Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My own Christmas book list - Frank Moores

Inspired by the Bond Papers Christmas book wish list, I offer my own choices. . . .

One of my earliest political memories was the provincial election of 1972 when Frank Moores defeated Joey Smallwood. The local newspaper printed a score card of all the candidates so you could track the results at home as they came in on the radio. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, keeping track of the results on the scorecard until I was shooed off to bed. By the next morning, the political world of this province had undergone a seismic shift. Smallwood was gone and Moores was in.

I never knew Moores although I met him once. I do know people who knew him very well. I know a lady in Manitoba who met Frank when she was young. Her father was a federal Tory politician and Frank would drop in from time to time for a drink and a chat. She recalls that he seemed to keep company with a variety of attractive female companions.

He seem to have inspired a fierce staff loyalty. My old next door neighbour was his private secretary (I believe that was her job, she didn't talk about it too much) except for a fierce glare at anyone who might utter any disparaging word about her former boss, even years later.

Like many other people, I heard stories about Frank Moores. Lots of stories. Some very funny stories. And more than a few profane and ribald ones. He was the kind of guy around whom stories swirled.

The publisher's blurb says:
Thirty-five year old Frank Moores, retired millionaire, woman-loving, scotch-drinking sportsman had never been to a political meeting when he announced his candidacy as a Newfoundland Member of Parliament in 1968. Moores was a likable, unlikely politician, and the people of Newfoundland were ready for a revolution. Moores won the popular vote in the provincial election of October 1971 but the number of seats was tied. For three months Smallwood clung to power amidst constitutional wrangling, bribery, intrigue and adultery, but Moores triumphed. He immediately called another election and won a substantial majority. In an administration beleaguered with controversy, he introduced sweeping legislative reforms and restored democratic process to Newfoundland, then retired, and began his third career as a powerful Ottawa lobbyist in the Mulroney years.
I'm hoping this book will have a fuller sense of the story; I figure it's worth the $25 or so to find out.

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