Speakers of the Senate, Grant Purves (Library of Parliament:
This collection of biographies
makes a handy starting point for anyone interested in doing research of the
upper house. The biographies are chronological, but are more than a recitation
of awards. Most cover two pages, including the speaker's portrait.
This is not meant to be a
comprehensive guide to the Senate speakers office nor are there any juicy
details on scandals or financial ruin. The downfall of the Hon. John Ross due
to his indecision during the Riel affair is slickly glossed over, as is the
colourful career of the Hon. Jean Marchand.
One of the hypotheses of this work
is that the speakers chair is not the end of a career. It is not convincing.
For most individuals the Senate speakership is only attained at the end of an
illustrious public career.
In the end, it is the omissions
which detract from the book more than anything. It would be so much better to
see such a collection expanded to include the colourful detail and the
controversies that first enticed these men and women into public life and
inspired them to new heights or contributed to their demise.
Mike Aiken, School of Journalism, Carleton University,