Segal, Hugh

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SEGAL, HUGH (1951– ), Canadian author, political strategist, educator, and pundit. Segal was born in Montreal into a family of modest means. He attended Jewish parochial school but, unusual in the heavily Liberal Party-supporting English-speaking Jewish community of Montreal, Segal was early drawn to the Conservative Party of John Diefenbaker. In 1962, when Segal only 13, Diefenbaker, then Conservative prime minister, visited Segal's school and so impressed Segal that he campaigned on behalf of his local Conservative Party candidate in the 1962 federal election. The Conservative candidate lost the seat but Segal was hooked on politics and went on to become an influential Conservative Party insider.

In 1972 Segal graduated in history from the University of Ottawa, where, very active in the Young Conservatives, he was elected student union president. Also in 1972 and again in 1974 Segal unsuccessfully sought election in Ottawa for a seat in the House of Commons. While never elected to public office, as a high-profile Red Tory, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, Segal served on the staff of Robert Stanfield, leader of the Opposition, was a senior aide to Ontario premier William Davis, and a close advisor and, for a time, chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. In 1998 he ran unsuccessfully against Joe Clark to lead the Conservative Party of Canada. More recently, Segal unsuccessfully warned against the merger of the federal Conservative Party with the more socially conservative Alliance Party.

From 1999 Segal was president of the Institute on Research on Public Policy and taught in the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He was also a director of various public companies and active in a number of charitable, educational, and community organizations. He was often called upon by the media to comment on Canadian political issues. In 2003 he was honored with the Order of Canada. He wrote No Surrender: Reflections of a Happy Warrior in the Tory Crusade (1996) and In Defence of Civility: Reflections of a Recovering Politician (2000).

[Harold Troper (2nd ed.)]