THE POLITICS OF TASTE
The dreams and fancies of Canada’s provincial premiers
There’s a basic difference between power and image. Image is going on television a lot. Power is doing things.
Federal politics is image. Provincial politics is power.
For the last 10 years, we’ve all been looking in the wrong place. We thought Ottawa ran the country. The men on the next six pages know better. Ottawa runs itself. They run the country.
And nobody knows anything about them. They’re making the real decisions; they spend some $2.3 billion every year in areas that touch people’s lives — education, health, urban development. And all the national reporters, meanwhile, are sitting around Ottawa’s Press Gallery trying to figure out why there’s so little news.
Given their power, the premiers are the least-examined men in the country. Their predecessors, men such as Joey Smallwood, W. A. C. Bennett, Maurice Duplessis and Mitchell Hepburn, were colorful to the point of saturation. These premiers know better. Publicity is for movie stars; power is something else.
It is the job of political analysis to find patterns in the complexities of public life; to understand the patterns is to understand power. Maclean’s set out to find the patterns of taste and personality shared by these 10 men who control such a huge share of the country’s decision-making apparatus. Their answers to the magazine’s questionnaire appear on the following pages. And certain things come clear:
Seniority is not required. Pierre Trudeau and Robert Stanfield are older
than any of these men. The average age of Canada’s provincial premiers is 41.
Knowledge Is power. Frank Moores is the only premier who hasn’t got a university degree. Four premiers did some university work abroad, and David Barrett, of British Columbia, took two degrees in the United States, which might mean something and might not. Seven out of 10 provincial premiers are lawyers, whether they’ve practised or not.
Power moves with people. Ten years ago, none of these men were premiers, and the provinces were run by a very different breed, of men from rural constituencies. Now all the premiers are urban oriented, all practised their professions in urban areas, and most represent urban constituencies in their legislatures.
And, of course, two obvious but quite meaningful parallels. All the premiers are male. Only one, the premier of Quebec, speaks French as a first language.
A radical view of all this might be that the premiers are physical representations of a Canadian conservatism — that we still give power only to a certain male, anglophone, educated minority.
The point, however, is that if the premiers are members of an elite, it’s our elite, one that the country created and feels easy with. The tastes and perceptions of our premiers are the tastes and perceptions of Canadians. Their reality is our image.
Seven premiers were elected to office within a year or so of assuming the leadership of their parties.
Tastes change. Power moves.
1 I try to arrange my schedule so that I can take 10 days away from it all two or three times a year. My favorite place is the wilds of Newfoundland in the fall. I have a makeshift cabin on the “barrens” and I go there to hunt partridge, and for peace and solitude. I find I need more than a few days to relax because of the unwinding process; these longer breaks are far better than trying to fit in free time more frequently. Aside from this, whatever free time I have I spend reading, listening to music and watching hockey or football games on TV. 2 I think the last movie I saw was Anne Of The Thousand Days; I like Julie Christie, Alec Guinness and Peter Ustinov. 3 Van Gogh. 4 Bertrand Russell — and John Creasey at the other end of the scale. 5 Semiclassical and classical (Mozart), also folk music. 6 In Newfoundland, it’s on the “barrens.” Outside, at our summer cottage in Ontario, Europe or in the sun. 7 Partridge shooting, salmon fishing. 8 Shellfish — lobster, shrimp, etc. — duckling, Caesar salads. 9 I was dissatisfied with the Liberal government of Joey Smallwood. If Newfoundland needed anything in 1968 it was new people
with new Ideas becoming involved in politics. Also, I was familiar with the problems of my area; I knew the people, and I was committed to working on their behalf. This was coupled with my respect for Bob Stanfield, who encouraged me to run. 10 My political philosophy is not complex. I am motivated by a deep concern for my province and my country. I want to make a contribution. I decided that the best way was to offer myself for public office. I was not a “political arrival,” nor did I have behind me a life of political involvement. Thus in a philosophical sense no one thing or idea influenced me so greatly that I can pinpoint it. In many ways my beliefs change with my experiences, though I abide by certain basic principles at all times. 11 Regionalism. We are such a big country that the provinces have turned inward — each has virtually withdrawn into itself. The separatist movement in Quebec Is the most obvious example. Yet you could travel out west and find people with the same attitude about the direction their province should take. We concentrate our energies on being disunited. The economic situation and unemployment — essentially the economic policies of the Trudeau government. Preserving the environment. 