ERNA PARIS is the author of seven acclaimed works of literary non-fiction and the winner of twelve national and international writing awards for her books, feature writing, and radio documentaries. Her works have been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages. Long Shadows: Truth, Lies, and History was chosen as one of “The Hundred Most Important Books Ever Written in Canada” by the Literary Review of Canada. In May 2007 Long Shadows inspired the Canadian House of Commons motion to apologize, on behalf of the government, to survivors of Canadian residential schools. In June 2002 it inspired a resolution in the United States House of Representatives to create a monument to American slaves on the Washington Mall. (For more information, please see Awards and Honours.)


The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice was first on The Globe and Mail's “best book of the year” list and shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.


Her most recent book is From Tolerance to Tyranny: A Cautionary Tale from Fifteenth-Century Spain.


Erna is a member of the Honorary Council of the Canadian Centre for International Justice; a member of the Canada Committee of Human Rights Watch; a member of the executive of the World Federalist Movement-Canada; a vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and a past chair of the Writers' Union of Canada. Erna is a frequent contributor to the opinion page of the Globe and Mail. In 2012, she was awarded the World Federalist Movement – Canada World Peace Award. In 2015 she was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016, The Globe and Mail

If you have read John Hersey’s classic book Hiroshima, you may recall the sights that will confront President Barack Obama on Friday when he enters the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. There he will see a life-sized display of a wounded family staggering toward the Ota River. Their “skin” hangs in shreds, but their faces are intact, to protect the millions of schoolchildren who visit the museum. No melted eyes stream out of empty sockets. [more]

Friday May 6, 2016, The Globe and Mail

The controversial French comedian Dieudonné is booked to perform 10 shows in a small Montreal gallery starting next week – if he’s allowed into the country. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has called him persona non grata. Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has pointed out that discriminatory speech is not tolerated in Canada. [more]

, The Globe and Mail

“The crime of crimes” just entered the frenzy of U.S. politics. Last Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the actions of the Islamic State against Christians and other minority groups in Syria and Iraq constitute an act of genocide. This highest-level designation was long resisted by the Obama administration, largely because the genocide label carries with it a customary obligation to take further action against the perpetrators. Since President Barack Obama will not be placing U.S. boots on the ground in Syria or Iraq (lessons learned from the failed Iraq war that spawned IS in the first place), this reality placed his administration in an ambiguous place before Mr. Kerry had even finished his historic speech. Genocide, the most serious offence within the category of crimes against humanity, concerns acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group; and under international law impeccable evidence is required to sustain the charge. While there is evidence that IS attacks on the Yazidis of Iraq might meet the criteria, Mr. Kerry’s assertion on behalf of the Christian population seemed more tenuous. [more]

Order of Canada

“To be recognized by one’s country… I am overcome with gratitude.” Erna Paris, December 30, 2015

Erna has been appointed to the Order of Canada. The citation reads: “Erna Paris is one of Canada’s leading human rights commentators and activists.  An award-winning journalist and author, she has never hesitated to address sensitive issues in order to explore the roots of intolerance.  Her examination of the difficulty that nations have in confronting shameful historical episodes in Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History, inspired efforts at reconciliation with residential school survivors in this country and with the descendants of the victims of slavery in the United States.  She has also mentored many young writers and has consistently taken leadership roles in the literary and human rights communities.”

Erna Paris was invested into the Order of Canada
‎by Governor General David Johnston in September 2016.

Erna Paris and David Johnston
Photo: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall ©OSGG, 2016.

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, The Globe and Mail

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold/… And what rough beast, its hour come at last/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? – Yeats, The Second Coming

As Christmas approaches, these words, written in 1919 by W.B. Yeats occupy my mind. Within a few years, the first incarnation of the prescient “rough beast” came to power as Adolf Hitler, to be followed by Josef Stalin, then by the purveyors of hatred in Rwanda and Bosnia, whose racist bile culminated in genocide. The early 21st-century wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have spawned their own beast: Islamic State. [more]