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The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future [Hardcover]

Darrell Bricker , John Ibbitson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 15 2013

The political, media and business elites of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal ran this country for almost its entire history. But in the last few years, they have lost their power, and most of them still do not realize it’s gone. The Laurentian Consensus, a name John Ibbitson coined for the dusty liberal elite, has been replaced by a new, powerful coalition based in the West and supported by immigrant voters in Ontario. So what happened?

Great global migrations have washed over Canada. Most people are unaware that the keystone economic and political drivers of this country are now Western Canada and the immigrants from China, India, and other Asian countries who increasingly are turning Ontario into a Pacific-oriented province. Those in politics and business have greatly underestimated how conservative these newcomers are, and how conservative they are making our country. Canada, with an ever-evolving and growing economy and a constantly changing demographic base, has become divorced from the traditions of its past and is moving in an entirely new direction.

In The Big Shift, John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker argue that one of the world’s most consensual countries is polarizing, with the west versus the east, suburban versus urban, immigrants versus old school, coffee drinkers versus consumers of energy drinks. The winners—in politics, in business, in life—will figure out where the people are and go there too.

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The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics , Business, And Culture And What It Means For Our Future + The Truth About Trudeau + The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006-
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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

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Obvious Shift? 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book, that every Canadian should read May 5 2014
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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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful polemic 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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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Canada you know is not the Canada that is. March 7 2013
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read.
Great book and love that it is Canadian data and the author is Canadian too. Well done and Darrell is a wonderful speaker for those planning a conference. Thanks.
Published 3 days ago by Rose Lamb
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved the whole package and I would tell anyone that ...
It taught me about underlying currents in todays society. I loved the whole package and I would tell anyone that this a very smart book to purchase.
Published 1 month ago by bill rogerson
5.0 out of 5 stars Change my perception of the Conservative government
Though I don't like their social (lack of) platform, this book helped really opened my mind to how they were able to win a majority government, and more importantly, how the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Joey
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Ambition, Big Disappointment
The Big Shift is at once ambitious and disappointing. Bricker, a leading pollster, and Ibbitson, a leading political journalist, set out a bold project for themselves. Read more
Published 11 months ago by K. P. Siu
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, topical and interesting
A must read! If you think you know Canada, read on as you probably don't. This book is extremely topical and interesting. I'm already planning to buy extras for Christmas gifts.
Published 11 months ago by Brenda Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Political Forecasting
I couldn't put this book down. With straightforward language and a lot of predictions for Canada's future supported by raw data and facts, this book is an awesome read. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nate
5.0 out of 5 stars insightful
Insightful and thought provoking book for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of how things work. Read more
Published 12 months ago by insightseeker
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful
I am astounded at the great insight this book offers into modern Canada. Any political junkie (and others) should read this book!
Published 13 months ago by Byron Dueck
4.0 out of 5 stars Way to go Amazon!
This book was for a university history course that discussed how the face of Canadian politics has been changing recently. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Lily
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review : The Big Shift by Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson
Authors Darrel Bricker---CEO of Ipsos Reid Corporation Global Public Affairs---and John Ibbitson---chief political correspondent for the Globe and Mail newspaper---argue a major... Read more
Published 14 months ago by David Heming
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