The Broadview Book Of Canadian
Parliamentary Anecdotes, Marc Bosc, Broadview Press, Peterborough, 1988, 343 p.
Marc Bosc is a Procedural Clerk
with the House of Commons' Journals Directorate. His book is one of a series of
three collections of anecdotes published by Broadview Press: the other two are
about the Middle Ages and about Canada in general. Anthologies of anecdotes
constitute a very specialized literary genre, and to succeed they have to meet
certain criteria. As Mr. Bosc explains, an anecdote is the account of an
incident or event that is interesting, funny, or striking in itself. It is more
likely to reveal something immediate about an individual than to present an
in-depth personality analysis; it might also be said that the anecdote's form
makes the incident reported seem trivial or without real importance. Be that as
it may, the teller of anecdotes can usually count on being a popular success.
Politicians on the whole lend
themselves particularly well to being anecdotalized. Their visibility, their
idiosyncrasies, the curiosity of the media, all make them ideal targets.
Canada's politicians are no exception. As Mr. Bosc's book makes abundantly
clear, our parliamentarians are neither drab nor conventional: on the contrary!
Their quips, their escapades, their obsessions, both in the House and outside
it, make hilarious reading.
Mr. Bosc has chosen to give us his
personal favourites, in chronological order, from Confederation to the present
day (the latter including only former parliamentarians who are no longer active
in politics). Memoirs and biographies were the main sources. And as could have
been expected, Prime Ministers are the subject of more anecdotes than anyone
This is an entertaining book, and
one that humanizes a great many Canadian political figures.
Serge Pelletier, Research Branch, Library of Parliament