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Harper's Canada: What have we become?

Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his think tank colleagues have transformed Canada

by Donald Gutstein

Does it ever feel like you've just woken up and found yourself living in a country you don't recognize? How did Canada get to where it is today -- a more militaristic, nationalistic, free-market-at-all-costs place that seems to have shed its world-renowned reputation as a land of peacekeepers, multiculturalism, social responsibility and scientific advancement?

It hasn't been by accident. In fact, as Donald Gutstein points out in the opening phrase of his book, Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada, this is exactly what Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised he'd do.

And he did it with a little bit of help from his friends.


Why the 'War on Drugs' is a total failure

The War on Drugs: A Failed Experiment

by Paula Mallea
(Dundurn Press,

The phrase the "War on Drugs" was coined by Richard Nixon during his campaign to eradicate illegal drug use and subsequently picked up by media, politicians and those allies who wanted to 'crack down' on drug offences.

But can the War on Drugs really be won? No, it can't argues Paula Mallea in her new book The War on Drugs: A Failed Experiment because it is an inherently flawed strategy.

Mallea approaches the conversation on drugs from a variety of angles, offering insight into the history of drug use and abuse and the economy of the drug trade. But perhaps most importantly, Mallea discusses why this failed experiment of the War of Drugs was such a failure.


Canada went to war. But why?

Noble Illusions: Young Canada Goes to War

by Stephen Dale
(Fernwood Publishing,

A tidal wave of First World War centenary celebrations -- set to unfold over the next four years -- is now upon us. Canada, like other nations, will spend many millions of dollars commemorating Canadians' participation in the war that was supposed to "end all wars."

But what will these events tell us about the meaning of that cataclysmic war and its lessons for today's world? We can probably guess the answer from statements that key figures have already made.


What is the state of Canada's democracy: Salvageable or broken?

Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada's Failing Democracy

by Alison Loat, Michael MacMillan
(Random House Canada,

I'm not sure what's worse for democracy -- the truth, or fictional representations of the political world.

On the one hand, we've got shows like "House of Cards" that make politics look like the playground of the most manipulative, selfish and conniving people in our society, and on the other hand, we have constant real life scandals swirling around our elected (and non-elected) representatives.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, there are those who believe we can't give up on our democratic institutions.

Wishful thinking?


'Crazy Town': Doolittle does a lot with Rob Ford's story

Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story

by Robyn Doolittle
(Penguin Canada,

Imagine the following scenario:  

I am the principal of a school. I use illegal hard drugs that I get from the drug dealers I spend a lot of time with (and even hire sometimes to do work for me and who get paid for this out of the school budget). I also have ties to dangerous street gangs that smuggle guns and drugs into my city, contributing to the city's crime problems. 

I have been drunk on the job. I have not shown up for important events and meetings and I have also shown up intoxicated to other important events. I am under investigation by the police, but I refuse to cooperate with them and think the police are at fault for investigating me in the first place. 


'Building Sanctuary' for war resisters, circa 1965

Building Sanctuary: The Movement to Support Vietnam War Resisters in Canada, 1965-73

by Jessica Squires
(UBC Press,

You can change the arts and culture conversation. Chip in to rabble's donation drive today!

"What happens when U.S. war resisters to the Vietnam war arrive here in Canada, which was undergoing a major political, economic and cultural shift during that time?" is the subject of the new historical work Building Sanctuary: The Movement to Support Vietnam War Resisters in Canada, 1965-73 by independent scholar Jessica Squires.


Beyond Politics? The origins (and future) of the NDP's Orange Wave

Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story Behind the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP

by Brad Lavigne
(Douglas and McIntyre,

Has the Orange Wave collapsed? Are we now in thrall of Trudeaumania 2.0? Can the Harper Conservatives be defeated in 2015? After the NDP's recent implosion in Nova Scotia, disappointment in British Columbia, and stalled hopes in federal byelections, these are the questions many progressives are posing.


'Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics' reflects on a brilliant activist and a courageous politician

Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics

by Graeme Truelove
(New Star Books,

Judy Rebick was the founding publisher of rabble.ca and has known Svend Robinson for many decades. Rebick recalls that she can’t remember the first time they met, but that Robinson was always one of the MP’s who she and her community looked to for support in the House of Commons. Rebick and Robinson were also allies on the left of the NDP especially during the 1980s. Rebick supported his bid for leadership and both were in the leadership of the New Politics Initiative in 2002.

Rebick writes this review from the perspective of the personal and the political of her friend and ally Svend Robinson.



Excerpt: Historical reformers: Why and how democratic institutions change

Wrestling with Democracy: Voting Systems as Politics in the 20th Century West

by Dennis Pilon
(University of Toronto Press Publishing,

The following is an excerpt from the new book Wrestling with Democracy: Voting Systems as Politics in the 20th Century West, which examines why voting systems have or have not changed in western industrialized countries over the past century.


Sailing for freedom

Freedom Sailors

by Greta Berlin and Bill Dienst, eds.
(Free Gaza Movement,

Freedom Sailors defies conventional narrative and adherence to globalist media by aligning itself with a narrative resounding with internationalism. The book provides an account replete with contrasts, highlighting the many facets of history and identifying the differing dynamics between activism and foreign policy.


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