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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

The Road Back

By a Liberal in Opposition

by (author) J.W. Pickersgill

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1986
Personal Memoirs, Political, General, Canadian
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 1986
    List Price

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The irrepressible Jack Pickersgill – sometime Liberal cabinet minister and party strategist, ever the bane of the Diefenbaker Tories – is back. This latest volume in his memoirs brims with an insider’s special understandings of the workings of government and the personalities that drive it. It cover Pickersgill’s years in opposition, from St Laurent’s defeat at the hands of Diefenbaker in 1957 through to the election of a Liberal government under Lester Pearson six years later and Pickersgill’s session as House Leader.
With typical candour Pickersgill recalls the Liberals’ scramble to establish themselves as an effective opposition. He freely admits their mistakes, including his own, and gleefully recounts their successes in embarrassing the government at every opportunity. He discusses the issues that preoccupied him, generally as a member of the opposition and specifically as the member for Bonavista-Twillingate, Newfoundland; among them were the bitter Newfoundland logging striker of 1959, the extension of the Trans-Canada highway eastward beyond Quebec, the Coyne affair, (when the governor of the Bank of Canada refused to resign), the Hal Banks affair, and the bitter debate over Canada’s role in an age of nuclear weapons.
A zest for political battle runs infectiously through this volume. Pickersgill’s pen is as sharp as ever, skillfully pricking balloons (usually Tory-blue balloons) of pomposity and pretension, and vividly evoking the travails of campaigning in Newfoundland, through snow and fog, in boats, planes, and cars, and on foot. Once again he has opened the doors of Ottawa back rooms and given us an entertaining and instructive look at how political battles are lost and won.

About the author

J.W. PICKERSGILL is now retired from a career in the civil service and politics that spans almost fifty years. He still lives in Ottawa.

J.W. Pickersgill's profile page

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