Blue Thunder: The Truth About Conservatives From Macdonald to Harper Hardcover – Apr 7 2009
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Quill & Quire
Conservative Party insider Bob Plamondon’s new book, Blue Thunder, promises to tell “the truth” about all the leaders throughout the Tories’ various incarnations. The truth, according to Plamondon, is that party leaders who managed to win elections and hold power (sorry, Joe Clark) made for great Conservative leaders, while the rest were either not tough enough, incompetent, or died shortly after taking over as leader. Plamondon lays out a framework for determining the most successful Conservative leaders. His criteria include: “Do they offer a vision that inspires the nation?” and “Are they absolutely committed to winning?” The book would have benefited from more of an explanation about why these criteria were so important to Plamondon or why they should matter to anyone who isn’t either a die-hard Conservative or an aspiring Conservative insider. As it is, this book is unlikely to appeal to anyone who doesn’t fall into one of those categories, and those that do may well find that there isn’t much new here. Plamondon’s analysis and conclusions are predictable: Sir John A. Macdonald good, Kim Campbell bad. For non-Conservatives, the book will, not surprisingly, come across as a little too partisan in places. For example, in 35 pages on Brian Mulroney, there is just one dismissive reference to the Karlheinz Schreiber scandal. To his credit, however, Plamondon offers a balanced assessment of the current prime minister. Blue Thunder probably works best as a reference text of sorts for political history junkies. The workmanlike and humourless prose will definitely not reward a casual reader, or anyone who spends long stretches reading the book. Almost by default, the book’s cleverest line belongs to convicted felon Conrad Black, who writes in the introduction that former prime minister John Diefenbaker’s “strengths are indisputable but often hard to identify precisely.” The footnotes for this research-heavy, 504-page book are posted on the book’s website and are not included in the book itself. I don’t know if this is a common practice, but it is unquestionably an annoying one. It’s a little like watching a movie and instead of simply showing the credits at the end, you are invited to go to a website to find out who was in the cast. In some ways, then, Blue Thunder is similar to the Tories themselves: a few strong moments separated by long stretches of relative insignificance.
About the Author
BOB PLAMONDON, FCA, is one of Canada's leading public policy specialists. A full and part time professor at three Canadian universities over twenty years, Bob was an insider to conservative politics over the past twenty years. This included: a run for Parliament in 1988; a stint in the Tory war room in 1993; and, a leading backroom figure in the Tory 2003 leadership contest.
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Top Customer Reviews
Every Canadian should read this book and it should be available in every school library.
Every new Canadian should read this so they have a better understanding of our domestic issues and the passionate heart that beats within each Canadian.
A Super Read!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While you may not be familiar with the author,you will be surprised to see that Conrad Black wrote the Introduction.
I can't stress enough that this book is about Conservatives;so don't expect to find much in it about Liberal Politicians and issues,and only in so much as to show competing personalities and issues.Maybe someone,or even the author should write a companion book to present the"Truth about Liberals".
I read a lot of history and politics of both Canada and The United States and the history of these two countries ,while having close ties and so closely intermingled,the politics is very different.
This book shows that Quebec,even though only one quarter of Canada in population,impacts everything to a much greater extent than its weight and all in an effort of accomodation.Every issue from culture,language,politics,religion,and unity ,particularly during wartime,becomes problematic between Quebec and the rest of Canada.This difference is even greater than with the Deep South and the rest of the United States.The difference is so profound that in Canada it could be considered an "accomodation" whereas in the US a "union" is a much more applicable term.
Another great difference is that Canada never did come to terms with nationhood as did the US by Revolution and the Civil War,but instead retained its associations with Britain and other european "mother country" allegiances.
Another thing that comes through in the book is associations with the US.At times the cultural,trade, fear of domination,common cultural interests,and on an on, often become formost in the politics of both Conservatives and Liberals.While there are many who would like to see the abolishment of connections with the British Monarchy,particularly Quebec,many are pro-Monarchy;there are many who are also anti-American,while many would have no problem with a union with the US.All this flows back and forth at different times,with some leaders or others and with one political party or another.
Another great difference that comes through is that Canada is a much more Socialist country than the US.It tends to favor big government and central control.The term of "States Rights" in the US is a much greater and important concept than Provincial Rights.Canada has a Parliamentary form of government,given it by Britain,the Prime Minister is chosen by the party in power,and not elected like America's President. A Vote of Confidence in Parliament can result in a new election being called at any time,as in many european countries ,but not so in the US. As a result,because no one party has a majority of elected members,Canada is facing its 4th National Election in 5 years.
If you think politicians are numerous in the US,consider this;
With a population of 300 million ,the US has 550 (a fixed number)Members of Congress;while Canada has 308 Members of Parliament (an unfixed number that continually grows and has grown from 264 in 1980);all for a population of 35 million ,no less. Think about it!that's nearly 5 times as many on a per capita basis.Canada's Senate (appointed ,not elected,and without any venting process)has 100 members,also not a fixed number)the same number as the US for almost one-tenth the population.
This book is filled with data and other information that is intregal to the political history of Canada,and if it had a companion covering the Liberals and Socialist politicians,they would make a great texts for High Sshool History;rather than the texts I remember "History of England and Europe" and "Ancient History".
Americans ,who think they are overgoverned,would also find reading this book interesting.Be thankful that your founding principles are;
Life,Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness
as opposed to Canada's
Peace,Order and Good Government
Which,by the way,came from England,to govern the Colonies.
Another thought in passing,I recently heard that the three largest employers in the world are the Chinese Army,The Indian Railways,and the British National Health System.Sorry,I can't tell you about the Canadian Health System,I've never seen the numbers,if even available. With the population of the US far exceeding Britain,be careful of what you ask for---you may be surprised at what you get.
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