Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper

Book - 2015
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The authoritative biography of Stephen Harper, to be published on the eve of the next election.

As one of the important prime ministers in the life of our nation, Stephen Harper has reshaped Canada into a more conservative country, a transformation that his opponents tacitly admit will never be reversed. He has made government smaller, justice tougher, and provinces more independent, whether they want to be or not. Under its 22nd prime minister, Canada shows the world a plainer, harder face. Those who praise Harper point to the Conservatives' skillful economic management, the impressive new trade agreements, the tax cuts and the balanced budget, the reformed immigration system, the uncompromising defence of Israel and Ukraine, and the fight against terrorism. Critics--pointing to punitive punishments, muzzled scientists, assaults on the judiciary, and contempt for parliament--accuse the Harper government of being autocratic, secretive and cruel.
But what about the man? In this definitive new biography, the Globe and Mail 's John Ibbitson explores the life of the most important Canadian of our times--his suburban youth, the crisis that caused Stephen Harper to quit university for three years, the forces that shaped his tempestuous relationship with Reform Leader Preston Manning, how Laureen Harper influences her husband, his devotion to his children--and his cats. Ibbitson explains how this shy, closed, introverted loner united a fractured conservative movement, defeated a Liberal hegemony, and set out to reshape the nation. With unparalleled access to sources, years of research and writing, and a depth of insight that has made him one of the most respected voices in journalism, John Ibbitson presents an intimate, detailed portrait of a man who has remained an enigma to supporters and enemies alike. Now that enigma is revealed, in a masterful exploration of Stephen Harper, the politician and the man.
Publisher: Toronto : Signal, an imprint of McClelland & Stewart, 2015.
ISBN: 9780771047039
Characteristics: 436 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

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JeremiahFreckleton
Oct 07, 2016

Fantastic read very easy and light. Does not bore you gets to the facts and highlights of Stephen Harper's life and his impact on Conservatism and Canada. This book is fair and rather unbiased which is a plus. Most books about Stephen Harper or Conservatives in general are either outright antagonistic (Liberal Bias Problem) or smugly dismissive which is a shame and robs people of the benefits of different perspectives in the public square. 5/5!

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crepka
Apr 27, 2016

A brilliant, insightful piece. The best Canadian political book I've read this decade.

Ibbitson pulls no punches in showing Harper's warts (control freak, bad temper, unfaithful at times). He criticizes some of Harper's weaker decisions such as scrapping the long form census, etc. But he also carefully debunks the myth that Harper turned Canada into a right wing, evangelical, police state that ruined Canada's reputation abroad. He even appears to suggest that some "elite" segments of society (e.g. parliamentary press gallery) really were downright mean and un-objective to his party and the Reform/Alliance movement in general.

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HowardWilliams
Oct 14, 2015

Given the recent issues relating to the 'Harper government' this is quite a balanced view of Harper, warts and all.

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