TVO host and author Steve Paikin says Durham College’s hands-on approach to learning would not exist without the foundations set by the college system, and the man who helped create it.
Paikin delivered a talk during Homecoming weekend to promote his new book, and commemorate Durham College’s fifty-year anniversary. Bill Davis: Nation Builder, and Not So Bland After All, is Paikin’s bestselling biography of former Ontario premier and education minister, Bill Davis.
Speaking to a crowd of about 50 peope, including DC president Don Lovisa and several college alumni, Paikin shared stories of his experiences with the former premier and highlights from Davis’ 26 years in provincial politics.
For the past quarter-century, Paikin has had connections to Davis.
His nightly current affairs program, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, is broadcast from the William G. Davis studio. In fact, the network that airs The Agenda — TVO— was was founded in 1970 when Davis was education minister.
“He likes to joke, ‘Paikin, had I not created TVO you’d have been unemployed for the last 25 years.’ I don’t correct him because he might be right,” said Paikin.
While summarizing defining moments in Davis’ political career, Paikin pointed out similarities to present-day situations in the province. In particular, says Paikin, Davis’ career bears similarities to the that of Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“It just goes to show you there’s nothing new in politics. Everything old is new again,” said Paikin.
He spoke of Davis’ vast contributions to the college system during his time as education minister from 1962-1971—a time when Durham College was first opening its doors to students.
He says it was the actions of Davis that helped grow enrollment in Ontario’s post-secondary institutions over the years and shaped the future of new schools such as Durham College and Trent University.
Paikin, who has also written about Ontario’s former leaders in Paikin and the Premiers, says it is important that stories from political history be recorded and told.
“If you want to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been,” said Paikin. “And it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of a road map of past attempts at governing and making a society.”
Following the address, Paikin took questions and signed copies of two of his books.
Tony Doyle, associate dean at the Centre for Food at DC, said he read Bill Davis: Nation Builder and was thrilled to hear Paikin’s comments on the book and Davis.
“I am a passionate advocate and supporter of the college system, and I understand the history and the role Mr. Davis played in it,” said Doyle. “I am really proud of our system… and to have a chance to come and hear [Paikin] and hear more firsthand about the stories, it meant a ton to me.”