Elections In New Brunswick 17841984, New
Brunswick Legislative Library, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1984, 311 p; The
Premiers Of New Brunswick, Arthur T. Doyle, Brunswick Press, Fredericton, New
Brunswick, 1983, 76 p.
Last year was the Bicentennial of the
Province of New Brunswick. These two books, although very different, are useful
additions to the Library of anyone interested in provincial politics in Canada.
The book on elections is basically a
reference work containing electoral boundaries and election results in every
election and by-election since 1785. Results are listed both chronologically
and by constituency. Although the book consists mainly of maps and tables the
short introduction on elections and election legislation reveals some
interesting and amusing aspects of early political history not restricted to
New Brunswick. "In the beginning there was no party affiliation as it is
known today, Party was influenced by so many personal factors – candidate's
religion, place of birth. social class, drinking habits. and family ties all
had a part in political affiliation" (p. 2). In 1854 a newspaper attempted
to divide the candidates in York into the following groupings: Orange; Roman
Catholic: Temperence, Orange and Temperence; Roman Catholic and Protestant;
Roman Catholic Temperence and Lumber; Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Lumber;
Rural Interest: Agricultural Interest and the Destruction of Bears and Wolves.
A study of election results by the diligent
historian will reveal many areas for investigation in greater detail. For
example what happened in the Saint John election of 1785 whereby a recount
replaced the five leading vote getters with those who had received the lowest
number of votes during the first count?
The book is published in a bilingual
edition. While not as attractive as similar books put out by some of the
provinces, those responsible for the book can take pride in their Bicentennial
The book on the premiers of New Brunswick is
a chatty anecdotal account of the careers of twenty-five men who have been
premier of that province since 1867. Each premier, regardless of his time in
office or political importance is given about the same amount of space and a
single photograph. The author make a conscious attempt to characterize each
premier in a few words. This makes for interesting reading but there is a bit
too much repetition. The lack of any bibliography makes one wonder if most of
the information is taken from Who's Who and obituaries. Nevertheless one will
never find an easier way to obtain a good overview of more than 100 years of
New Brunswick history.