Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In Search of the Gang of Eight

UPDATE: With the poll closed, the high Maritime seeds have fallen. Levesque squeaked out a narrow 51-49% win, while Wacky Bennett topped Alex Campbell. The next battle will be posted tomorrow afternoon.

Voting is now open for the Best Premier quarter-finals. Since not all of these men are household names outside of their own provinces, I'm going to break the first round into four votes, so that I can post a bit of info on all the matchups. (The full field can be seen here)

The first two matchups are listed below. Voting closes Thursday at 7 pm Mountain time.

Quebec (1976-1985)
Career Highlights: Drew headlines around the world with the PQ's victory in 1976 and is best remember for going uno-a-uno with Trudeau during the 1980 referendum. Despite this, he does have a strong domestic accomplishment record with campaign finance reform, Hydro-Quebec expansion, and increased social service delivery. Oh, and he killed a homeless man while driving drunk.

Angus MacDonald
Nova Scotia (1933-40, 45-54)
Career Highlights: Took office during the great depression and, if the good people at wikipedia are to be believed, brought in unemployment relief, old age pensions, collective bargaining, and massive infrastructure projects. After a brief stint in MacKenzie King's Cabinet, MacDonald returned to Nova Scotia where he created the first Department of Education and build several key bridges.

Betting Line: Levesque was the great villain for many in English Canada during his career, so expect top seeded, but little known, MacDonald to cruise to a win in this one.

WAC Bennett
British Columbia (1952-72)
Career Highlights: Led province into an era of modernization and prosperity; expanded communication lines lines to the north of the province; encouraged pulp mills to establish in the central interior; extended the railway to Fort Nelson; longest serving Premier in BC history.

Alex Campbell
PEI (1966-78)
Career Highlights: Generally acknowledged as a forward-thinking visionary, Campbell had a bigger vision for the Island than anyone who’s come before or after him. He left a permanent mark on Island politics through the establishment of restrictions of absentee ownership of land, the development of consolidated schools in rural PEI and the establishment of UPEI by combining the two denominational post-secondary institutions that were in Charlottetown.
Betting Line: It's East meets West in what figures to be a closely fought race. Anyone nick-named "Wacky" is a bit of a wild card and WAC will need to avoid the last day collapse that saw Dave Barrett knock him off for the title of BC's Best Premier. Campbell's got a great CV, but can the man from PEI win on the national stage?



  • I did a lot of reading about Campbell's ministry for various university projects, and he was truly a visionary; easily PEI's best premier, and his effect on PEI is comparable to Lesage's on Quebec or Robichaud's in New Brunswick. There hasn't been anyone like him in the office since, sadly.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 9:35 PM  

  • I first heard about Campbell when I was in my Liberal phase (during the first two years of Pierre Trudeau). I was very impressed with him, and am glad to see that he made it on the ballot. I'd have been happy to vote for him (particularly since I have some Campbell blood in me - my paternal grandfather's maternal grandmother) if he hadn't been facing Bennett. In the other contest, I voted for Macdonald.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 10:06 PM  

  • He - Levesque made Toronto the financial capital of the country almost overnight. You gotta add that to his credentials.

    By Blogger Mark, at 2:12 PM  

  • I gotta think ProgBloggers will come out for Campbell - a truly visonary and progressive Premier, in the best sense of the word.

    And he's from my hometown!

    By Blogger Mark Greenan, at 3:03 PM  

  • Voting closes Thursday at 7 pm Mountain time.

    You're only allowing one day for voting on this? Good thing I didn't check this blog 20 minutes later...

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 8:49 PM  

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