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TORONTO, Oct 4 /CNW/ - Harperland: The Politics of Control,
a new book on the Prime Minister by Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence
Martin is on-sale tomorrow. The book, which includes many interviews
with senior Harper advisers, says democracy has been undermined to an
unprecedented degree by a closed, secretive prime minister bidding for
absolute control of the system.
The strong-arm tactics have worked well for Harper, says author Lawrence
Martin, enabling him to become a conservative success story, a prime
minister who has driven back the Liberals and advanced conservative
policy goals. At the same time Harper's autocratic, confrontational
methods have seeded doubts about his character and created a level of
distrust of his intentions, preventing him from increasing his support
to a majority-government level.
Among the book's highlights:
Harper was so obsessed with control that he tried to prevent a book on
him by close adviser Tom Flanagan from being published. Harper gave
his chief of staff Ian Brodie the task of killing the 2007 book, Harper's
Team, which was not critical of Harper but shed light on his
operation. The book was published, but with a significant amount of
material deleted. The Harper move ended a fifteen-year relationship
between him and Flanagan, who had been a driving force behind Harper's
David Emerson, who served in both Harper's and Paul Martin's cabinet,
tells the author that what set Harper apart was his degree of venom.
He describes Harper and colleagues as "viscerally hating" Liberal
opponents. But with his extraordinary discipline, Harper ran an
operation, Emerson says, that was many times more efficient than the
scattershot Martin Liberals. It was like night and day. Under Martin
"You could be in the cabinet meeting from nine till noon...and really
nothing would happen."
Former chief of staff Ian Brodie describes Harper as sometimes being
"a sonofabitch," a leader, he says, determined to take down opponents
by driving a hard and brutal message. But, Brodie maintains, Harper
has a good record as a unifier.
The level of paranoia at the PMO was such that even a press release by
Parks Canada on the mating season of the black bear had to be vetted.
Harper succeeded in humiliating the Liberals to a degree never before
seen, keeping them at or below thirty percent in the polls for a
longer period than ever before. The PM's top priority was not policy
but, according to his advisers, the destruction of the Liberal Party.
In the coalition crisis, if Harper didn't get his way with
Governor-General Michaëlle Jean on prorogation, one option being
considered, reveals Kory Teynecke, Harper's former communications
director, was to go over her head to the Queen. The government would
appeal the decision and seek to have Jean replaced.
A journalist's book was a big motivating factor in Harper's decision
to carry out a dictatorial style of governance. The strategy was
"indelibly formed by one source," says Ian Brodie. It was the Harper
team's study of Discipline of Power by Jeffrey Simpson,
a book which charted the collapse of the Joe Clark minority in 1979.
Harper and colleagues vowed never to repeat those mistakes.
Lawrence Martin is a Globe and Mail columnist and author of ten
books, including many critically acclaimed bestsellers. Raised in
Hamilton, educated at McMaster and Harvard, Martin served as both
Washington and Moscow correspondent for The Globe and Mail before
becoming an Ottawa-based national columnist. His books include The
Presidents and the Prime Ministers, The Red Machine (a
history of hockey in the Soviet Union), and a two-volume biography of
THE POLITICS OF CONTROL by Lawrence Martin
NonFiction/ ISBN 9780670065172 / $35 / Hardcover /
Published by Viking Canada, an imprint of Penguin Group (Canada)
SOURCE Penguin Group (Canada)
For further information: For further information:
Penguin Group (Canada)
416 528 9487 Mobile