A history lesson

When I first moved to Moncton 13  years ago to work in economic development, I was given a copy of the book Resurgo which was published by the City of Moncton and was a history of the area going back to the 18th Century. 

I was told reading this book was like watching paint dry and, in fact, it was quite boring in the sense that it was a chronologically telling of the history in fair detail – much of this detail was not too exciting.  However, there were flashes of excitment like the politicians out surveying the Petitcodiac River just before an election to convince the voters he was serious about building a bridge to Riverview or the highly partisan battles between the editor of the Moncton Times (or was it the Transcript?) and the Mayor of City Hall or the first bilingual business co-owned by an Acadian and an Englishman. 

Then there was Oscar Wilde’s visit to Moncton and the recurring natural gas explosions.  The section on illegal booze running was particularly interesting (I can take you to where in the city they stashed the booze).

For some this may be boring but for me it gave texture to the city and it’s history and, as an import, made me feel more connected to the place.

That’s a long winded way of getting to my point.  The only historian turned economic developer I know, Kurt Peacock, send me the link to this book (PDF) entitled New Brunswick: An Annual Review, 1960-2006.  The author, a UNB prof, wrote these annual reviews and they have been compiled for us to read.  I started skimming through and thought I would share it before I finished.  It’s all there in summary form.  

It’s all there.  LJR’s revolution.  That crazy Charlie Van Horne.  And this little ditty from 1963:

International Paper [imposed] a three-day a week operation at its Dalhousie mill, citing high costs of power “and other increased costs”. Some of the mill’s production would be shifted to two IP mills in Quebec.

Cheap power for New Brunswick’s large industries was a driving force behind the Mactaquac dam and then Lepreau.

I will be reading this in full over the next couple of weeks.  Hope you can too.  The more we know about our past – particularly for me our economic past – the more context we will have for talking about the future.

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to A history lesson

  1. richard says:

    Thanks very much for this link. Its a wonderful review of NB’s political history. CBC-NB should serialize this book on its website.

    I’m only part way thru, but my favorite quote so far is:

    “Why did I nominate Charlie? Well, because the mood of New Brunswick tends at the moment to be irresponsible . . . and Charlie is a guy who can fit the mood. He tends to be irresponsible.”

    Nothing has changed. We are still irresponsible, and perhaps undeserving of self-government.

  2. I read that bit about Charlie too. An irresponsible mood….

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