A WORLD UNTO ITSELF: THE POLITICAL MEMOIRS OF DON JAMIESON, Vol. II
Volume 19 Number 4
As a member of Parliament for more than thirteen years, eleven as Newfoundland's representative in cabinet, Don Jamieson was well qualified to describe the unique world of Parliament. His skill as a political observer is apparent in an earlier volume. No Place for Fools (Breakwater Press, 1989), which focuses on Newfoundland's entry into Confederation. The present volume details his first five years in Parliament, beginning with his election in September 1966.
As a humble backbencher, Jamieson was frustrated by bureaucratic red tape and indifference to his concerns by other MPs. He quickly learned "how the political game was played," with its wheeling and dealing and extensive use of personal relationships. His appointment to cabinet in 1968 brought new powers and responsibilities. Much of the text describes how this select group of decision makers functioned.
Jamieson captures the atmosphere of cabinet and its subcommittees, where debate on current issues and policy initiatives could become heated as options were weighed and the complex implications of decisions discussed. Specific examples often illustrate more general observations on the nature of government. In particular, his frustration with the slow pace of reform, the reluctance of top level bureaucrats to embrace new approaches or techniques, and the ultimate failure of government to eradicate fundamental problems are all well stated.
A World unto Itself would make good supplementary reading for any course in Canadian civics. An index adds to its usefulness for students examining the late Pearson or early Trudeau years.
Val K. Lem, Board of Education for the City of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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