canada is in a perfect position to guide world politics through future challenges.

No fan of the current government’s approach to international affairs, Clark examines how Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party have altered Canada’s profile to that of a war-fighting nation and placed our diplomatic and development capacity in “a steady and deliberate decline.” Worse, he notes, in a country that has thrived on vigorous national conversations, this change has been made without any corresponding public debate.

Volatile demographics, unemployment, natural disasters, and the dramatic decline in foreign aid threaten great masses of the world’s population. Add to this scenario a mobilized, independent citizenry much less inclined to deference than in the past. Never has the world needed an experienced, trusted mediator more than it does today. Clark writes: “When control and command grow less effective, consensus and persuasion become more valuable.”

Canada, says Joe Clark, has all of the qualities needed to step into a critical role of influence and leadership. “Of the range of opportunities open to a society like Canada, one of the most important lies outside our physical borders, in a world whose explosive tensions, conflicts and inequalities would benefit from the moderation, initiative and respect for others that have been among Canada’s signature characteristics.” The next step is simply to begin.

HOW WE LEAD: Canada in a Century of Change

by Joe Clark

288 pages


A Random House Canada Hardcover from Random House of Canada Limited

Release date: November 5


On the evening of Thursday, November 7, Joe Clark will appear at the Ottawa International Writers Festival to discuss and sign copies of his new book. Mr. Clark will be interviewed by former CBC Television host Don Newman.

Tickets to the event may be purchased at


Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott by Mark Abley (Douglas & McIntyre)

October 24, 2013 9:34 am

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947) died one of the most respected men in Canada – a well-known poet and short-story writer, a former president of the Royal Society of Canada, a founder of the Dominion Drama Festival, and a recipient of honorary doctorates from Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. A memorial service was held in his honor at St. Martin’s in the Fields Church in central London – an almost unprecedented tribute to a Canadian poet. When Margaret Atwood edited the New Oxford Book of Canadian Verse in 1983, she granted Scott 11 pages (most of them for his poems about Aboriginal people); only three poets in the entire book received more space.

Yet in 2007, when The Beaver (now Canada’s History) asked experts to name the 10 worst Canadians of all time, Scott appeared on the list – alongside the founder of the Canadian Nazi Party, among others. How did his reputation fall so dramatically?

The answer lies not in Scott’s work as a man of letters, but in his day job as a civil servant. He joined the federal government as a copy clerk while still a teenager, and remained there for 52 years. Unfortunately, the department he served with such tireless efficiency was Indian Affairs. He became its chief clerk and accountant, then the supervisor of residential schools, and finally (for 19 years) the deputy minister. In 1920, he told a House of Commons committee: “I want to get rid of the Indian problem. (…) Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic, and there is no Indian question.” Today he stands accused of cultural genocide. To a few historians and many Aboriginal people, he is considered Canada’s equivalent of Hitler.

Is the accusation fair? How could Scott do what he did by day, while writing good and occasionally superb poetry by night?

That’s what this book sets out to answer – not in a dry, academic manner, but by using the techniques of creative non-fiction. The book is thoroughly researched, and contains some new details about Scott’s life – but it is dominated by a series of conversations between “Mark Abley” (a character in his own book) and the ghost of Duncan Campbell Scott, who appears before “Mark Abley” in the opening chapter and asks for his name to be cleared. Can it be? Should it be? Is there any way to forgive the man for what he did, and for what he refused to do?

Such questions throw some of Canada’s current difficulties with Aboriginal issues into a sharp, unexpected light. Conversations With a Dead Man is not only a book about a disturbing historical figure; it’s also about how today we need to come to terms with the shadows in our past if our country is to move forward.

The author will be in Ottawa on December 8, 2013 for a signing and talk at Books on Beechwood (35 Beechwood) from 1-3 pm.

Conversations with a Dead Man: The Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott will soon be sold at bookstores everywhere and through –

Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story Behind the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP (Douglas & McIntyre)

October 23, 2013 11:29 am
Building the Orange Wave cover

Building the Orange Wave is a true insider’s account of Jack Layton and the NDP’s rise to success.  Brad Lavigne was not just the campaign manager of the New Democratic Party’s 2011 breakthrough election campaign that took Jack Layton from last place to Official Opposition – he was a key architect throughout the decade leading to Layton’s ultimate success.

