In defence of Celine Dion (thanks for asking)

Re: 50 Canadians Who Changed the
I very much appreciate the spirited review that turned up in today’s
National Post. Vit Wagner makes some
good points (see here). He’s right to mention Lester B. Pearson. I’m a great admirer of
Pearson, and I was sorely tempted to include him even though he was born three
years before 1900, my admittedly self-imposed cut-off date. But the idea was to
paint a portrait of cutting-edge Canada, and to celebrate 20th-century
Canadians who are shaping the 21st century. I stand by my decision. On the other hand, I
fear I was wrong to omit Mordecai Richler, my all-time favorite Canadian novelist. I
have apologized for that here. The one extenuating circumstance I neglected to
mention is that, as an ex-Montrealer, I was feeling guilty about the
preponderance of Montrealers. If you count them, you will see what I mean. As
for Northrop Frye and Robert Lepage, they turn up in my epilogue, which
presents a starter-list for Another 50
Canadians Who Changed the World
.  Neil
Young? The Performers category in 50 Canadians, which
encompasses actors, musicians, and athletes, is already the largest in the
book. Next time, sure. Oh, but I do stand by the inclusion of Celine Dion, quite
apart from album-sales numbers. After quoting  music critic Carl Wilson, who wrote an entire
book about his distaste for Dion, and inviting her detractors to please go here, I
added: “In my view, Celine Dion changed the world not only by demonstrating the
range of the human voice in the context of pop music, but above all by
introducing the spirit of French Canada to those who have never known it.” For the rest, I would refer you to the book.


  1. Anonymous on February 1, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    I concur with your "defense", even if Dion's music is bland.

    Carl Wilson has also correctly noted Dion's influence (alongside her peers Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston) when it comes to television talent competitions.

    Anyone whose ever tuned into one of those in the past 15 years will find Dion imitators, in every single season. And those shows have dominated much of the pop landscape in the past decade..
    Even outside of the show, most of the pop diva type of singers will usually list Dion, Carey and Houston among their idols.

  2. Anonymous on February 1, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    Edit, I meant "who's"

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