Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada Hardcover – Jun 28 2005
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William Johnson's Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada sets out to dispel the myths and explain the facts about the leader of the official opposition. By his own admission, Harper is not comfortable with the typical role of political leader as baby-kissing, photo-op-seeking figurehead, and Johnson suggests that the reason for his unflattering portrayals in the media is his reluctance to do what's expected of such a figure. "An unusual trait for a politician," Johnson writes, "is his conviction that correct policies are more important than tactics for winning support and achieving power." If nothing else, Johnson maintains, Harper should be admired for standing by his convictions, unaffected by public opinion polls and influence from his own advisers, even when a degree of compromise might have increased his popularity.
The author chronicles with detail Harper's political beginnings, his stint--and his ensuing disenchantment--with the Mulroney Progressive Conservatives, the events that led to him becoming a key architect of the Reform party, and his rescue of the Canadian Alliance, which led to the merger with the Progressive Conservatives to create the new Conservative Party that he led into federal elections against Paul Martin's Liberals. With a different leader at the top but Harper behind the scenes, Canadians might very well have elected a Conservative government in 2004: one cannot help but feel from Johnson's account that Harper would be better appreciated as a back-room policy director, a role he may not relish, but may be essential if he is to continue in politics. --Eric Wilson
“The most important Canadian political book of the year.”
— Calgary Herald
“The book does a formidable job of exploring Stephen Harper’s mind. It is a first-rate intellectual history. . . . A well-constructed study that shines light on a fogbound public figure at a time when it is most important to know him.”
— Globe and Mail
“This is an important book for political junkies and others who are trying to understand recent Canadian political history.”
— Halifax Chronicle-Herald
“Thoughtful, thorough and often surprising. . . . the book rests its premises on solid ground.”
— London Free Press
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It covers very little about Harper's personal life. It makes little or no mention of his wife and kids and only describes his upbringing briefly so you can get an idea of his background. So, if you're looking for a warm and fuzzy book to get to know "Steve" and the ins and outs of his daily life, this is not a book for you.
This is for someone who has an interest in the political history of the last 20 years centered around Harper. It attempts to detail what got Mr. Harper into politics, and how his political ideology was formed. It then describes where he stands on the issues in politics from the Mulroney years through to the Martin years. If you're not familiar with the Reform party, you will learn a lot about it and the other leaders of it, such as Manning and Day.
The author attempts to make Harper's thoughts clear on the major issues on the political scene over the last 20 years with many direct quotes from Harper's speeches and documents. If your political history is weak you may learn a bit about the Meech lake/Charlottetown accords, the separatist movement during these years, Mulroney, Chretien, Manning, and so on.
I found the author very fair and objective for the most part. A lot of the minor details that people contest in this book are irrelevant anyway. To gain something from this book you don't need to accept the author's views on Harper and the events; you can weed through the quotes and information, do your own research from there, and figure it out yourself.
Most recent customer reviews
I've read William Johnson's book twice and this is a must-read for all Canadians.
This book is a seriously distorted, from its early cliam that at Harper's high school - "His name was displayed in gold letters on the wall facing the school's main entrance. Read morePublished on March 3 2006 by Michael B. Callaghan
This book is even handed. It does let us know a little bit more about who Stephen Harper is, but it is a very 'surface' level book. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2006 by J. Greening
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