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The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future Hardcover – Feb 26 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Feb. 26 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443416452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443416450
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Ovenbird on April 2 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This read pretty well. The core thesis is nothing new - but it was cogently laid out and might make new reading for the people who've had their head in the sand since 2004 when Paul Martin was reduced to a minority.

What struck me, however, was that the authors spent almost as much effort trying to establish that there actually is a Canadian elite as they did on the Big Shift itself (although they did it through repetition rather than through any compelling evidence). It is almost as if they wanted to make consensus Liberals feel better about the Harper government by awarding them 'elite status' retroactively like some sort of Air Canada customer inducement program.

And this is where the book loses points for my part. In trying to account for a change in status quo, the authors posit that the pre-Big Shift Canada as a much bigger and consequential country than it actually ever was, with far more international clout and culture than it ever has had or will have. Don't get me wrong, I love living here and would never want to live elsewhere but we are a small nation. Rightly or wrongly, the Big Shift is an unimaginative, but realistic, view of Canada, its roles and its dependencies. They stopped short of saying that the 'Laurentian Consensus' also had a large element of make-believe about a Canada that really never existed except in their minds when the economy was vast and robust.

All to say, their description is well-crafted enough to make this shift seem a whole lot bigger than it actually is. Two fairly Liberal authors don the hair shirt and condemn their own kind in some sort of uncalled for act of contrition.

The question is are they describing the new normal or a major blip? This is something I would have liked to see discussed more and I really hope they do a second edition after the 2015 election.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By George Hariton on March 8 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book's thesis is simple. The locus of power in Canada is changing, in three ways: (1) The West is gaining in population and wealth, and so its voice is much stronger, relative to the East (2) Middle class suburbanites, especially the belt around Toronto, are more concerned with economic issues than with cultural issues or social justice, and so are aligning with the West (3) Immigrants, mostly from Asia, are also aligning with this coalition. This marks a major shift from traditional values advanced by the "Laurentian elite", i.e. the traditional ruling class from Ontario and Quebec -- who have downplayed economic issues and focussed instead on keeping Quebec happy, protecting Canadian society from American influences, and loudly proclaiming Canada's moral superiority, at home and abroad.

According to the authors,the Conservativ4es "get it", and that is why they have been able to get elected. They will rule until the other parties also get it, and tailor their electoral platforms to appeal to the new Canadian values. This doesn't mean that they have to move to the right or abandon social objectives. But they must recast these to appeal to the changing electorate.

The authors also stress the importance of continued immigration as Canada ages and the birth rate remains below the replacement level. They welcome the new emphasis on receiving immigrants who can contribute to the economy, rather than refugees and family reunification. Again, this illustrates changing priorities, from the social and humanitarian to the economic.

The book is an easy read and quite funny at times, as the authors lampoon the ruling elites, and the press, and others who keep hoping that all these changes will go away as Canadians return to their senses.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Richard Scorgie on March 7 2013
Format: Hardcover
Bricker and Ibbitson bring a new understanding to what many in Canada, especially in the media simply refuse to acknowledge; Canada has changed. While it is easy for many to comfort themselves with notions that Harper's Conservatives stole the election through robocalls, or that in some way this was a protest vote and that the Liberals will soon be back in their rightful place are gravely mistaken.

The book is an easy read and while at times the authors glee, derived from their findings gets the better of them in the form of editorial if not op-ed like comments that to some may reflect a kind of joy of the Conservative victory, to focus on this would be a mistake. Canada is a young country in transition from prepubescence to young adulthood. A clear departure from the Trudeau liberal to
a very different Western led Nation.

The book is written to be controversial and it succeeds. Canada, for as long as I have been a witness to it, was a country run by the east. One that held the view, a view as false as can be made,of moral superiority over its southern neighbour. That bilingualism works, that social programs run by the government are a solution and that Anti-Americanism is a form of cultural identity are patently false. Not because of Harper or his Conservatives but because of what the authors call the "Laurentian Elites" and their own efforts of the past, as the natural ruling party, have come provide the latent effect of a seismic shift to Conservatism.
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Format: Hardcover
I won't repeat what many already wrote So I will be short (please read other comments as they are good) , I rate it 3 starts because at least for me, it was known the majority of the book. Sometimes I feel the alternative media is ahead of the main stream by months and sometimes years.

Something that eluded me and it was very well explained in this book is how the conservatives got into power.
A History of the previous elite on power "the Laurentian consensus" for young Canadians will be very interesting (but the book lack on the names on who were these elite power)

Ibbitson as being all his life in the main stream media and heavily on Statism has missed several points in the book that could had make the book way better.

They tried to avoid as much as they could on how our foreign policy has changed 180 degree since Harper arrived to power and not for the good. A better book certainly can be "The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy" and "The Ugly Canadian" by Yves Engler

When will the Canada I knew once will come back? I hope this book provokes the questioning of many Canadians.
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