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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 15 2013


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The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future + The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006- + Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Feb. 15 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443416452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443416450
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Darrell Bricker is the CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs. Prior to joining Ipsos Reid, Bricker was director of public-opinion research in the office of the prime minister. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Carleton University and is the co-author (with Edward Greenspon) of Searching for Certainty: Inside the New Canadian Mindset. He is the co-author, with John Wright, of What Canadians Think About Almost Everything. Follow Darrell on Twitter @darrellbricker.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

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11 of 12 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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Format: Hardcover
The authors’ intent seem to be to veil their criticism of powerful liberals by calling them the “Laurentian Elites”. They, of course, don’t admit this, but neither do they properly explain what the “Laurentian Elite” is.
I don’t disagree with the authors’ assertion that the liberals failed to fully address the immigrant vote(the big shift). However, their claim that liberals (who according to them are the most powerful professors, the most influential reporters, and decision makers in the party) are all living in a delusion where they are completely unconscious to what immigrants want is laughable. Since this is the basis of much of their book the rest of their related arguments crumble to the ground. For example, the authors completely disregard the role of the vicious Conservative attack ads in the last couple of elections. They completely ignore the fact that Canadians were forced to go to the polls every 2 years (approximately) in order to vote in a new minority government, and only after two Conservative minority governments did annoyed Canadians give the Conservatives a majority. The authors completely ignore the weaknesses of the losing Liberal leaders, namely one leader who couldn't speak the language of 80% of the population, and another leader who the public clearly perceived as a traitor to Canada due to his questionable loyalties. How presumptuous of the authors to disregard other factors, because somehow (we don’t know how) their polls show it. Is there a shift, yes, is it as big as the authors claim it is, I really don’t think so.

The authors’ spend parts of the book defending Stephen Harper’s condemnable actions by putting forward the laughable defense that the liberal media has delusional assumptions and want to stick it to Harper.
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33 of 40 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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