Thursday, March 12, 2015
Sheila Grant and Lament for a Nation
George Grant always claimed that Lament for a Nation had been misunderstood.
— Sheila Grant, “Afterword,” Lament for a Nation
Lament for a Nation has been called “a masterpiece of political meditation” (Peter Emberley) and it “encapsulated the difference between the Tory vision for Canada and the continentalist, mechanistic, commercialist view” (Segal). There can be no doubt that this compact political missive summed up much about Canadian politics, political theory, philosophy and theology—it has, sadly so, been misread by ideologues that shrink Grant’s grander vision of thought and action to their tribal agendas.
Sheila Grant, after George had died (and significantly encouraged by William Christian—one of the finest Grant scholars), wrote an “Afterword” to Lament for a Nation—the “Afterword” is a must read for those keen and committed to a fuller understanding of the meaning and significance of Lament for a Nation. I was fortunate to meet with Sheila Grant a few times (both at the Grant home on Walnut Street in Halifax and when she visited her daughters in Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada) and we, also, had a lengthy correspondence when she was alive (plus some fine phone conversations)—we talked much about her journey with her husband, George Grant, and the multiple misunderstandings of Lament—Sheila’s “Afterword” succinctly articulated many of her legitimate concerns.