Who has held political power in Nova Scotia? How did they get it? And what did they do with it? In his latest book, best-selling author and former cabinet minister Graham Steele takes us on a roller-coaster ride through seventy-five years of Nova Scotia politics from 1945 to 2020.
The story ranges from Angus L. Macdonald, who won a crushing election victory in 1945 after a bitter falling-out with prime minister Mackenzie King, to Stephen McNeil, who provoked the first-ever teachers’ strike yet won the first back-to-back majorities in thirty years. It covers premiers from the calm intellectual Robert Stanfield, to the acerbic outsider Donald Cameron, to the aloof reformer John Savage, and highlights trailblazers like Gladys Porter, Wayne Adams, and Donald Marshall Jr.
Nova Scotia politics has seen an almost unnatural focus on jobs, roads, and corruption. Steele doesn’t shy away from the controversial parts of our political history: the trial of Gerald Regan for sexual crimes; the political pressure that led to the opening of the ill-starred Westray mine; and the environmental racism that pumped effluent into Boat Harbour for fifty years.
This is a book for anyone interested in modern Nova Scotia history or politics. It’s for the avid politics-watcher, of course, but also for the new voter, the newcomer, the new parent, the newly retired—anyone who wants some historical depth by which to understand today’s politics.
Steele pulls together the threads of history, adding original stories and archival research to the existing rich vein of historical writing, and then applies his own political experience to find the through lines that tie together past, present, and future.