12 Newfoundland has complex problems, both economic and sociological. The province was badly mismanaged, particularly in recent years, and the priorities literally have to be reversed. Smallwood concentrated on trying to develop heavy industrial projects, and the need now is to turn to developing our resource-based industries -the fishery, long neglected; the tremendous timber wealth, the mines, and our agricultural potential — industries which will provide jobs on a continuing basis, and jobs people can do In their home areas. Tourism is another industry with excellent prospects, both winter and summer. Conservation generally Is of tremendous concern to our province. It means, for instance, control of the Canadian Continental Shelf, i.e., control in the form of the management of marine resource. Unemployment Is very high In Newfoundland. Part of the problem is not only to provide jobs but to give people the incentive to work. Welfare has been handed out quite freely to compensate for the lack of jobs. Consequently, welfare became the easier way of dealing with unemployment. We have to create jobs for the able-bodied people and revamp the welfare program so it is geared to assist the needy and is not used as a panacea for unemployment. We shall attempt to develop our province so that people can live and work in their home areas, if they so choose. The former government began a resettlement program in the outport areas, whereby people living there were moved to larger centres of population. They were promised jobs, but most have ended up on welfare because there were no jobs, or the jobs required skills they didn’t have. There is also much to be done concerning the quality of life our people enjoy. Health services, education, recreation, roads, housing, pollution — all require immediate attention. 13 As a Canadian, I feel I have a vague identity in the global sense. We talk a lot about a “Canadian identity” but ft has yet to crystallize. We try hard to establish an identity as “nice people,” and because of It we are basically ineffective. We must be more forceful in being ourselves, and not worry so much about treading on toes internationally. I am proud to be a Canadian. I will work to do what I can to bring this country together. I think we have something unique to contribute as a nation, and how successful we are depends on how willing we are to compromise our differences for the betterment of our country. 14 I suppose, given the fairy godmother wish, I would be a dreamer, and travel totally uninvolved. I think I have the capability of being a complete wanderer. The sea holds a never ending fascination for me. 15 The danger is that provincial premiers have been just that — provincial — but if a premier can think in the Canadian context I think he would probably be very good. 16 Bourassa. And once again, Bourassa. In a sentence, I could use any of the 1 0 premiers to answer both questions.
QUESTIONS. 1 HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME? 2 NAME ONE RECENT MOVIE THAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FILM STARS? 3 WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PAINTER? 4 WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? 5 WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU PREFER? 6 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VACATION SPOT BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE YOUR PROVINCE? 7 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? 8 WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FOODS? 9 WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO GO INTO POLITICS? 10 WHO OR WHAT IDEA MOST INFLUENCED YOUR PRESENT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY? 11 WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE THREE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEMS FACING CANADA TODAY? 12 WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS FACING YOUR PROVINCE TODAY? 13 WHAT IDENTITY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AS A CANADIAN? 14 IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO BE ANYTHING BUTA PREMIER. WHAT WOULD IT BE? 15 DO YOU THINK THAT EXPERIENCE AS A PROVINCIAL PREMIER ISA GOOD BACKGROUND FORA CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TO HAVE? 16 WHICH OF YOUR FELLOW PROVINCIAL PREMIERS DO YOU THINK HAS THE EASIEST JOB AND WHICH OF THEM HAS THE TOUGHEST ASSIGNMENT?
1 With family and friends. 2 Dr. Zhivago. 3 Jean-Paul Lemieux. 4 Arthur Schlesinger. 5 Folk. 6 In Prince Edward Island, our cottage at Stanley Bridge; Bermuda. 7 Pre public life, golf and curling. 8 Veal, lobster and barbequed mackerel. 9 To promote improvement in the social and economic order of Prince Edward Island. 10 Necessity has more often been the author of my actions than an established political philosophy. 11 Lack of investment; small population; rising costs of social services. 12 Lack of natural resources; lack of investment in secondary industry. 13 Federalist. 14 Ticket vendor on the PEI causeway. 15 No answer. 16 It’s a tough job in any province — but especially in Quebec.
