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Sunday, July 10, 2005

My review of Harper bio

I review William Johnson's Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada in today's Halifax Herald. It think it was a quite fair biography of the Conservative leader -- Johnson admits as much in his final pages when he says he is highlighting Harper's strengths because his weaknesses are well-known -- but there is nothing new or exciting in it. That said, it should demonstrate to the open-minded that Harper is not nearly as scary as the Globe and Mail and CBC portray him to be; the problem, however, is that few who are not already Conservative supporters are likely to buy and read this 418-page book. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada is an important book for anyone with an interest in the history of the conservative movement in Canada although I doubt it will do much to affect the current political scene.

I noted one major flaw in Johnson's book:

"If Johnson's book suffers a serious flaw, it is his focus on Quebec and obsession with the national unity question. Certainly a man who once led a federalist lobby group within Quebec is prone to excessive consideration of the influence that province has on federal politics. But viewing Harper almost solely through the prism of Quebec warps Johnson's image of the Conservative leader. It leaves the impression that Harper was obsessed with the Quebec issue when, in fact, it is the author who is."

But as I say in the review, considering Johnson's recent jobs -- president of Alliance Quebec and the federalist Quebec voice in the Globe and Mail -- it is an understandable flaw even if it does a minor disservice to Stephen Harper.

Posted by Paul Tuns on July 10, 2005 in Books | Permalink


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Let's face it. Not that it is funny, but Québec is the real issue since Trudeau. Why Trudeau was there? Just think there was not any problem with Québec at that moment. I doubt Trudeau would have had all the attention he got.

And the major challenge to Stephen Harper is the national unity. Not only Québec is an issue, but Alberta is becoming one. Could Stephen Harper find a brilliant stategy to strengthen national unity, he should win next election.

Posted by: Rémi houle | 2005-07-10 10:57:51 AM

"... few who are not already Conservative supporters are likely to buy and read this 418-page book."

I expect more than a few political junkies will read it, and they'll pass on their impressions to other people. I'm not a Conservative supporter, but I'm planning to read it. So far the only book I've read which discusses Harper's views in any depth is Tom Flanagan's "Waiting for the Wave."

Posted by: Russil Wvong | 2005-07-10 6:54:56 PM

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