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Gary Levy

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 project.

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.

The Editor

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 8 no 1

Last Updated: 2019-07-15