Mr. Jeffrey Simpson is the highly respected national columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper and the author of six books that have won three of Canada's literary prizes for non-fiction writing.
For almost 30 years, Mr. Simpson has contributed enormously to public knowledge and public debate on issues of politics and public policy in Canada, other countries and in international affairs.
In his regular column and his books, Jeffrey Simpson has demonstrated an impressive capacity to master the intricacies of issues and to present well informed, insightful and highly readable commentaries. These talents have made him a much sought after lecturer at universities, speaker at conferences and contributor to television documentaries, in both official languages.
Born in the United States, Mr. Simpson came to Canada at the age of 10 years. Educated at Toronto schools, Queen's University and the London School of Economics, Mr. Simpson served as a Parliamentary Intern in the House of Commons in 1972-1973, after which he began his journalism career covering City Hall in Toronto.
In 1977 he joined the Globe and Mail bureau in Ottawa and in 1980 he published his first book, Discipline of Power, which won the Governor- General's award for non-fiction.
From 1981 to 1983 Mr. Simpson served as the Globe and Mail's European correspondent based in London and in 1984 he returned to Ottawa where he began his National Affairs column. Convinced that he could not capture the regional realities writing from the Nation's Capital, Mr. Simpson convinced his employer to support regular travel to all parts of the country.
In addition to his regular columns and numerous magazine articles, Mr. Simpson has written five books since his first in 1980: Spoils of Power (1988); Faultlines, Struggling for a Canadian Vision (1993); The Anxious Years (1996); Star-Spangled Canadians (2000) and The Friendly Dictatorship: Reflections on Canadian Democracy (2001).
The high quality of Mr. Simpson's publications over many years has earned him numerous awards and other forms of recognition. He has won the National Magazine Award for political writing, the National Newspaper Award and the Hyman Soloman Award for excellence in public policy journalism. In January 2000, he became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
He has been the John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University, the Skelton-Clark fellow at Queen's University and the John V. Clyne fellow at the University of British Columbia. He has lectured at many of the leading universities in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Today, he will receive his third honorary doctorate of laws, previously having been honoured by the universities of British Columbia and Western Ontario.
Today, we hear frequent criticism of the shallowness and the lack of objectivity of media coverage of domestic and international issues; but these complaints do not apply to the writings and other commentaries of Mr. Simpson. It has been suggested that journalists write the first draft of history. If this is true, then Canadians and others have been very well served by Mr. Simpson, who for several decades has provided informed and illuminating commentaries on the issues of public life. Not afraid to state an opinion, Mr. Simpson has also been willing to admit mistakes and to change his mind. He has truly been an exemplary educator and is a very worthy recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.