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Graham Fraser

  • Mentor 2018
  • Alumni
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Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
University of Ottawa

    Graham Fraser is a senior fellow at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. He was named Canada's sixth commissioner of official languages in 2006 and he served in that position until 2016, the longest-serving in the post. During his mandate, Fraser was the first chair of the International Association of Language Commissioners and was an active promoter of both of Canada's official languages, intervening before the courts, writing newspaper commentaries, and speaking in public forums in every province and territory; in Finland, India, Ireland, Israel, and Spain; and at United Nations conferences in New York and Alexandria. Before being named commissioner, Fraser was a national affairs writer for the Toronto Star, based in Ottawa from 2000 until 2006.

    Fraser was born in Ottawa and educated at the University of Toronto, where he earned a bachelor of arts (honours) in 1968 and a master of arts in history in 1973. He has received honorary doctorates from Concordia University, Université Laval, the University of Ottawa, Université Ste. Anne, and York University.

    During his career in journalism, Fraser wrote about municipal, provincial, and federal politics and international affairs. He worked at City Hall in Toronto for the _Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, and he served as bureau chief for Maclean's in Montréal, for The Gazette and The Globe and Mail in Quebec City, and for The Globe and Mail in Ottawa and Washington. He was also a guest columnist for Le Devoir from 1995-2000. Fraser is the author of five books : Fighting Back : Urban Renewal in Trefann Court (1972); René Lévesque and the Parti Quebecois in Power (1984, second edition published in 2001, nominated for a Governor-General's Award for Non-Fiction); Playing for Keeps: The Making of the Prime Minister (1989); Vous m'intéressez: chroniques (2001); and  the bestseller Sorry, I Don't Speak French; Confronting the Canadian Crisis That Won't Go Away (2006).  In 1982, he was the first recipient of the Hyman Solomon Award for Public Policy Journalism.  He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and became a Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade in 2011 and an Officier de l'Ordre in 2017.

    Graham Fraser is married to Barbara Uteck and is the father of two sons.