About Neil Cameron

picture of Neil CameronNeil Cameron was born and raised in Western Canada, mainly in Calgary, but has spent most of his life in Montreal. He came east to take a degree in mathematics and French literature from Queen’s. After several years of travel and work, he took graduate studies in history, specializing in the history of science, at McGill, where he was a McConnell Fellow. He has spent most of his life teaching history at John Abbott College, the Concordia Liberal Arts College, and McGill, also long giving adult education courses in history.

He has published a number of scholarly publications, mainly on the British scientific elite in the 20th century, and has also been a regular periodical and newspaper columnist and book reviewer for many years, writing for The Montreal Gazette, The Ottawa Citizen, Policy Options, and various others. More recently, he has been a regular contributor to the online McGill graduate student publication, The Prince Arthur Herald. He has also been an analyst and writer for many years with the Toronto consulting firm, Brendan Wood International, but has always been above all else, a lover and teacher of history.

In 1989-94, he spent five years as an independent member of the Quebec legislature for the Montreal West Island seat of Jacques Cartier, elected under the banner of the anglo protest Equality Party. He was defeated in 1994 by his Liberal opponent, Geoff Kelley, a former student and still a personal friend, and was happy to leave politics thereafter. In the legislature, he sat on the Education Committee, the Hydro-Quebec Committee, and the Expert Committee on the Implications of Sovereignty. For the latter, he wrote a dissenting report, Souverainete’ d’Esprit/Imagining Sovereignty.

He is divorced, but remains on friendly terms with his ex-wife, a lawyer in Toronto. For the preparation of this website, he required the indispensable assistance of his son, Glenn Cameron, a Toronto commercial artist.

Please refer also to this wikipedia page…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Cameron_(Quebec_politician)

 

9 Replies to “About Neil Cameron”

    1. My son, who does the actual work on maintaining my blog, forwarded your query; happy to respond.

      I knew Ben Queenan well; I attended his funeral, which was held, i think, in Loyola Chapel, and several people shared sincere warm memories of him, which did not surprise me. I recall him very well as one of the most courteous, charming, and interesting men I ever encountered in Montreal. We met, and spoke to each other most frequently, when I was the circulation supervisor of the Science-Engineering Library of what was still Sir George Williams University (saving money to return to take graduate studies in history at McGill) in 1967-68. He was then, I think, something like the head of audio-visual services for Sir George, for which he was more than qualified. I always guessed that he was by background, which I never knew much about, trained as an actor, but maybe had not found survival in it, fate of many talented people in that realm.

      He always addressed me as ‘Squire’. After I left the Sir George job, I did not see him again on the same continuing and regular basis, but we would meet fairly often over the following three decdes, often having a coffee or a beer together. He had a fund of entertaining anecdotes, to which I tried to respond in kind. I still miss him. Any stories about him are welcome.

      Best wishes,
      Neil Cameron

    2. Bernard (Ben) Queenan was a very dear friend and mentor who encouraged me in my journalism and creative writing and read several of my early chapters of an anti war novel set during WW1.
      I miss him. Ben had a great sense of humour and was a mentor to many.
      Anthony Kirby

  1. Hi Mr. Cameron,

    As a former student, it’s great to see you are still writing thoughtful pieces. Without a doubt, you were the best teacher I have ever had and the most influential.

    John

  2. I am simply amazed to see the picture of you at 75. Given all the cigarettes I saw you smoke and all the beer and alcohol i saw you drink, I’m was certain you would be dead by now. I guess biology is destiny.

  3. Dear Mr. Cameron,
    I’ve just read your well written piece on Brian McKenna – penned some years ago. I’ve been a non fan of the McKenna brothers since their trilogy.
    I’m born in ’43 and lucky to have missed the wars. At this age I have a good chance of missing the next one. At an Air Show in Ottawa some years ago,
    there was a small display commemorating 18,000 Canadian kids killed in German skies.
    Bomber Harris hasn’t been well regarded in history. Forgotten is just how angry the Allies were at the Germans. With cause. Thank You.
    John French

  4. Hello Mr. Cameron,

    I took your US history class at John Abbott, in 1975, if I recall correctly. It was my first year in Canada, having newly emigrated from the US, and I expected an easy A. Instead I heard—for the first time—that the US lost the War of 1812. I told you, quite truthfully, that I didn’t do my final essay because I was transfixed by the readings, and far too engrossed in where they led to set them aside and start reading… and to my surprise you believed me and gave me an extension and an Incomplete. But I still didn’t complete it or hand anything in, and that was pretty much that.

    In 2012 (now in Toronto), after four years of increasing astonishment at the drama unfolding in the land of my birth (and no notion how far it had yet to go) I wrote an essay (or two really, but called them one) in which I looked back on those revelatory years, and in it noted my debt to you. It’s probably quite tedious, and yet likely better than any I’d have submitted at the time. Peter S. Onuf of the University of Virginia happened upon it and, though he had some cursory comments about my reliance on Robert Shalhope’s Republican Synthesis, he was struck mainly by my mentions of you and your influence, and invited me to join UV’s inaugural MOOC on Coursera, The Age of Jefferson, which was already two weeks under way. So I did, caught up and this time I got’er done.

    I did find your WikiPedia entry at the time. So good to find this treasure trove of writings… I shall update the link on my blog to point here, instead. All the best!

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