Ms. Hébert is a national affairs writer with the Toronto Star, a guest columnist for L’Actualité, and a regular voice on the At Issue political panel on CBC’s The National. She is also a panelist on Les Coulisses du Pouvoir and C’est pas trop tôt on Radio-Canada.
Ms. Hébert’s distinguished career began in 1975 when she reported for Radio-Canada in Toronto. Her understanding of politics and determination to promote public discourse quickly landed her on Parliament Hill where she also served as parliamentary bureau chief for Le Devoir and La Presse.
“You could tell from the get-go that she was good—and that she was going to be really good,” Peter Mansbridge, CBC news anchor, told the Ryerson Review of Journalism about a young Ms. Hébert. Mansbridge later made Hébert a regular on the At Issue panel and now calls her the group’s lynchpin.
A Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto, she holds numerous honorary degrees from Canadian universities and is the recipient of two Asia-Pacific media fellowships. In 2005 she received the APEX Public Service Award, and in 2006 the Hy Solomon Award for excellence in journalism and public policy. In 2012 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2014 her column Politique in L’Actualité won gold at the National Magazine Awards.
Her 2007 political affairs book, French Kiss: Stephen Harper’s Blind Date with Quebec, explores the fall of the Liberal party and the rise of the Conservative party in that province. It was short listed for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction in 2008.
Her latest book, The Morning After, investigates the 1995 Quebec Referendum by asking a simple question: What would the different party leaders have done if the ‘Yes’ vote won? Published in September 2014, it is described as being a “sly, insightful and wonderfully original book…that cleverly expose[s] the fractures, tensions and fears that continue to shape Canada today.”
Born into a francophone family in Ottawa, raised in Hull and Toronto and educated at York University, she is a rare bilingual political columnist. She has acquired and nurtured the ability to assess and critique our cultural and political landscapes, reporting on them with passion and courage. As Allan Gregg, pollster and frequent panelist on CBC, told the Ryerson Review of Journalism: “She is the most influential journalist in the press gallery right now….When she says something, when she writes something—English and French—all her colleagues pay attention.”
She is undoubtedly one of the best-known and trusted political pundits in our country. In her three decades of commentary and investigative journalism, Ms. Hébert has explained, documented and argued the finer points of constitutional struggles, free trade, parliamentary politics, and First Nations concerns, among others.
She is bold. She is astute. She is a rebel. The University of Manitoba is proud to bestow Ms. Hébert with one of its highest honours, a Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Chantal St-Cyr Hébert