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Biography & Autobiography General

Stephen McNeil

Principle and Politics

by (author) Dan Leger

Nimbus Publishing
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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The anticipated biography of the polarizing former Nova Scotia premier, from award-winning journalist and author of Duffy.

In today's moralistic politics, to differ is to sin. But Stephen McNeil actually was different; he willingly committed the political sin of valuing principle over popularity. Premier of Nova Scotia for seven years, through elections, unrest, danger, and even tragedy, McNeil was determined to govern by putting principle first. Not everyone agreed with him or his priorities, but he accepted that because he was in politics for reasons other than the quest for power and the need to keep it. In Stephen McNeil: Principle and Politics, award-winning journalist and author Dan Leger argues that McNeil's name should be there when we talk about premiers of consequence.

With twenty-five black and white photos and a full-colour photo insert, Stephen McNeil: Principle and Politics tells the untold inside story of McNeil's eventful career in politics. Through exclusive interviews with political insiders and with McNeil himself, Leger reveals that, like him or not, Stephen McNeil has had a lasting impact on the lives of Nova Scotians.

About the author

Dan Leger is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and author. A native of New Brunswick, Dan worked as a correspondent and Parliamentary reporter for The Canadian Press, as a producer for CBC TV News and as Director of News Content for the Halifax Chronicle Herald. He has written more than seven hundred newspaper columns and has appeared as a commentator on many radio and television news and current affairs programs. Dan won a Gemini Award for producing CBC's live coverage of the Swissair disaster and two Atlantic Journalism Awards for Commentary. He is author of the 2014 political biography Duffy: Stardom to Senate to Scandal. Dan is the proud father of two brilliant daughters and doting grandfather of three grandkids. He is inordinately fond of sailboats and dogs.

Dan Leger's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"If you thought you knew Stephen McNeil, think again. Dan Leger delivers the first full portrait of an unlikely politician who rose to the premier's office, shook things up, and then left on top. It's readable and insightful and there are plenty of surprises, even for someone like me who followed Nova Scotia politics closely during the McNeil era."
Graham Steele former MLA and cabinet minister, author of Nova Scotia Politics 1945-2020: From Macdonald to McNeil

"Dan Leger examines the legacy of a premier who took on teachers and public sector unions and risked the jobs of thousands by staring down a polluting pulp mill, only to walk away as his popularity soared after Stay the Blazes Home became a meme and a mantra during the dark, early days of the pandemic. A great read for Nova Scotians who lived the McNeil era in real time, and an important account for the historic political record."
Norma Lee MacLeod, Journalist

Strong leader or bully? That's the choice the reader is left to make as Dan Leger paints a political portrait of Nova Scotia's twenty-eighth premier, meticulously revealing how, time after time, Stephen McNeil seized advantage from those who underestimated his considerable political skills and dogged commitment to his principles. For the first time, Leger offers insight into how some of the most contentious decisions were made. Whether you saw McNeil as decisive or authoritarian, Dan Leger makes the strong case that the shadow MacNeil cast over Nova Scotia politics and government exceeds even his considerable height!
Steve Murphy, former CTV (Atlantic) News Anchor

A timely pairing of subject and author, in Stephen McNeil: Principle and Politics, the dean of Nova Scotia political journalists considers the province's bracingly authentic twenty-eighth premier. The result: an authoritative work that goes far beyond straightforward biography. Leger talks to all the players and does the journalistic spade work, but also manages to place McNeil in the grand swell of Nova Scotia political history. The portrait that emerges in clear-as-a-window-pane prose is of a perpetually underestimated politician, infuriating to some, inspiring to others, who, the author concludes, left the province a better place.
John DeMont, columnist, Chronicle Herald, and author of The Long Way Home: A Personal History of Nova Scotia

Other titles by Dan Leger