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Not as great as they all say...
on October 28, 2003
Simpson is a journalist. He gets lost several times in reporting things like the Martin-Chretien rivalry, which have very little to do with the book's subject matter. He has lots of good and enlightening info late in the book on the different electoral systems. But he lacks insight into his own position, and his attempts to avoid the charge of being ideologically-motivated lead him into embarrassing contortions.
Simpson confuses soft-left ideology with a non-ideological outlook, saying Canadians do not elect on the basis of ideology. His own information contradicts this, with the country split every election, Simpson shows, on a wide range of ideological issues. But we always see the Liberals capturing the majority of votes in Ontario -- the decisive province -- and very little outside it. This is always an attempt to placate Quebec, never fully assimilated into Confederation. It is this ongoing source of sedition that leads panicky Ontarians to trump the best interests of the rest of the country.
It is also the assumption of most left-wing journalists that their view is the only one that sensible and logical people should hold. Simpson favors so many policies that can only be applied in a top-down, elitist way -- such as Canada has suffered under since the 1960s -- that he never really comes to any conclusions about just what system would be best for us. He knows the policies which he favors, which have been put in place by the "friendly dictatorship," would be among the first to go, were Canadians allowed a truly democratic system, i.e. we would see capital punishment, some private health care, etc.
So Simpson really just dances around the issue of reform, while breathing a sigh of relief, I would guess, that the friendly dictatorship he decries will still be in place when he wakes up tomorrow morning, regardless of this rather disingenuous effort.