John Ibbitson – Stephen Harper (2015)

A well-written biography of the former prime minister, with identification of the effect of beneficial policies, but without sufficient assessment of the impact of detrimental policies, which far outnumber those that are beneficial.


John Ibbitson: Harper

Ibbitson is almost universally and unconvincingly dismissive of Harper’s political opponents, which mars much of the book’s argument of the success of Harper’s form of conservatism; and the latter’s typification as being a struggle between Albertan aspirations and the “Laurentian elite” is facile. There is, for example, little discussion of the role of British Columbia in the federation; nor of pivotal contributions Saskatchewan governments have made to the country.

The book describes a man who brooks no opposition, to the point of malice; who devalues civil rights; who refuses to consider others’ perspectives on policy; who does not care for the citizens and the country he has been elected to govern; who chooses to be unaware of the artistic vitality of the regions of Canada; who does not care for the health of the land; who is uninterested in global politics; who is incapable of spontaneity of action and decision, and thus often incapable politically and economically.

It provides another example that there is a difference between intelligence and ability, and a difference between results and progress. And that power as an end in itself is worthless.

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