In less than a month, Michael Ignatieff’s new book, True Patriot Love: Four Generations in Search of Canada, will be out on the shelves. The release date has been pushed up to April 18, giving Liberals plenty of time to read it before their convention in early May. Meanwhile, mystery swirls around the progress of Stephen Harper’s tome on the history of hockey.
Ignatieff’s book documents the mother’s side of his family tree and their heroic contributions to the development of the Canadian nation, from his great-grandfather’s involvement in mapping the railroad to Ignatieff himself, famous for his messianic return from a twenty-five year absence to the country he obviously loves. The rumour is that the cover will show Ignatieff in the clouds donning red and white spandex and a cape.
On the other side of the aisle, the prime minister’s book cover will surely show a happy Harper snug in a hockey sweater. His oft-mentioned hockey book-in-progress gives many media outlets the kind of warm, fluffy piece they so love to print. The only question besides which sweater he wears – Toronto or Calgary – is when it will be published. Or get a publisher. Or be written. Good thing he only mentions it during elections and other times his popularity wanes. Maybe the fact that he hasn’t had the time to write his book just goes to show what a great leader he is – putting his love Canada ahead of his love of hockey.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against politicians writing books. It’s why they are being written that really gets my goat.
Ignatieff’s True Patriot Love is being released just when he needs an image boost. And Harper may as well title his book Look! I’m Normal Like You.
Now contrast these two with Elizabeth May, who will be releasing Losing Confidence: Power, Politics and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy April 14. Not one to go unheard, Jack Layton re-released Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis last year.
Granted, these books are not without partisan purpose. But May and Layton, as party leaders, have every right to criticize other parties in the House. At least these two discuss subjects that matter to Canadians on a political level. They use issues and actions to get people’s attention, not soft, fuzzy stories about family or hobbies.