1 Reading, or skiing or tennis with my children. 2 None, as pressure of work has prevented my seeing any in recent years. None. 3 Lismer. 4 Peter C. Newman. 5 Operatic. 6 Cabot Trail. 7 Tennis. 8 I like most food — I like variety. 9 Desire to participate in public life. 10 The late Flonorable Angus L. Macdonald. 11 Regional disparity; national unity; world trading problems. 12 Costs of government services compared with sources of revenue; unemployment; the need for national policies compatible with the needs of Nova Scotia. 13 No answer. 14 A lawyer. 15 Experience is always useful. 16 Being premier of any Canadian province is a very difficult and demanding job.
1 Being alone with myself, with nature and with music to do what ever I feel like doing at the time. 2 The French Connection; Rita Hayworth, Don Sutherland. 3 P.-E. Borduas. 4 Alden Nowlan. 5 Current rock; The Band, Crowbar, Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. 6 Inside the province, Grand Lake (because it is close to the office) but I have a favorite beach in Grand Anse and I love the islands of Charlotte County. Outside the province, anywhere in Africa, especially Marrakesh. 7 Watching the Expos play baseball. 8 New Brunswick salmon and fiddleheads, poutine râpée, Dr. Pike’s gasless beans. 9 People. 10 José Ortega y Gasset — The Revoit Of The Masses. 11 Federalism; inequality of opportunity in Canada; the tendency to oversimplify very complex problems. 12 Lack of employment opportunities which results in insufficient monies for social development in our province. 13 As a Canadian I identify with the size and diversity of my country. I believe a Canadian is one who has compassion for his fellow citizens and for the aspiration of all people. He is polite, serious and reasonable. 14 A producer of television documentaries. 15 Canada’s prime minister should have as much experience as possible in the science of governing — but most of all he needs a consuming ambition for the task. 16 Barrett has the easiest job and Bourassa the toughest.
1 I have very little spare time. When I have a few hours leisure time I spend them with my family. 2 I very seldom attend a movie. 3 We have a number of contemporary Ontario artists in our home. 4 Helen Maclnnes. 5 Dixieland. 6 In Ontario I spend my time at my cottage on Georgian Bay. When I travel for vacations outside Ontario, I like to go to Florida. 7 Canadian football. 8 Steak, Caesar salad, strawberry shortcake and lemon pie. 9 My father. 10 Two people most influenced my political philosophy: Gordon Graydon and the Honorable Thomas L. Kennedy. 11 Unemployment; taxation and economic objectives; environment. 12 (Same as No. 11). 13 I have always taken pride in being a Canadian. The Canadian identity is a developing thing. It is a product of our history as a country and of our aspirations for the future. Canada has a vast cultural potential. I believe in a healthy, but not strident, nationalism, because it is a sign of self-esteem, self-confidence, and assurance of our worth as an individual nation. I have some difficulty in understanding why we should still be so lacking in this self-confidence that we find it necessary to continue asking this question. 14 General Manager and Coach of the Toronto Argonauts. 15 Yes. 16 The job of being a premier of any province is difficult, and none of them is easier or tougher than any other.
QUESTIONS. 1 HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME? 2 NAME ONE RECENT MOVIE THAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FILM STARS? 3 WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PAINTER? 4 WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? 5 WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU PREFER? 6 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VACATION SPOT BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE YOUR PROVINCE? 7 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? 8 WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FOODS? 9 WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO GO INTO POLITICS? 10 WHO OR WHAT IDEA MOST INFLUENCED YOUR PRESENT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY? 11 WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE THREE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEMS FACING CANADA TODAY? 12 WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS FACING YOUR PROVINCE TODAY? 13 WHAT IDENTITY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AS A CANADIAN? 14 IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO BE ANYTHING BUT A PREMIER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 15 DO YOU THINK THAT EXPERIENCE AS A PROVINCIAL PREMIER IS A GOOD BACKGROUND FORA CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TO HAVE? 16 WHICH OF YOUR FELLOW PROVINCIAL PREMIERS DO YOU THINK HAS THE EASIEST JOB AND WHICH OF THEM HAS THE TOUGHEST ASSIGNMENT?
