Full Circle: Death and Resurrection in Canadian Conservative Politics Hardcover – Sep 18 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
However, while recommendable, flaws are many. Plamondon is quick to proscribe motives and casts Preston Manning as the villain of the early part of the book, while almost uncritical of the Mulroney government. In fact, besides certain ambiguous assertions, perceived corruption in the PC government is not mentioned as a factor at all behind Reform's rise, when that was one of the major talking points of the era. Mulroney's accomplishments are considered golden, while Manning's amazing journey to create a political movement from near-scratch is given little praise. Peter MacKay seems to get the same fawning praise as Mulroney. While such black and white views work in some places, they don't work in a book like this this one, that is supposed to capture the personalities of the movement.
Also, Plamondon sometimes contradicts himself heavily. In one example, he constantly goes on about "vote splitting" between the Reform/Alliance and PC parties. I wouldn't agree that it was the only reason, or that it gave the Liberals a free ride, but it's a defendable route of analysis.Read more ›
It is clear, to this reader, that the success is a direct result of the unselfish acts of Mr. Harper and Mr. MacKay, who put their own agendas aside, determined how best to rebuild the national party and focused on the issues most affecting Canadians.
Mr. Plamondon removed the sheep's clothing from Mr. Manning and showed the wolf underneath.
He demonstrated that Ms. Stronach is not capable of following her own instincts and while she gets the MP pay check, it should actually go to her father.
Full Circle is an important piece of work. Any Canadian interested in federal politics, the rise and fall of the Conservative Party and who the players were in this resurrection, should read this book.
Now we need Mr. Plamondon to begin work on the Life and Death of the Liberal Party. Perhaps his research will uncover the billion dollars missing from the HR portfolio, the billion dollars missing from the gun registry and the 250 million dollars missing from the Ad Scam.
A super piece of work and I do look forward to his next book.
Yet,you get the sense he is too close by far to his sources. Consequently, the book can get boring. It reads in some places like simple description, with little or no interpretation and spice.
That is not to say there are not some surprising turns. Plamondon's is strong in his criticism of Preston Manning and his selfish decision to tear apart the Canadian Conservative movement by founding the Reform Party in the late '80s.
Ultimately, Manning is portrayed in a very unfavorable light. He is the lead player in the tragedy of the Canadian Conservative movement's great divide. Manning's great organizational and leadership skills ultimately result in a perverse but very predictable outcome: Two inadequate Conservative parties, and Liberal Party of Canada domination of the Canadian Government from 1993 through to 2006. Plamondon lays the responsibility for this clearly on Manning's doorstep.
The "Full Circle" that Plamondon talks about is the division of the Conservative movement between the Reform and Progressive Conservatives in the late '80s, and the eventual reconciliation between these two camps just prior to the 2004 election leading to electoral victory in 2006. This is a very academic work, but if you can get through the slow parts, there is a lot here that will prove illuminating as the Conservatives prepare for the anticipated election in 2007.
But Brian Mulroney will love this book. Plamondon is as ecstatic about Mulroney's wisdom, insight and good governance as Mulroney is himself.
While Plamondon's partisanship shows through repeatedly throughout Full Circle, he tells a story that is interesting and full as well as adding some details to the public record of key moments in the lives of the Alliance and PC parties. Well worth reading.
A couple of criticisms. One is that Plamondon does not really seem to have grasped the depth of the Western alienation of the 1970s and '80s that made the emergence of the Reform Party virtually inevitable. Second, the book could have used much tighter editing. For example. Plamondon never seems to have figured out when the word "conservative" -- the most important noun in his book -- should be capitalized and when it should be lower case.