Q & A with Author Peter C. Newman

Images by Justina McCaffrey.

Justina McCaffrey and Peter C. Newman.

Justina McCaffrey: I am not sure if you remember, but years ago when I first met you, I told you the story about how I discovered your books. It was New Years Eve 1982 becoming 1983, and Leonard Asper was having a basement party in Winnipeg. I was with my date Gippy (Jeffrey) Banfield – Ashleigh’s big brother, and there was a little group that consisted of Gippy, Leonard and a few other 17 year olds who all received your book The Establishment Man for Christmas and they were all sharing stories from The Acquisitors. I remember meeting Izzy for the first time in another part of the basement and was hovered in a big ball of smoke talking to a few of his friends.

Less than 36 hours later I was purchasing both books and less than 200 hours later, I had read both books.

You were the first to actually define who and what was “The Canadian Establishment”. Do you recognize that maybe you may have played a part in developing this “club” In a sense branding it and making it aspirational?

Peter C. Newman: Yes, I did plan an important part in labeling these early power seekers who modeled themselves after the British establishment, but now no longer rule supreme.

If you were to create another volume of  The Canadian Establishment, whom would you include?

The current power brokers are recognized by their individual influence, entitlement no longer counts. The establishment has turned into a meritocracy – you have to earn your way in.

When reading some of your older reflections on Canadian business people, I notice that some of your (our) heroes had eventually lived some dreadful fates. What or who would you considered to have been the worst example? (This question is worth a conversation, because some people are able to accept difficulties more than others, and considering you have met and interviewed everyone, it would be interesting to get your take on this.)

The worst off one time power barons are the followers of that lady whose name I have forgotten, but at one time she challenged Donald Trump for the presidency. 

Peter C. Newman and his wife of 21 years, Alvy Newman.

Reflecting on your overall career and Canadian themes that you chose in your writing, I was waiting for writings about the US Establishment, the Mayflower families and others. I personally have accumulated a number of stories from New York, to Delaware, LA and Texas.  They are dreadful and fascinating stories. 

The onetime Yankee establishment is also kaput…Trump has trumped them all. Why do you think I took up basket weaving? 

I love basket weaving! Fiber arts are my specialty. Speaking of the US….. Do you have any comments about this past year of election entertainment? Any predictions? 

This election has shattered all establishment groupies by the new alignments of the newly chosen heroes. Entertainment remains outside the mainstream. Meritocracies pick their own heroes.