Keep True

A Life in Politics

Howard Pawley (Author), Paul Moist (Foreword)


Howard Pawley, former Premier of Manitoba (1981-88), led the province during one of the most turbulent periods in its history. Elected at the outset of a serious national recession, his government successfully implemented social democtatic policies that ran counter to the neo-conservative trends that dominated the period, including job creation, labour reform, and human rights legislation. But his greatest challenge was over French-language rights, an explosive two-year debate that left the province badly divided and embroiled in the complicated maneuvering between the national government and Quebec serparatists. The political and public fallout from the French-language issue echoed through Manitoba's subsequent negotiations with the federal government over a bid for a lucrative CF-18 fighter jet contract, through the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, and again during the stormy Meech Lake Accord debates. In Keep True: A Life in Politics Pawley takes us into the inner workings of his government during this controversial period. He gives us a vivid play-by-play of the events, acknowledging what went right and what went wrong, while putting it all into a contemporary context. Along the way, he offers insight on campaign management, choosing a cabinet, appointing public servants, and leading by consensus, while describing how the principles of Canadian agrarian socialism shaped his political vision.


“This political memoir tells us more about the realities of political life, and tells its story more honestly, than most that I have read.”

Paul G. Thomas, Senior Scholar, Political Studies, University of Manitoba

“It takes much to stay resilient in a rapidly changing time. Facing a national crisis in Canada, the Quebec separatists, human rights, military, facing scandal, and much more, Keep True offers insight into the drive of Canadian politics, very highly recommended reading.”

The Midwest Book Review

About the Authors

Following a successful law career, Howard Pawley served for nineteen years as a member of the Manitoba Legislature, and is currently an associate professor emeritus at the University of Windsor.

Paul Moist is the national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees

Table of Contents

1: My Early Years / 2: Baptism by Fire: The Battle to Implement Public Auto Insurance / 3: A New Role: Attorney General / 4: Recipe for Success: The Opposition Years / 5: Assuming the Reins of Governance and Power / 6: Anatomy of a Political Nightmare: The Language Controversy in Manitoba / 7: The Challenges Confronting Us: The 1986 Election and After / 8: Manitoba on the Federal Scene / 9: Window of Opportunity: A Constitutional Endeavour / 10: My Life as a Politician / Epilogue