The Inconvenient Truth about Harper's Canada

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Photo: Michael Taylor

Michael Harris and Donald Gutstein are authors of two critically acclaimed political books. 

Michael Harris is the author of Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada's Radical Makeover.

In Party of One, investigative journalist Michael Harris closely examines the majority government of a prime minister essentially unchecked by the opposition and empowered by the general election victory of May 2011. Harris looks at Harper's policies, instincts, and the often breathtaking gap between his stated political principles and his practices. Harris argues that Harper is more than a master of controlling information: he is a profoundly anti-democratic figure. Against the backdrop of a Conservative commitment to transparency and accountability, Harris exposes the ultra-secrecy, non-compliance, and dismissiveness of this prime minister. And with the Conservative majority in Parliament, the law is simple: what one man, the PM, says, goes.

Donald Gutstein has written Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his Think Tank Colleagues have Transformed Canada.

Margaret Thatcher transformed British political life forever. So did Ronald Reagan in the United States. Now Canada has experienced a similar, dramatic shift to a new kind of politics, which author Donald Gutstein terms Harperism. The success of Harperism is no accident. Donald Gutstein documents the links between the politicians, think tanks, journalists, academics, and researchers who nurture and promote each other's neoliberal ideas. They do so using funds provided by ultra-rich U.S. donors, by Canadian billionaires like Peter Munk, and by many big corporations -- all of whom stand to gain from the ideas and policies the Harperites develop and push.

This book casts new light on the last 10 years of Canadian politics. It documents the challenges that Harperism -- with or without Stephen Harper -- will continue to offer to the many Canadians who do not share this pro-market world view.

Both books take a hard look at the Harper regime and some of the tactics by the Conservative government to ensure their re-election, and promote their neoliberal views on how Canada should work. 

Both authors appeared at a dynamic evening talk on March 24, 2015 at the Centretown United Church in Ottawa. It was called The Inconvenient Truth about Harper's Canada. It was co-sponsored by Octopus Books, the Council of Canadians, Public Service Alliance of Canada, the National Union of Public and General Employees, and rabble.ca.

The panel was moderated by Kathleen Monk, a prominent media commentator who regularly appears on CBC The National's The Insiders program.

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