Barb Brouwer/Salmon Arm Observer Author Ron Norman thumbs through the pages of Slouching Towards Innocence, a fictionalized account of politics in this province at a book-signing at Bookingham Palace on Nov. 10.

Exploring halls of power

Former Observer reporter provides fictional account of British Columbia politics

Meet Malcolm Bidwell, smart, young and ambitious man hired by a newly elected premier as a “go-to guy” for every political mess.

And there are many messes in author Ron Norman’s new book Slouching Towards Innocence.

Set in the quirky, combative, and darkly comic world of British Columbia politics – where your friends can be more dangerous than your enemies – Slouching Towards Innocence traces Bidwell’s rise through the ranks.

Negotiating his way through the treacherous and wickedly funny corridors of power, Bidwell is forced to make difficult choices between what’s right and what’s expedient, and between his old friends and his new career

It is a world Norman knows well, having begun his journalistic career at the Salmon Arm Observer and working his way to becoming deputy minister and head of communications for the provincial government – one of the highest positions attainable in the public service.

He fondly remembers his years at the Observer, working with then-owners Ian and Lynn Wickett and Gene Leduc from 1976 to 1979.

“I loved it; it was my first job,” he says. “Gord Priestman (former editor) was a real mentor for me and I learned a lot from him. I didn’t know at the time how lucky I was.”

While working at this newspaper, Norman met his wife, Joan Young, a Salmon Arm Secondary grad, who was a nurse at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

Norman continued to work as a reporter when his wife returned to school to get her bachelor of nursing, later moving to Castlegar where he was editor of the Castlegar News.

The couple lived in the Kootenays for 10 years.

“I tried to write a novel, but it didn’t go very far,” he laughs, pointing out he joined communications at the BC Government in 2000 and began his journey to the top. “I liked the job; a lot of the people in government are former reporters and I was dealing with reporters as well, so it didn’t really feel that much different.”

Norman says he dealt with people in an authentic and forthright manner, advising the press gallery on exactly what the communications branch could or could not do.

“They understood – we both had a job to do and I had to figure out how best to do it.”

Norman continued in the ministry until 2011 when newly elected premier Christy Clark set up her own communications team.

“I wanted to write fiction again and this time around I found a publisher,” he says. “It is the first book I know of that’s a fictional account of B.C. politics.”

Slouching Towards Innocence is available at Bookingham Palace in the Mall at Piccadilly.


@SalmonArm
barbbrouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Revelstoke child care centres receive $45,000 in CBT funding

The grants are for equipment purchases as well as outdoor space upgrades

Clouds and rain for election day in Revelstoke

Forecast from Environment Canada: Today: Cloudy. 30 per cent chance of showers… Continue reading

Revelstoke takes the plunge to support the Special Olympics

Fundraisers swam in Williamson Lake on Oct. 20

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Video: Revelstokians discuss issues for this election

Climate, economy, jobs were some of the deciding factors

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive lead

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray wins Kelowna-Lake Country

The Canadian Press declared her the winner around 8:30 p.m.

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Okanagan

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to Vernon Sunday

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Former Mount Boucherie teacher Bradley Furman will be sentenced on Dec. 16

Most Read