1 Swimming, walking. 2 Saint-Jérôme by Fernand Dansereau. 3 René Richard. 4 Kenneth Galbraith and Maurice Duverger. 5 Eighteenth-century German composers (Bach, Handel, Beethoven). 6 Laurentians and Gaspé 7 Swimming. 8 Seafood. 9 A firm conviction that government can improve the situation of the citizens, as well as the fascination of the challenge. 10 Emmanuel Mounier, Kenneth Galbraith, John Maynard Keynes. 11 An identity crisis; an excessive centralization; a civil service whose weight and red tape are not sufficiently contested. 12 Unemployment; federal centralization and Quebec specificity; fiscal redistribution. 13 My first preoccupation is Quebec. As a Canadian, I must make sure that our federal system is profitable to the population of Quebec. 14 In charge of a large future-oriented corporation or university lecturer. 15 Possibly. 16 Bill Davis has the easiest and I have the toughest but the most fascinating one.
1 Listening and talking to family and friends; reading. 2 Dr. Zhivago; Julie Christie, Paul Newman. 3 J. Beardy, Robert Kost, Wyeth, A. Y. Jackson, Flemish School. 4 Remarque, Shirer, Malraux, Berton. 5 Classical definitely; nostalgic western. 6 Various Manitoba lakes; British Columbia. 7 Golf and curling, formerly baseball. 8 Flolobchi and perogies, western beef. 9 The belief that, just as science can solve many physical problems, government can solve many social and economic problems of maldistribution, social discrimination and lack of opportunity. 10 The belief that social justice and human decency require a never ending striving for more equality in the human condition. 11 Agricultural decline and western alienation; regional disparity; foreign ownership; unemployment. 12 Again, agricultural decline and western alienation; resource development; native job opportunity. (No reply to Questions 13-16.)
1 Most of the free time I have is spent in reading. I find some time to participate in sports. 2 Mon Oncle Antoine; like the earlier movie Gom' Down The Road, it gives a convincing picture of living conditions and the way of life for a major group in Canadian Society. 3 My tastes are quite conventional: French Impressionist — including Monet, Manet, Degas and Gauguin. The McMichael collection of Canadian painters, largely works by the Group of Seven, has a number of impressive paintings. 4 I would probably choose an author whose prose I like to read because of its clarity of style. Agatha Christie, Dr. George Grant, Bertrand Russell and legal judgments written by some of the great English judges such as Lord Wright. In terms of content, I admire Michael | Flarrington. 5 I am not a devotee of serious music. I have a few records and listen to musical comedies of the South Pacific, Fiddler On The Roof variety. I enjoy operatic overtures, but rarely listen to a whole opera or a lengthy symphony concert. 6 in Saskatchewan, my summer cottage about 35 miles from Regina. Farther afield, I choose the
northern part of Saskatchewan, which offers forests, lakes and streams in magnificent variety. Outside my province, my preference is for our Atlantic and Pacific coasts. 7 My favorite sport is hockey, probably because I have played the game and understand it. I play and enjoy tennis and badminton, although I now play neither with any great facility. 8 My favorite foods include good beef well prepared, fried pickerel and seafoods, particularly scallops and clams. 9 I grew up in a family that had an interest in politics. My father was never a candidate for any office other than town councillor, but he maintained a lively interest in provincial and federal politics. When I was attending university, there was a great deal of discussion of political issues and I became seriously interested in politics. 10 When I entered university, I was of my father’s Conservative persuasion. At university I met and discussed politics with many people, particularly with an organizer for the CCF in Nova Scotia, Fred Young, now MPP in the Ontario Legislature. Out of this came a continued interest in politics and a swing to the CCF. 11 In the longer run there are two serious problems facing Canada as distinct from those facing the whole world. First, the threat of absorption culturally, economically — and eventually politically — by the U.S. Secondly, the threat of disintegration as a nation by reason of regional conflict, and particularly by reason of the disaffection of Quebec. In the shorter run, but not unconnected with the other two problems, is the need to create in Canada substantially full employment and economic opportunity for all. 12 The single major problem facing Saskatchewan today is to determine what place agriculture will play in the future economic and social life of Canada. If the nature of agriculture is to change so that it becomes essentially an industrial operation, manned by a relatively small number of people, then the economic and social future of Saskatchewan will be radically different from what it has been or could be. If a method of agricultural production by family-owned and family-operated units can be preserved and strengthened, then we will go a long way toward keeping the best of what we have. Secondly, there is a need to reduce our reliance upon agriculture, and particularly grain production. This requires moves to diversify within agriculture and outside agriculture. But one must resist the temptation to diversify at all costs. Diversification must be planned to preserve our environment. 