Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town has proven to be one of Canada’s most venerable works of fiction. Written in 1912, this collection of interconnected short stories about small-town Canada has never been out-of-print. Mordecai Richler may have best-explained the book’s longevity when he said that it is “as much good honest fun to read today as it was when first published.”
Sunshine Sketches can be understood to be more than just a good-natured satire of small-town Canada. It can help us examine the roots, benefits, and limits of Canada’s liberal democratic tradition. From prohibition debates to elections to reconciliation, this issue of The PLEA uses Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town to ask how have we succeeded as a liberal democracy? And how can we do better?