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Patrick Kyba

Regina, Canadian Plains Research Center, 1989. 408pp, cloth, $30.00
ISBN 0-88977-056-5. CIP

Reviewed by Gerri Young.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

Canadians seem to ignore politicians who are not party leaders. Sometimes these politicians are successful and have a great impact on policies. Alvin Hamilton, P.C., was one such politician. He was minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources and minister of Agriculture under John Diefenbaker.

Hamilton decided early in his life to become a politician and made educa­tional choices to help him in his chosen profession. He was a hard worker and dedicated his life to enable Canada and Canadians to reach their enormous potential, as he saw it. "He was a career politician, he had a desire to serve, and his ego expanded no further than the belief that he could contribute some­thing of value to the political process." He did not trust those who put their own interests above those of the nation, and he could see dangers ahead. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hamilton asked the government to make policies regarding pollution and to allow Canadians income-tax breaks on research and installation of energy-conservation methods, albeit with little success.

Patrick Kyba, of the University of Guelph, has written a well-researched, comprehensive, scholarly biography of Hamilton's public life. The book is arranged chronologically and covers Hamilton as a youth, his education, his war service, his struggle in Saskatche­wan provincial politics, his final victory in a federal ministry, and the Diefenbaker, Stanfield, Clark and Mulroney years. The author definitely admires his subject, but the writing is fair and balanced. He does not try for sainthood. The book is well made and easy to read with good photographs, notes and an index.

Recommended for political students and enthusiasts.

Gerri Young, Fort Nelson, B.C .
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