Past im­per­fect

For­mer politician, lieu­tenant-gover­nor to de­but new col­umn


One of this prov­ince’s best-known politi­cians and a for­mer lieu­tenant­gov­er­nor, Ed Roberts, is set to de­but a new his­tory col­umn in The Com­pass.

Past im­per­fect: Mo­ments in the his­tory of New­found­land and Labrador, will be launched in the Feb. 15 edi­tion.

Roberts has long been fas­ci­nated by the his­tory of this prov­ince, and hopes to “add new light” to events in our his­tory that are ei­ther not well­known are well-un­der­stood. Some of the topics in­clude pol­i­tics, the fish­ery, the New­found­land rail­way, the Royal fam­ily and the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment.

“ The more I learn about our his­tory, the more i n t r i gu ed I be­come,” Roberts said re­cently.

His aim is to spark a greater in­ter­est in our past by shar­ing some of what he’s learned over the years. He said this prov­ince has a very rich and colour­ful past, one that is of­ten filled with myths and mis­un­der­stand­ings.

“ I will write about some of the things we’ve been taught to be­lieve that just aren’t so,” Roberts said.

He said it’s fas­ci­nat­ing that many of the is­sues that made head­lines a cen­tury or so ago are still on the agenda to­day.

Roberts has a well-doc­u­mented his­tory with the Lib­eral party, but read­ers likely won’t de­tect this in his writ­ing. He’s been a non-par­ti­san for nearly a decade, and said most of what he will write about pre-dates his en­trance into pol­i­tics more than four decades ago.

“ I write about pol­i­tics be­cause I think it’s im­port ant ,” he ex­plained. “This is not go­ing to be a mem­oir or a tel­lall story of my life in pol­i­tics.”

Roberts earned a masters de­gree in his­tory from Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity sev­eral years ago, nearly 40 years af­ter com­plet­ing his law de­gree. He said it was a proud moment in his life, and was likely the only time a lieu­tenant-gover­nor had earned a uni­ver­sity de­gree while still in of­fice. It also came af­ter he re­ceived an hon­orary de­gree from MUN.

He’s also work­ing on the mem­oirs of the late Peter Cashin (1890-1977), who was at the cen­tre of po­lit­i­cal life in this prov­ince from the 1920s to the 1950s. It’s ex­pected to be pub­lished some­time this year.

Past im­per­fect will be a bi-weekly col­umn.

A new his­tory col­umn by for­mer politician and lieu­tenant-gover­nor Ed Roberts will de­but in the Feb. 15 edi­tion of The Com­pass.

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