As one of the important prime ministers in the life of our nation, Stephen Harper has reshaped Canada into a more conservative country, a transformation that his opponents tacitly admit will never be reversed. He has made government smaller, justice tougher, and provinces more independent, whether they want to be or not. Under its 22nd prime minister, Canada shows the world a plainer, harder face. Those who praise Harper point to the Conservatives' skillful economic management, the impressive new trade agreements, the tax cuts and the balanced budget, the reformed immigration system, the uncompromising defence of Israel and Ukraine, and the fight against terrorism. Critics--pointing to punitive punishments, muzzled scientists, assaults on the judiciary, and contempt for parliament--accuse the Harper government of being autocratic, secretive and cruel.
But what about the man? In this definitive new biography, the Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson explores the life of the most important Canadian of our times--his suburban youth, the crisis that caused Stephen Harper to quit university for three years, the forces that shaped his tempestuous relationship with Reform Leader Preston Manning, how Laureen Harper influences her husband, his devotion to his children--and his cats. Ibbitson explains how this shy, closed, introverted loner united a fractured conservative movement, defeated a Liberal hegemony, and set out to reshape the nation. With unparalleled access to sources, years of research and writing, and a depth of insight that has made him one of the most respected voices in journalism, John Ibbitson presents an intimate, detailed portrait of a man who has remained an enigma to supporters and enemies alike. Now that enigma is revealed, in a masterful exploration of Stephen Harper, the politician and the man.
Most people are unaware that the keystone economic and political drivers of this country are now Western Canada and immigrants from China, India and other Asian countries. Politicians and businesspeople have underestimated how conservative these newcomers are making our country. Canada, with its ever-evolving economy and fluid demographic base, has become divorced from the traditions of its past and is moving in an entirely new direction.
In The Big Shift, Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson argue that one of the world’s most consensual countries is becoming polarized, exhibiting stark differences between East and West, cities and suburbs, Canadianborn citizens and immigrants. The winners—in both politics and business— will be those who can capitalize on the tremendous changes that the Big Shift will bring.
Five years into the twenty-first century, Canada is viewed as one of the most desirable nations in the world in which to live. Despite the worries of many Canadians — our country’s regional and linguistic divisions, our frequent identity crises — Canada, it seems, has a lot of good things going for it.
The federal election of 2004, however, revealed new cracks in an already flawed political system. John Ibbitson argues that we have entered a new political era, that Canada has become a nation of solitudes — the West, the English Centre, the French Centre, the East — each of which has its own cultural and economic concerns, none of which are being sufficiently recognized by the major political parties. If we cling stubbornly to old methods of governance, he says, we risk losing all that the Confederation has achieved in its first 138 years.
In this compelling, and ultimately hopeful book, John Ibbitson dismantles the old ways of thinking about Canada’s immigration, free trade, social, and defence policies. His ideas for the future of this country are daring — a devolution of power and dollars from the federal to the provincial level, a revamping of medicare, a refashioning of the electoral system. They amount to no less than a revolutionary plan for the creation and defence of a new national dream.
From the Hardcover edition.
Ibbitson argues that the result of the US election was electric, energizing, and represents a profound changes in American politics. Barack Obama may well be just the man to rescue the republic from its many serious woes. The result of the Canadian election was, he says, as flaccid as the campaign itself: another Conservative minority government that shortly afterward tripped over its own hubris, causing a major political tempest in the Ottawa teapot. The elections and their aftermaths tell us two crucial things: One, America is still capable of slamming on the brakes and putting itself back on the right track. Two, in Canada, something has gone so seriously wrong with our leadership it's time to sound the alarm. Which is just what he does in this timely, perceptive, persuasive book.
From the Trade Paperback edition.