Dr. Raymond Blake Awarded 2016 Clio Prize



The Department of History wishes to congratulate Raymond B. Blake, Head and Professor of History, on being awarded the Clio Prize for the 2016 Atlantic Regional History for his Lions or Jellyfish: Newfoundland-Ottawa Relations since 1957. The book was published by the University of Toronto Press.

The Clio Prizes are awarded annually by the Canadian Historical Association/La Société historique du Canada, a bilingual not-for-profit and charitable association devoted to fostering the scholarly study and communication of history in Canada. The Awards recognize meritorious publications and exceptional contributions to regional history.

Lions or Jellyfish addresses important questions about the role of history, society, economics and culture in policy formation and contemporary politics and government in Canada. The book utilizes various methodologies and theoretical frameworks to examine the role of a handful of influential First Ministers in shaping and reshaping the intergovernmental relationship between Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa while, at the same time, balancing provincial and national interests and concerns, and redefining Canada. This approach brings individuals and an understanding of political culture back into the study of Canada as it explores the visions and imperatives of first ministers to shed light on the factors driving politics and society in Canada. At its core, the book explores the conundrum facing all political leaders -- how does a political community ensure fairness and equity and empower disadvantaged peoples and regions.

Lions and Jellyfish, whose title is taken from a speech by former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams captures the essence of intergovernmentalism in Canada.  Not a single premier or prime minister could ever allow herself to be the jellyfish in any of the federal-provincial battles that have marked the often bitter history of intergovernmental relations in Canada. Premiers and prime ministers have, at times, lost sight of the common good and have become fixated on issues of jurisdiction and on their opponents rather than what might be the best policy choices for the citizens who elected them.  Lions and Jellyfish demonstrate that governing is a messy business in federal states such as Canada where jurisdiction is divided between two orders of government. This book attempts to show that a successful state must find within itself the capacity to accommodate its constituent parts to ensure political stability and social and economic justice for all.

Professor Blake’s book had previously received the Canadian Studies Network-Réseau d'études canadiennes 2015 Prize for the Best Book in Canadian Studies, and his book was shortlisted for two Saskatchewan Book Awards.

The Clio Award was announced recently at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held in Calgary, Alberta.

2016 CHA Prize Winners