James George Eayrs | The Canadian Encyclopedia


James George Eayrs

James George Eayrs, political scientist, educator (born 13 October 1926 in London, England; died 6 February 2021 in Toronto, ON). Educated at the University of Toronto, Columbia and London School of Economics, Eayrs was Eric Dennis Memorial Professor of Political Science and Government at Dalhousie University. He taught at the University of Toronto (1952–80) and at Dalhousie University (1980–92) and was editor of the International Journal (1959–84).

James George Eayrs was a superb stylist and an influential pioneer in the study of 20th-century Canadian foreign and defence policy. His major scholarly publications include The Art of the Possible (1961) and In Defence of Canada (5 vols, 1964–83), which won the Governor-General's Award for Non-Fiction in 1965.

Eayrs's reputation outside the university world rested upon his controversial journalism and public commentary on Canadian and international affairs, selections of which are collected in Northern Approaches (1961), Minutes of the Sixties (1968) and Greenpeace and her Enemies (1973).

His early journalism displays a pro-NATO, Cold War liberal sympathetic to the US. The 1960s and 1970s saw him an opponent of NATO, an advocate of Canadian neutrality and a harsh critic of diplomats and diplomacy.

Eayrs received the Molson Prize in 1984. The following year, he was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada. Eayrs was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.