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Hard right turn: The new face of neo-conservatism in Canada [Paperback]

Brooke Jeffrey
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 16 2000 Phyllis Bruce Books
In Ontario, Mike Harris is leading his "Common Sense" revolution. In Alberta, Ralph Klein has taken his right-wing Conservatives to new extremes. In Ottawa, Preston Manning and his Reformers are giving new meaning to the term Official Opposition. Despite their different political labels and regional perspectives, the leaders of the New Right have much in common, including a populist approach to politics and a passionate commitment to the same brand of neo-conservatism - an ideology previously unknown in Canada and one that runs contrary to our traditional values and beliefs.

Jeffrey argues these New Right gladiators are a new breed of politician. Less prepared for public office, they exhibit a dangerous combination of ignorance and zeal, refusing to let facts get in the way of their beliefs. Once in power, their populist mask disappears. Despite their attack on "special interests," they have close links with single-issue interest groups, including pro-life or anti-gun control organizations. And they all believe a government’s primary purpose is to satisfy the narrow concerns of those who elected them.

What led to their electoral success? Jeffrey places this Canadian phenomenon in an international context, examining such influences as the global corporate agenda. She also explores the Canadian context of western alienation, populism and the emergence of a small but influential neo-conservative intellectual elite whose membership includes such right-wing icons as David Frum and Ted Byfield.

Hard-hitting, yet reasoned and detailed in its analysis, Hard Right Turn puts an all-too-human face on the politicians of the New Right.


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About the Author

Brooke Jeffrey is the author of Strange Bedfellows, Trying Times: Politics in Canada After the Referendum and Breaking Faith: The Mulroney Legacy.She is a professor of political science at Concordia University in Montreal and a recognized expert in the fields of public policy and public administration.She was a Liberal candidate in the 1993 federal election in her home riding in British Columbia.Brooke Jeffrey lives in Ottawa.Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada is her most recent book.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT !! June 13 2010
Format:Paperback
I would strongly advise readers to completely disregard the 1st commentor's review on this book, unless you are a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party of Canada (Harper version). That review was written by a most partisan source and is utterly misleading about the book.
In contrast to that Amazon commenter, the writer of this book, Hard Right Turn, is a very well-respected and published Canadian academic & researcher who is a faculty member at a major Canadian University.
The book is incredibly well-written, well-researched, well-annotated and absolutely chock full of information not only about the development & rise of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, but also about the many and varied players involved in that rise.
It is even more relevant and somewhat chilling to read the book ten years after it's publication. One sees how the identical forces that so quickly gave rise to the "republicanized" Reform (& then Alliance Party, then morphing into the Conservative Party) have continued to pour their money, influence & resources into it, completely changing the face of Canada as we have known it. The author follows threads of influences, unravels them, and shines a light on their sources & roots. The book is a fascinating, but a dense read - there is so much information in it, that one needs to own a copy for reference.
I HIGHLY recommend this book as basic background reading for any Canadian who wants to understand just how the forces that are now in power in Canada came to be there. As PM Harper said before he came to power, "You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it." This book shows how that promise has come to be manifested in the Canada of 2010. The Canada we knew has been re-shaped by Neo-Conservative forces that Dr. Jeffrey dissects beautifully.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Although this book provides some insight on the electoral strategies of Mike Harris and Ralph Klein, the book is full of lies and conjecture about conservatives.
Case in point: the author acknowledges that Mike Harris' policies were based on a platform which he got elected but goes on to say "for many Ontarians the immediate shock was how ruthlessly the Harris team set about implementing their promises" (p. 195). What is so beautiful about this passage is that Mike Harris was re-elected with the same number of votes in the same year that this book came out, thus refuting her claim.
Another interesting passage: "As for the Reform Party, the pictures of male-dominated party gatherings tell the tale. At the elected level, the number of women in the Official Opposition's caucus actually declined, from 7 in 1993 to 4 in 1997." (p. 389). What the author BLATANTLY fails to mention is that the Bloc Quebecois (a separatist party whose mandate is to break up Canada) was in power was in power in 1993 and Reform (now Canadian Alliance) replaced them in 1997. I guess what the author is saying here is that it is better to have Separatists as Official Opposition than a moderately right-of-centre party because they have more women in their caucus. And a year after the publication of the book, MP Deborah Grey became the interim House Opposition leader when Preston Manning stepped down thus refuting her claim again.
This book is so laughingly biased, it is hardly credible. I could write a rebuttal that would actually cite sources instead of making false statements without citing them. (To her credit, the author cites sources in a separate chapter, but most of her sources are from left-wing editorials in MacLean's and the Toronto Star).
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From one Conservative reader to another Feb. 3 2007
By AP - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
While you comment on how laughingly biased Ms. Jeffrey's book is, you too are exhibiting the same laughable level of bias in your review.

I am a Conservative and while I agree that there are passages demonstrating the author's inclination to the left (which is to be expected, to be honest, after reading the opening pages in which she says she ran in an Okanagan election as a Liberal) I feel that she very accurately and aptly conveys the reaction of a whole country to the various Conservative leaders the world has had to deal with over time - the vast majority of whom have not stuck to their platforms at all but thrown such nonsense as the "Common Sense Revolution" was in our faces. She even proves this in her opening pages by quoting the disgruntled taxi driver who voted for the Mike Harris-headed party only to be disillusioned by what they actually delivered.

I think if you want to comment on someone's close-mindedness, you need to make sure you, yourself, do not have a closed mind first.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brooke Jeffrey seems bitter that her side is losing. Sept. 5 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Although this book provides some insight on the electoral strategies of Mike Harris and Ralph Klein, the book is full of lies and conjecture about conservatives.
Case in point: the author acknowledges that Mike Harris' policies were based on a platform which he got elected but goes on to say "for many Ontarians the immediate shock was how ruthlessly the Harris team set about implementing their promises" (p. 195). What is so beautiful about this passage is that Mike Harris was re-elected with the same number of votes in the same year that this book came out, thus refuting her claim.
Another interesting passage: "As for the Reform Party, the pictures of male-dominated party gatherings tell the tale. At the elected level, the number of women in the Official Opposition's caucus actually declined, from 7 in 1993 to 4 in 1997." (p. 389). What the author BLATANTLY fails to mention is that the Bloc Quebecois (a separatist party whose mandate is to break up Canada) was in power was in power in 1993 and Reform (now Canadian Alliance) replaced them in 1997. I guess what the author is saying here is that it is better to have Separatists as Official Opposition than a moderately right-of-centre party because they have more women in their caucus. And a year after the publication of the book, MP Deborah Grey became the interim House Opposition leader when Preston Manning stepped down thus refuting her claim again.
This book is so laughingly biased, it is hardly credible. I could write a rebuttal that would actually cite sources instead of making false statements without citing them. (To her credit, the author cites sources in a separate chapter, but most of her sources are from left-wing editorials in MacLean's and the Toronto Star).
By the way, I received this book as a gift from my girl friend, and I am reading it to be respectful. Had she known about the slant from which this book was written, she would not have bought it. But it is an interesting read if you want some insight of the mindset of the Far Left.
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