Category: Reviews

McNeil biography leaves out impact on health crisis of Ex-Premier’s hard line approach

Although he clearly admires his subject, it would be wrong to call Dan Leger’s recently-published biography of Stephen McNeil a hagiography. To his credit the veteran journalist presents Nova Scotia’s ex-Premier warts and all, albeit while slapping on thick layers of rationalization to conceal the blemishes. Leger argues that McNeil should “be in the mix” in any discussion about “premiers of consequence,” along with other regional leaders like New Brunswick’s Louis Robichaud and Frank McKenna, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Joey Smallwood, Joe Ghiz of P.E.I and – reaching way back – Nova Scotia’s Angus L. Macdonald. Leger’s case for admitting...

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J.L Ilsley and the challenge to ‘build back better’

Although the book doesn’t make the connection, it’s hard to read Barry Cahill’s new biography of mid-twentieth century politician J.L. Ilsley without drawing parallels with events unfolding today.   James Lorimer Ilsley, a Nova Scotia Liberal from the Annapolis Valley, was federal Minister of Finance during World War II. As a powerful member of Mackenzie King’s cabinet he built a reputation as the one responsible for making sure Canada had the financial wherewithal to contribute significantly to the war effort. Just as with the current battle against COVID-19, the federal government of the day pulled out all the fiscal...

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New book says Canada needs to fight climate change like we fought the Nazis

Timing may not be everything but it is important. Seth Klein was putting the finishing touches on his climate crisis call to arms A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency when COVID-19 hit. The war metaphors for the fight against the virus followed almost immediately and continued at many pandemic constrained Remembrance Day ceremonies last week. For now at least the pandemic and the resulting economic disruption have resulted in governments spending what it takes to wage war against the virus threat. Parallels have been drawn with World War II when the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 100...

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Six years after Lac-Mégantic tragedy questions about rail safety remain

Nearly six years after the horrendous oil train derailment and explosion in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic a group of opposition MPs have renewed calls for a public inquiry into the human and environmental disaster that left 47 dead, many more injured and destroyed the centre of that small Quebec town. Monique Pauzé of the Bloc Quebecois, backed by NDP and Green members, said she was moved to call for re-opening of the case after reading investigative books by Anne-Marie St-Cernay and Bruce Campbell. Transport Minister Marc Garneau dismissed their pleas, accusing the concerned MPs of spreading conspiracy theories...

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Donald Savoie ducks crucial issue for Maritimes

Donald Savoie has mounted the barricades again. Called by some the Sage of Bouctouche for his long career of writing, teaching and advising governments, the septuagenarian University of Moncton political scientist has a new book out on Maritime economic development and its complaints. The 400-page tome Looking for Bootstraps: Economic Development in the Maritimes comes along a decade after Savoie swore off the topic following publication of “Visiting Grandchildren: Economic Development in the Maritimes,” also weighing in at around 400 pages. Grandchildren was a scholarly work published by the University of Toronto Press. A cover blurb called it Savoie’s...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, a former radio and TV producer and weekly newspaper editor, and the author of three non-fiction books. Starr has lived in Dartmouth for more than 30 years.

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