Wrote about so many lost books, in relation to musicians. Same thing in the world of politics, particularly on the part of those viewing things from down the hall, rather than across the desk. Not that many books, at least in Canada, from political assistants. I am aware of at least one person on Parliament Hill who has kept a diary for a number of years, but whether that will ever turn into a published memoir is, I guess, a question of when he is out of the game. One or two great lost books unwritten are those not written by the late Tim Kuash. Had been a representative in Ottawa for the Government of British Columbia, followed by a number of years on Parliament Hill. Likely a larger and longer political history that I don’t know. I met him during our respective days in Opposition, when he was working for John Duncan and, later, John Reynolds. He had seen so much, in a life that was largely framed by background political engagement. Dead of cancer in 2006, at the age of 55. I wonder if his family kept any of his political writings and memorabilia. Wonder if there is something salvageable by someone, in terms of a posthumous recollective lens.
Many of the background people are the politicians themselves. Not everyone gets to be a major player, and the biographies or other recollections that one encounters are most frequently from those at ministerial levels, or from long-standing backbenchers, publishing the final hurrah. Yet many who might serve for much shorter periods still have much that is important to recollect. In the late 1990s, I read the book by Douglas Roche, The Human Side of Politics (1976), which involved reflections written during his early years as a politician. He wrote many later books, but this one stood out for me because, at the time, he had been a Member of Parliament for no more than four years. One that I haven’t yet read is by Herb Grubel, A Professor In Parliament: Experiencing a Turbulent Parliament and Reform Party Caucus, 1993-97 (2000). The book remains one of the few first person accounts of a particularly significant time in Canadian parliamentary history. There are many others who could add to that history, through recollections not yet written.
I’ve used this blog vehicle to put out a couple of political reflections, that hopefully add in some small way to an appreciation of the times. How former Liberal Minister John Munro was assisted by my then employer, Reform Party Member of Parliament Ian McClelland. How the 1996 slamdown of Paul Martin on the Seniors Benefit made no sense, then or now. Like many, I suspect, getting something larger down ends up turning into a very expensive hobby, relative to ongoing financial needs. So maybe speak into a digital recorder for 10-15 minutes each day, so someone else can develop later. Or preserve the memorabila for a similar use by someone else. Or do something like this.