This is the definitive account of Layton’s ascendency to Leader of the Official Opposition and the realignment in Canadian politics. Lavigne was the only one with Layton every step of the way – from helping get him elected party leader in 2002 to serving as an honorary pallbearer at his state funeral in 2011. Lavigne recounts the dramatic story of how Layton and his inner circle developed and executed a plan that turned a struggling political party into a major contender for government, defying the odds and the critics every step of the way. This is the ultimate insider’s account of a political upheaval that took everyone by surprise that saw the NDP make huge gains in Quebec.

With Jack Layton’s widow Olivia Chow providing an introduction, Lavigne had access to other key players, including Layton’s son Mike, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent, former campaign manager Brian Topp, Tim Murphy (Paul Martin’s former chief of staff), and Stephen Harper’s former Director of Communications Kory Teneycke. Lavigne reveals details about how Layton’s team managed some of their biggest crises: Layton’s political missteps, embarrassing candidates, the cancer diagnoses, and the massage parlour bombshell on the eve of the 2011 vote.

Lavigne will also cast ahead to the 2015 federal election and beyond to map out the meaning of Layton’s legacy and provide a blueprint for how to entrench the gains of Jack’s Orange Crush. 

Jack Layton’s political and personal legacy continues to resonate with Canadians of different political stripes.  Beyond Canadian political observers and students of political science, this book will speak to a wide audience who want to know what goes on behind political closed doors.

Building the Orange Wave will be in bookstores on November 2.

Fire on the Hill: A Canadian historical suspense novel by Frank Rockland

February 1, 2013 11:38 am

Discover what really happened on the night of February 3, 1916, when a suspicious fire destroyed the centre block of the Canadian Parliament Buildings.

On tours of the Center Block of the Parliament buildings, guides explain that the previous building was destroyed by a fire on the night of February 3, 1916.

When asked what started the fire, they may tell you that a carelessly lit cigar in the Reading Room sparked the conflagration. They might mention in passing that German agents or sympathizers could have set the fire.

This suspicion is the starting point of local writer Frank Rockland’s novel Fire on the Hill. What if German agents were involved in destroying most of Canada’s original Parliament Buildings? After all, Canada was at war with Germany. While Canada’s reputation as a feared fighting force was still years away, Canada was still essential for the Allied war effort, providing the “muscles of war” such as iron ore for the arms factories and wheat from the prairie breadbasket to feed the millions of Allied soldiers in Europe.

These suspicions are not as far-fetched as they might sound. Driving forces behind these suspicions were the Fenian Raids into Canada in the 1860s, which were still vivid in many Canadians’ memories. Several leading figures had actually fought in the raids: Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier served during the Fenian raids.

The fear of raids by German reservists was so great that Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden authorized $100,000 in funding to the Dominion Police’s Secret Service for counter-intelligence work. Everyone on the home front was looking for German spies.

The actual cause of the fire was never discovered. The Royal Commission appointed to investigate the origin of the fire concluded:

The fire started in a pile of papers on a shelf on one of the reading tables near the House of Commons. The first person to see the fire was Francis Glass, ESQ., M.P., who stated that the fire originated while he was in the reading-room: that he had been in the reading-room a short time when he felt a wave of heat passing up alongside of him from a hot-air register, and he turned around and almost immediately smelled the burning of paper; stooped down and saw smoke coming out.

As to the question of whether the fire was deliberately set, the report made the following conclusions:

Your commissioners are of the opinion that there are many circumstances connected with this fire that lead to a strong suspicion of incendiarism, especially in view of the fact that the evidence is clear that no one was smoking in the reading-room for some time previous to the outbreak of fire, and also to the fact that the fire could not have occurred from defective electric wiring. But while your commissioners are of such opinion, there is nothing in the evidence to justify your commissioners in finding the fire was maliciously set.

Your commissioners feel very strongly that it might be possible at a later date to obtain evidence (which they cannot reach at the present time) which might establish beyond question whether this fire was incendiary or accidental, and with the approval of Your Royal Highness, your commissioners would humbly suggest that this report be treated not as a final report but as an interim report, and that the commission be left open, and in the event of your commissioners being able to get further evidence at a later date, that they be permitted to do so.

The Plot

What really happened that fateful night when a fire destroyed the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa?

Inspector Andrew MacNutt, his wife Katherine, and Count Jaggi know as they were there in the Centre Block’s reading-room when the fire started.

Ever since the war began, Inspector MacNutt, head of the Dominion Police’s Secret Police, has been struggling to secure the Canadian and US border against acts of sabotage by a network of saboteurs being run by German military diplomatic attachés Captain Franz von Papen and Captain Karl Boy-Ed out of New York City.

