Arctic Sovereignty? Canada owes it to Joseph-Elzéar Bernier! A new biography tells why, how, when and much more

Arctic Sovereignty? Canada owes it to Joseph-Elzéar Bernier! A new biography tells why, how, when and much more

Press release

Montreal (August 29, 2009) – Could Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, who claimed the entire Arctic Archipelago for Canada exactly 100 years ago, have imagined that his claim would remain the foundation of Canada’s diplomatic and possibly legal case for Arctic sovereignty in 2009? With Arctic waters being ever more navigable, a burning issue from the early 20th century is back in the headlines early in the 21st. That is why the somewhat forgotten hero, ship-captain and explorer Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, is so relevant today. Canada’s greatest navigator dreamed of conquering the North Pole, but his crowning achievement was no less than to establish his country’s Arctic boundaries. Without Bernier, the geopolitical configuration of the North might be quite different today.

Bernier was a remarkable man. Born and raised to a long line of ship captains and seafarers in L’Islet-sur-Mer on the Lower St. Lawrence, he first went to sea at age 14 and became ship captain at 17. At the helm of Quebec-built sailing ships, he frequently set transatlantic records delivering ships to British owners.

To mark the centennial of the claim made on July 1, 1909, Marjolaine Saint-Pierre’s fine, well-researched biography of Joseph-Elzéar Bernier has been translated by William Barr and published in English by Baraka Books in collaboration with the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary.

“The author combines the skills of researcher, historian and storyteller to produce a wonderful book.” Daniel Rolland, Culture

“A remarkable accomplishment by Marjolaine Saint-Pierre! The vast but meticulous research and the fine illustrations make it an essential book for any serious marine library.” Cap-aux-Diamants

“It is the most thorough portrait that exists of the legendary captain.” L’escale nautique

About the author and translator (both available for interviews – 514-808-8504)

MARJOLAINE SAINT-PIERRE spent five years researching Joseph-Elzéar Bernier and even more defending his contribution to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. Her previous book Saint-Castin, baron français, chef amérindien 1652-1707, obtained the France-Acadie award in 2000.

WILLIAM BARR is a senior research associate with the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary. He has translated many books from French, German, and Russian on the Arctic and Antarctic explorers. .

372 pages, 200+ illustrations

Paper $39.95    ISBN 978-0-9812405-1-0

Hardcover $75    ISBN 978-0-9812405-4-1

Available September 1, 2009 singulair medication.
Orders: LitDistCo: 1-800-591-6250