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From farmer to premier

Retired Amherst lawyer Morris Haugg, left, looks over a copy of ‘Me and My Team: From Farmer to Premier’ with former Cumberland East MLA and premier Roger Bacon. Haugg wrote the book about the former premier and longtime Progressive Conservative cabinet minister.
Retired Amherst lawyer Morris Haugg, left, looks over a copy of ‘Me and My Team: From Farmer to Premier’ with former Cumberland East MLA and premier Roger Bacon. Haugg wrote the book about the former premier and longtime Progressive Conservative cabinet minister. - Darrell Cole

New book chronicles life and times of Roger Bacon

AMHERST, N.S. – From the time he first met Roger Bacon as an 18-year-old many years ago, Morris Haugg has always admired the man who would play a prominent role in municipal and provincial politics.

Haugg, a retired Amherst lawyer, has completed a book about Bacon that will be launched at Cole’s Bookstore in Amherst on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.

“Roger is a very humble man. When we first started out, he thought 20 copies will be enough and I said there would be more members of the family than that,” Haugg said. “There are people out there who will want to read Roger’s story and want to buy it.”

Only 250 copies of the book, Me and My Team: From Farmer to Premier, have been printed with 150 going on sale at Cole’s Bookstore while Bacon will provide copies to family members and friends and Haugg is keeping a few for himself.

Printed by Acadian Printing in Amherst, Haugg said additional copies can be made available if necessary, while Cole’s Book Store can provide books to other Cole’s stores in Nova Scotia.

The more Haugg worked on the project, which began about a year ago, the more he realized how much there was to Bacon’s life before he entered the political arena and how active he was in the community.

“There are a lot of things about Roger’s life people don’t know and I felt people should know …,” Haugg said. “This is more than about Roger the person, but about the times and how they changed.”

The 407-page book includes references to scrapbooks Bacon kept and offers a snapshot of life in rural Nova Scotia when Bacon was young – when farmers took their product directly to consumers and lived on the farm without electricity or heavy machinery.

Bacon, 92, said he never envisioned a career in politics before being talked into running for a seat on Cumberland municipal council in 1958 and later to replace Dr. James Langille as the PC MLA for Cumberland East in 1970. Bacon, who was in provincial politics until his retirement in 1993, was also premier for about six months from September 1990 until February 1991.

But Bacon doesn’t consider his political achievements to be his greatest.

“My goal in life was to be a farmer … my greatest recognition was when I had the reserve grand champion bull at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.”

Bacon said another special accomplishment, besides acceding the highest political office in the province, was his role as honorary chairman of the Above and Beyond Campaign in the late 1990s that raised $7.5 million for Cumberland County’s new regional hospital that opened in 2003.

“The worst thing you can tell someone is you can’t do something. It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull,” Bacon said.

He said one of his biggest disappointments was the closure of the deaf school in Amherst in the mid-90s after he spent years fighting for its survival. Another thing was the former Transportation Department removing most of the lights at the border.

“Eighty-five per cent of the tourists coming into Nova Scotia come through that border. At one time when they came into the province they knew they were entering Nova Scotia because it was all lit up. Now it looks like you’re coming into a sinkhole because it’s so dark out there. I never understood that decision.”

Throughout the book, Haugg writes about how important teamwork was for Bacon, from the family farm, to the partnership with his late wife, Clara, and politics.

That’s what makes Bacon special to Haugg.

“The thing I most admire about Roger is that he never changed. He never acted differently regardless of the position he held,” Haugg said.

darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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