Toward a New Maritimes: A Selection from Ten Years of New Maritimes


382 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-921556-34-9
DDC 331'.09715





Edited by Ian McKay and Scott Milsom
Reviewed by Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur is Supervisor of the Legislative Research Service at the
New Brunswick Legislature and author of The Rise of French New


Just as history can be regarded as a story written by winners, sociology
(often) can be seen as a study of losers written by middle-class
radicals with tenure. This selection of articles, taken from a decade
run of the monthly New Maritimes, gives us a look at the losers of
Maritime society. Among the subjects covered by the mostly middle-class,
university-schooled authors are the struggle for social assistance in
Prince Edward Island; Nova Scotia’s bureaucratic jungle and its impact
on children at risk; transition houses; gays and lesbians; Native
residential schools; losing struggles to unionize Michelin workers; Nova
Scotia blacks and their apparent renaissance; and P.E.I.’s successful
effort to prevent the establishment of a Lytton defence complex.

Not the kind of stuff one would choose as escape literature, these
articles are more effective in small doses—which is not to deny some
superb research and compelling writing. Although written in 1989,
Kathryn Morse’s analysis of the Atlantic region’s faltering
commercial fishery is worth the price of the book. And freelance
journalist Sue Calhoun contributes a poignant and powerful study of New
Brunswick’s Terry Sullivan, a pig farmer whose frustration with the
bungling bureaucracy and insensitive neighbors led him to suicide.

New Maritimes is the 1980s version of an earlier and far feistier
anti-establishment publication, Mysterious East. The major difference,
aside from the latter’s wit and livelier format and writing, is that
Mysterious East took on very current issues and drew fire, and often
angry responses, in every issue. New Maritimes is less timely, and
judging by the absence of lawsuits, is largely ignored by political
policy-makers and power brokers. Its solutions are contained in a series
of mini-sermons by co-founder and former editor Gary Burrill, a United
Church minister. He offers a good example of a restated version of the
late–19th-century Social Gospel. Lively reading, but a tad
unrealistic. Which should not be a deterrent against reading (over an
extended period) some first-rate essays.


“Toward a New Maritimes: A Selection from Ten Years of New Maritimes,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 15, 2024,