Inspector MacNutt’s job is not easy as he tries to get a grip on authorized and unauthorized counter-intelligence operations being run by various government departments, busybodies such as the wealthy and influential Mrs. Wayne Ramsey, gripped with spy fever and an overactive imagination, reporting anyone with a German-sounding name as a spy, and being informed of British counter-intelligence activities in New York City by the American newspapers.

The good news is that the military attaché’s activities had caught the attention of the American authorities, especially Inspector Thomas Tunney of the New York City Police Department’s Bomb Squad. They declared von Papen persona non grata and ordered him back to Germany. As for the bad news: German military intelligence had sent one of their best operatives in England, Count Jaggi, to replace him with orders to hamper and disrupt Allied shipping out of New York City’s harbour.

Before going to New York, Count Jaggi visits Ottawa to get the lay of the land. Ottawa was the key transit point for British gold shipments to pay for munitions contracts in Canada and the United States.

Count Jaggi’s title and his cover as a Belgian Relief representative give him quick entry to the highest levels of Ottawa society, where he meets Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden and future Liberal Prime Ministers Sir Wilfred Laurier and Mackenzie King, as well as the Governor-General, his Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught.

In Ottawa, Count Jaggi, a womanizer with a weakness for married women, meets a very attractive Katherine MacNutt, the Inspector’s wife, who is helping with the homefront war effort by working on Ottawa’s Belgian Relief committee. Their first meeting was not very auspicious since she gave him a white feather while he was mailing reports, written in invisible ink back to Germany. Handing out white feathers was a common practice by Canadian women to encourage young men to enlist. Katherine starting handing out the white feathers when her son, Jaime, was reported missing in action in France.

When Count Jaggi arrives in New York, he and Hans Müller, his second-in-command, try to clean up the mess created by the British confiscation of von Papen’s personal and diplomatic papers, which detailed his intelligence activities, when his ship was stopped in the Port of Falmouth, England.

However, Inspector Tunney is hot on the trail of German saboteurs who have been targeting Allied shipping in New York City harbour and soon will have the Count in his sights.

As Count Jaggi takes a final trip to Ottawa to give his Belgian Relief lecture, he doesn’t know that Inspector MacNutt has intercepted his secret letters, written in invisible ink, and is waiting for him.

But the Count couldn’t resist seeing Katherine one last time with tragic consequences.

For more information about Fire on the Hill, contact Sambiase Books at


Frank Rockland is a pen name for an Ottawa-based writer. Born in Italy, he moved to Canada when he was one year old. He is currently employed as a civil servant with the federal government. When he attended Carleton University, he spent a summer as a tour guide on Parliament Hill where he got the idea of writing the suspense novel Fire on the Hill. Between May and September, Frank Rockland spends his time vainly trying to lower his golf handicap.


All images: Library and Archives Canada: Library and Archives Canada


Book Launch: A Colourful Life – the art and drawing of Josh Silburt

January 23, 2013 1:26 pm
Canadian $

On February 6 in Ottawa, a book launch for A Colourful Life – the art and drawing of Josh Silburt will take place at the Cube Gallery at 1285 Wellington St. W. from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The Cube is mounting a show of acclaimed Canadian painter and cartoonist Josh Silburt’s art from February 5 to 17. This show is the first of many in an art show kickoff across Canada, mainly in the markets that Josh made his mark in (i.e. Ottawa, Sydney, Toronto, Winnipeg and St. Catharines). Many of Josh’s cartoons tackled the topic of federal affairs (and are as topical now as they were in the 1940s), and some of his paintings were done in the Ottawa Valley area.

Author and Ottawa resident Allan Silburt has spent the last 4½ years writing and compiling this homage to his late father Josh, who died in 1991. Allan’s years of research and painstaking hard work have resulted in a spectacular hardcover art book incorporating much of the wealth of painting and political cartooning that made Josh a national treasure. The story of Josh Silburt is one with many layers – a story of his rise from poverty, involvement in Communist Party politics until he discovered the awful truth about the Soviet Union’s dictator Josef Stalin, art study under Group of Seven member LeMoine FitzGerald, penning political cartoons for many leading Canadian newspapers, and one-man art shows across Canada. Josh left a wonderful body of work with his painting, which many collectors across the country covet. His style is reminiscent of the Group of Seven, but with a special twist unique to Josh Silburt.

To find out more about the exhibition, visit

For more details on A Colourful Life – the art and drawing of Josh Silburt (published by GSPH/General Store Publishing House in Renfrew, Ont.) and how to order the book, visit


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