Authored Books

Asked in 2010 about his pugnacious approach to federal-provincial relations, Newfoundland premier Danny Williams declared “I would rather live one more day as a lion than ten years a jellyfish.” He was only the latest in a long line of Newfoundland premiers who have fought for that province’s interests on the national stage. From Joey Smallwood and the conflict over Term 29 of the Act of Union to Williams and his much-publicized clashes with Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, Newfoundland and Labrador’s politicians have often expressed a determination to move beyond a legacy of colonialism and assert greater control over the province’s own affairs. Lions or Jellyfish? examines the history of these federal-provincial clashes with both clarity and wit.


Edward Roberts wrote in Newfoundland and Labrador Quarterly (2016) that ‘Lions or Jellyfish is a polished investigation of the often-strained relationship between Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador…. Raymond Blake brings sophisticated analysis and a well- constructed narrative.”



Clio Prize - Atlantic Region awarded by the Canadian Historical Association (Canada) - Winner in 2016


CSN-RÉC Book Prize awarded by The Canadian Studies Network – Réseau d'études canadiennes (Canada) - Winner in 2016


University of Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Award awarded by Saskatchewan Book Awards (Canada) - Short-listed in 2016


U of Regina Arts and Luther College Award for Scholarly Writing awarded by Saskatchewan Book Awards (Canada) - Short-listed in 2016

Social security programs helped to define Canada in the twentieth century and, for the generation that came of age during the Cold War, family allowances more than any other social program embodied the new national ideal. But was this program, which gave all mothers a monthly stipend to raise the nation’s babies, driven by a desire to create a kinder, gentler nation or was it more influenced by economics, constitution-making, and international trends in public policy? This book explores the family allowance phenomenon from the idea's debut in the House of Commons in 1929 to the program's demise as a universal program under the Mulroney government in 1992. Although successive federal governments remained committed to its underlying principle of universality, party politics, the bureaucracy, federal-provincial wrangling, and the shifting priorities of citizens eroded the rights-based approach to social security and replaced it with one based on need. By tracing the evolution of one social security program within a national perspective, From Rights to Needs sheds new light on the process by which Canada’s welfare state and social policy has been transformed over the past half century.


From Rights to Needs is a nuanced and comprehensive exploration of the origins and development of family allowances. It will appeal to readers in the public policy community; students and scholars in political science, history, social work, and sociology; and general readers interested in the history and politics of Canadian welfare.


“As students of public policy are well aware, an examination of the birth, life, and eventual demise of a major universal social program can be a complex, sometimes infuriating and often fascinating journey for the social science researcher. This can be compounded by a need to cover a wide expanse of time if that policy is longstanding, a variety of governments charged with overseeing and sometimes altering said policy, and the shifting complexities of core Canadian public policy institutions (in this case federalism). It is under these daunting circumstances that historian Raymond Blake conducts the first full-length book analysis of the origins and history of family allowances in Canada. The good news here is that he is very successful in telling this complicated policy story and challenging previous analyses that he charges as being too singular in focus.” Professor Cheryl Collier, University of Windsor,” in Canadian Public Policy, 2010

“Raymond Blake quite rightly argues that historical perspectives are necessary for understanding why Canada's once-rich fisheries have been devastated in recent years. This book, part of the Contemporary Affairs Series, is based mostly on secondary sources and aims to provide a general introduction to Canadian fisheries policies and to shed light on the causes of the crises afflicting both Atlantic and Pacific coast fisheries in the 1990s. His main argument is that Canadian fisheries management has been thwarted by politics, which he believes permitted too many people to remain in the fishery. He is also highly critical of the voracious fishing by international fishing vessels over the past few decades.” Marian Wright, Professor of History, University of Windsor, Canadian Historical Review, 2007

Laced with compelling writing about French food and its ways, Breakfast in Burgundy is part travel memoir, part foodie detective story, and part love song to Raymond’s adopted home. This book tells the story of the Blakes’ decision to buy a house in Burgundy. Raymond describes the moments of despair—such as the water leak that cost a fortune—and the fantastic times too.


Dr. Raymond B. Blake

University of Regina - History Department

3737 Wascana Parkway

Regina, SK   S4S 0A2

Phone: 306-585-5431

Fax: 306-585-4827

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© 2017 Raymond B. Blake

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