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Toronto. McClelland and Stewart, c1985. 175pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-7710-4403-8. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Louise Dick

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

In his autobiography, James Jerome combines personal observations of events and people with description and discussion of the workings of parliament. His reminiscences about his years as Speaker of the House of Commons (1974-1979) are clear, candid, and unpretentious; they communicate an admiration and respect for the total parliamentary system and the value of each individual member. Jerome brings to life institutions and practices described in textbooks and scholarly studies.

Teachers and senior students interested in the practice of government will be rewarded by following Jerome's career, by his analysis of question period ("the essence of accountability"), the question of privilege, and points of order; in short the political and personal aspects of parliament and the Speaker's role in "safeguarding and balancing the rights of all members." Jerome takes some credit for the 1977 introduction of television coverage; he also describes some of his errors, including "my worst decision." Teachers of intermediate classes could generate interest in political questions by using Jerome's plea: "the elected member, and . . .the political party, extremely sensitive to your views. . .the worry is. . .that you won't bother to tell them what (your) expectations are!" Selection of examples and incidents from Jerome's book could illustrate the roles of the party and the individual member. Class viewing of televised question periods could then be used to reinforce the concept of "accountability" that Jerome so ably emphasizes. Student simulation of problems for the Speaker might complete the study of parliamentary procedure.

Louise Dick, Branksome Hall School, Toronto, Ont.
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