Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years

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  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 535 pages
  • Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years
  • Peter C. Newman
  • English
  • 02 July 2019
  • 9780771067471

10 thoughts on “Renegade in Power: The Diefenbaker Years

  1. says:

    This is a very unbalance and unfair book about a good hearted man who had a habit of making himself appear to be a fool even when he was right John Diefenbaker was a colourful and morally righteous opposition Member of Parliament who became leader of the Federal Conservative Party because no Conservative of national stature wanted the thankless task of trying to lead the party against the seemingly unbeatable Liberals Diefenbaker relished the task He believed that any effective government needed a loyal opposition Much to everyone s surprise he put an end to 27 years of Liberal government in the 1957 elections.Peter C Newman paints his years in office as ones of carnavalesque, incompetence The real problem was that Diefenbaker had no cabinet experience to prepare him for the top job At the same time, his Ontario caucus tended to underestimate him as a colourful eccentric from rural Saskatchewan The civil servants after 27 years of Liberal rule felt comfortable defying him in public To compound his problems, Diefenbaker was an idealist and a moralizer He felt that as a member of the British Commonwealth, Canada should have taken the side of Great Britain against the US in the Suez crisis He tried to extricate Canada from the Norad treaty under which Canada agreed to house US nuclear missiles on its territory He led the movement to have South Africa expelled from the British Commonwealth and it was his government that first gave Canadian Indians the right to vote.After losing the 1963 election, Diefenbaker spent another 16 wildly histrionic years in parliament thoroughly destroying his legacy His greatest fiasco was his 1964 parliamentary filibuster that he mounted against the Liberal s project to give Canada a flag Being part of the British Empire, Canada s official flag had been the Union Jack until the Pearson liberals decided that Canada needed its own flag Diefenbaker quite literally forgot the old rule of electoral politics that you cannot run against the flag.The role of the journalist or historian however is not to compile a list of gaffes so as to discredit a clumsy politician Diefenbaker was at times inept but always principle and never mean spirited He deserved far better than Newman s nasty attack on him.

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