Raymond Blake

BA Hons, BEd, MA, PhD

Office: AH. 445
E-mail: raymond.blake@uregina.ca
Phone: 306-585-5431
Fax: 306-585-4827

Research interests
Canadian politics, nationalism and identity, social welfare, and resource policy

Faculty Profile

Raymond B. Blake, Professor, BA Honours, BEd (Memorial), MA and PhD (York)

Short Bio

Raymond B. Blake is Professor of History at the University of Regina. He came to URegina as Director of the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy in 2000 from Mount Allison University where he was Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies and Head of the Canadian Studies Programme. He is a specialist in the history of the Canada, and focuses primarily on 20th century federal politics, nationalism and national identity, and federalism. He has taught a wide variety courses in Canadian history and has taught Canadian Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany and at University College Dublin in Ireland where he was recently Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies. He has held several SSHRC Research Grants and has written and edited a dozen books. He has successfully combined research and teaching at several Canadian and international universities.


My recent research has focused on the role of the federal state and citizenship and identity  in Canada. This theme has been developed in several projects. His most recent research focusses on Canada’s prime ministers after 1945. This project examines the discourse (language, speeches and rhetoric) of Canada’s prime ministers—from Mackenzie King to Stephen Harper—and argues that it offers a unique and compelling insight into the nation’s ideals and identity. This research examines how each prime minister understood the concept of nationalism and how each gave voice to a new and distinctive rhetoric of Canadian nationalism and identity as they sought to adjust to new and changing circumstances. This project embraces the theoretical dimensions of the new political history and recognizes the discursive interactivity between politics and the people; prime ministers do not operate in a social or cultural vacuum but they reflect the changing values within society that are expressed through the media, in protest movements, in public meetings, in popular fiction, and other numerous ways. This project combines history with biography and at the same time contributes to the debate about Canadian nationalism and identity in a way that highlights the significance of language in politics. It argues that the language and speech of Canada’s prime ministers offer a unique and compelling view of the nation’s vision and identity, offering a new approach to Canadian historiography on questions of nationalism and national identity. Another project focused on intergovernmental relations between Newfoundland and Ottawa from 1957 to the present. It argues that Newfoundland’s premiers came to define the province as a laggard in the quest for equal Canadian citizenship and fought to change that role, often resulting in bitter relations with Ottawa. Canadian prime ministers argued that they had to protect the national interest when dealing with the provinces and, for that reason, resisted giving Newfoundland greater control, for example, of the marine resources on the continental shelf.  Earlier research considered family allowances as a public policy issue from 1929 to 1992, and showed how it changed from a policy based on citizenship rights to one based on need. It explores the connection between social policy and citizenship.

Courses Taught

HIST 201:  Canada From Confederation to World War II
HIST 202:  Canada From World War II to the Present
HIST 301:  Federalism and the Canadian Experience
HIST 303:  Canada in the World
HIST 403:  Studies in Canadian Political History
HIST 409:  Canadian Nationalism in Comparative Perspective

Recent Publications


Narrating a Nation: Canadian History Post-Confederation, with Jeff Keshen, Norman Knowles, and Barbara Messamore. Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2011

Narrating a Nation: Canadian History Pre-Confederation, with Jeff Keshen, Norman Knowles, and Barbara Messamore. Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2011

Beyond National Dreams? Essays on Canadian Nationalism, Citizenship, and Identity. Edited with Andrew Nurse. Toronto, Fitzhenry and Whiteside Publishing Ltd., 2009

From Rights to Needs: A History of Family Allowances in Canada, 1929-92.  Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 2009

Transforming the Nation: Brian Mulroney and Canada. Montreal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007. Edited.

Articles and Book Chapters

“Canada, Newfoundland, and Term 29: The Failure of Intergovernmentalism.” Acadiensis 41 1 (Winter/Spring, 2012).

“A New Canadian Dynamism? From Multiculturalism and Diversity to History and Heritage. Canadian Citizenship Under Stephen Harper.” British Journal of Canadian Studies. Accepted and Forthcoming, 2012.

“Canadian Studies as a Public Good”. Canadian Studies: The State of the Art. Jane Koustas and Christl Verdun, editors. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2012.

“Stuart Garson: The Canadian Premier,” in Barry Ferguson and Robert Wardhaugh, editors, Manitoba Premiers Since Confederation. Regina, Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2010.

“Mackenzie King’s Attitude towards Newfoundland and Confederation,” in God Guard Thee Newfoundland. Search for Meaning. An Anthology. Edited by Johnson Family Foundation. St. John’s, Flanker Press, 2009.

“The Saskatchewan Party and the Politics of Branding”, in Howard Leeson, ed., Saskatchewan Politics. Regina, Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2009

“Intergovernmental Relations Trumps Social Reform: Trudeau, Constitutionalism, and Income Security,” Journal of4 the Canadian Historical Association/Revue de la Société historique du Canada, New Series, 2007, 18 (1): 207-40

Awards and Distinctions

Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies, University College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 2009-10.
Listed in Canadian4 Who’s Who. University of Toronto Press.