Author of John Turner: An Intimate Biography of Canada’s 17th Prime Minister
“One of the most glamorous and successful politicians in Canadian history”
In this masterful and engaging biography, acclaimed journalist Steve Paikin brings to life John Turner (1929-2020), one of the most glamorous and successful politicians in Canadian history. Born in England and raised in BC, Turner was a champion sprinter and a Rhodes scholar who captured the national imagination as an escort for Princess Margaret on her 1959 Canadian tour.
Elected to Parliament in 1962, he served in Prime Minister Lester Pearson’s cabinet and as Pierre Trudeau’s attorney general, minister of justice, and finance minister. In 1984, he won a hotly-contested Liberal leadership contest and served a brief four months as Canada’s seventeenth prime minister before falling to Brian Mulroney in a Progressive Conservative landslide. In this surprisingly candid and personal book, Paikin draws on unprecedented access to Turner’s personal and public papers to show how he struggled to meet the towering expectations that came with his abundant gifts and keep his faith in Canadian democracy despite the challenges of his career.
Steven Hillel Paikin, OC OOnt (born June 9, 1960) is a Canadian journalist, author, and documentary producer. Paikin has primarily worked for TVOntario (TVO), Ontario’s public broadcaster, and is the anchor of TVO’s flagship current affairs program, The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.
Early life and education
A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Paikin was born to Lawrence Sidney (Larry) Paikin, a manufacturer and owner of Ennis-Paikin Steel Ltd., and Marina Suzanne (Marnie) Sibulash. Marnie Paikin was invested a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 for her education and health policy work. She was also chair of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Ontario Council on University Affairs.
Paikin graduated from Hillfield Strathallan College in 1978 and continued to university, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto (Victoria University, Toronto 1981). Later, Paikin received his master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University. While pursuing his BA, he served as sports editor for the University of Toronto’s independent weekly, The Newspaper. He was the play-by-play voice of the Varsity Blues hockey and football teams on U of T Radio.
Paikin was an anchor, Queen’s Park correspondent for CBC Television’s Toronto station CBLT-TV, and host of a daily news and current affairs program on CBC Newsworld. He also held reporting jobs in private radio and print media, including the Hamilton Spectator and Toronto radio station CHFI, where he was a Toronto City Hall reporter from 1982–85.
In 1992, Paikin began work at TVO, hosting the political series Between the Lines until 1994. He also co-created the Queen’s Park magazine Fourth Reading, which he hosted for 14 years. In 1994, Paikin began co-hosting duties (with Mary Hynes for two years and then Paula Todd) on Studio 2 until 2006. In 1998, he co-created and began hosting Diplomatic Immunity, a weekly foreign affairs commentary show.
In 2006, TVO cancelled Studio 2 and replaced it with a new program, The Agenda, with Steve Paikin. Paikin frequently is selected to be the moderator of election debates. He moderated federal leaders’ debates in 2006, 2008, and 2011; and Ontario provincial leaders’ debates in 2007, 2011, 2014, 2018 and 2022.
Aside from his hosting and journalistic endeavours, Paikin has produced several feature-length documentaries: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto; A Main Street Man; Balkan Madness; Teachers, Tories and Turmoil; and Chairman of the Board: The Life and Death of John Robarts. For 1993’s Return to the Warsaw Ghetto, Paikin won the “Silver Screen Award” at the U.S. International Film and Video Festival and received awards at the Yorkton Film Festival in Saskatchewan and China Shanghai Film Festival.
In February 2012, Paikin was named the Queen’s Park journalist with the most Twitter influence in a study conducted by PR agency Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
He holds honorary doctorates from McMaster University, Victoria University, Laurentian University, and York University and honorary diplomas from Humber College, Centennial College, Mohawk College and Fanshawe College. He was later appointed chancellor of Laurentian University in Sudbury in October 2013, a position terminated following the university’s restructuring amidst financial difficulties in 2021. In December 2013, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and invested in the Order of Ontario.