13 I have a number of reasons to think of myself first and foremost as a Canadian. On my father’s side my family has been Canadian for close to 200 years. My mother, on the other hand, was born in Europe. There is something typically Canadian in this. I attended university in Nova Scotia, articled for a time in Alberta, and pursued my career in Saskatchewan. I was married in Halifax, and after the death of my first wife was married again in Victoria. I have spent at least 10 days in every province. Like most English Canadians I feel I have an inadequate knowledge of the Province of Quebec and of the far north. But I feel that I know what Canada is and why it should continue to be. We must build in Canada a society that is — not better or worse — but different from that of the United States and different from those of Britain or France. 14 In a sense I have had three careers — as a public servant, a practising lawyer and a politician — and have frequently considered a fourth, an academic career. My first love is politics. 15 Yes, and increasingly so. The problems of the government of Canada involve a knowledge of provincial problems. Experience as a provincial premier would be very helpful. This is not an expression of preference for the one ex-premier who leads a national political party. 16 Being premier of British Columbia might be the easiest task. Dealing with the problems of growth, while taxing, is relatively easier than dealing with recession. BC is well endowed with resources and has a high rate of growth. The toughest job surely must be that of the premier of Quebec, where social forces are at work that are difficult to deal with in the context of parliamentary democracy.
QUESTIONS. 1 HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME? 2 NAME ONE RECENT MOVIE THAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FILM STARS? 3 WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE PAINTER? 4 WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? 5 WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU PREFER? 6 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE VACATION SPOT BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE YOUR PROVINCE? 7 WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT? 8 WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FOODS? 9 WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO GO INTO POLITICS? 10 WHO OR WHAT IDEA MOST INFLUENCED YOUR PRESENT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY? 11 WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE THREE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEMS FACING CANADA TODAY? 12 WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS FACING YOUR PROVINCE TODAY? 13 WHAT IDENTITY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AS A CANADIAN? 14 IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO BE ANYTHING BUT A PREMIER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 15 DO YOU THINK THAT EXPERIENCE AS A PROVINCIAL PREMIER IS A GOOD BACKGROUND FOR A CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TO HAVE? 16 WHICH OF YOUR FELLOW PROVINCIAL PREMIERS DO YOU THINK HAS THE EASIEST JOB AND WHICH OF THEM HAS THE TOUGHEST ASSIGNMENT?
1 Walking in the country and reading. 2 No movies in particular; I have no favorite film star. 3 Nicolas Grandmaison. 4 Pierre Berton. 5 All types of music. 6 Banff; I have a number of favorites outside the province. 7 Football. 8 Steak and corn on the cob. 9 Politics was the centre of the action. 10 Winston Churchill. 11 Job creation; national unity; international trading isolation. 12 Shifting from an over dependency on our natural resources. 131 feel that I am a strong Canadian first. 14 A teacher. 15 No comment. 16 None of the premiers has an easy job, but Bourassa has the toughest.
Through his assistant, Premier Barrett of British Columbia passed on these answers to selected parts of the Maclean’s questionnaire: 3. A. Y. Jackson and my wife. 4. Dr. Robert Lindner. 5. Classical. 10. St. Thomas Aquinas and Bertrand Russell. 11. Lack of control of our economic and social destiny. There was also a personal message from the Premier, delivered orally to a writer: “You might tell Maclean’s magazine that this kind of questionnaire might be okay for the rest of Canada, but in British Columbia we are too sophisticated and too busy for that kind of childish nonsense.”