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The Truth about Canada: Some Important, Some Astonishing, and Some Truly Appalling Things All Canadians Should Know About Our Country Hardcover – Apr 29 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas Gibson Books; Canadian First edition (April 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771041659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771041655
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 16.1 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 821 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #289,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexander O'Neill on Sept. 4 2011
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book you will learn 100% "Some Important, Some Astonishing, and Some Truly Appalling Things All Canadians Should Know About Our Country." Mel's presentation isn't poetry, it is a book of facts which point out the dismal state of Canada. Very rarely are they used to draw any specific conclusions, and when they are I can hardly say that they're very disagreeable arguments.

Another reviewer (Chris Horlacher), who appears to have put the book down before getting half way through the first chapter, has misrepresented Mel's argument on healthcare. Mel is arguing that Canada has high expenditure on private healthcare, and that this is pulling down the efficiency of our healthcare system. This point is further supported by the unarguable fact that countries with greater public health-care spending and very little private health-care spending, end up spending far less overall due to the fact that well rounded funding reduces inefficiencies.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 31 2008
Format: Hardcover
From self-proclaimed anti-continentalist, Mel Hurtig's latest book is certainly his most controversial. "The Truth about Canada" acts as an exposé for what Hurtig feels to be the absolute wrong direction for Canada.

Hurtig's arguments boil down to (in no particular order):

1. Canada is quickly becoming the 51st American state, economically and culturally
2. Canada's once comprehensive social services are decaying daily
3. Canada is no longer a peacekeeping country
4. Canada is no longer a primary aid donor to developing countries

It's hard to argue against any of Hurtig's arguments, especially with the insane amount of OECD statistics he cites. And if you thought Hurtig's polemic is focused just on Harper and Co., you'll be surprised (or not) to know he reserves his most critical judgments against the Liberals.

The major issue I have with an otherwise fine text is that Hurtig provides little if any of the necessary background, context or significance of what he is saying and why he is saying it. Hurtig takes for granted that his reader actually agrees with everything that he will argue, before you read the book. Books are supposed to be written the other way around, to convince us WHY we should care. Of which, unfortunately, Hurtig fails to do other than to say "this is what Canada was built on and look how it is changing".
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Chris Horlacher on Sept. 27 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mel accurately assesses the symptoms being experienced by Canadians today, inadequate health care, increasing income disparity, increasing income inequality etc. but fails to describe WHY this is happening. The reader will get the distinct impression that Mel believes that it is up to the government to deal with everything he views as the inadequacy of the Canadian experience. The problem is that Mel's analysis is only superficial and fails to provide proper context for the issues that he brings up.

For example, in the first chapter he lambastes the Canadian health care system for not being able to keep up with other health care systems in the OECD nations (Mel cites OECD statistics extensively throughout the book). He's very good at describing where Canada falls short and even correctly shows that it is not due to any lack of funding because Canada spends far more per capita than other OECD nations who rank higher than us on health care. Unfortunately, in the next part of the chapter he simply states that under no circumstances should Canada adopt what he incorrectly calls 'two-tier' health care. His emotional appeal to class warfare belies the fact the Mel really has no idea why Canada's health care system is the way it is and his only solution seems to be that he wants to throw more money in to it. But he already proved that the problem is not due to a lack of funding. Mel's superficial analysis quickly becomes apparent when we realize that the top ranked OECD nations he so praises are employing the exact kinds of systems that Mel calls 'two-tier' and says that we must avoid at all costs. Mel repeats the same errors throughout the book.

Overall this book is quite good at telling us what's wrong with Canada and where the country is falling behind.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. L. Younker on Aug. 4 2009
Format: Paperback
This book covers a lot of important issues that should concern all Canadians. However, instead of providing a balanced argument, relevant context or suggestions for improvements, Hurtig hammers the reader over the head with one message: "canada sucks." There are valid points raised in this book such as the failure of provincial governments to raise the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation. But even when Hurtig makes his case he proceeds to undermine it by manipulating statistics to bolster his case even when they don't. For example, when he talks of wage discrepancy over the past decade he blasts the top 10 percent for seeing their incomes increase by some $23 000 against very minimal increases for the lower tiers. However, the $23 000 barely works out to keeping pace with inflation of 2-3% compounded for a decade. After reading a hundred pages I started to feel as though I was reading an undergraduate paper by a political science student. I'm hoping to find some more constructive and balanced analysis out there.
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