Party of One

Party of One

Stephen Harper and Canada's Radical Makeover

Book - 2014
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Investigative journalist Michael Harris examines the Harper government, looking at Stephen Harper's policies, instincts, and the gap between his stated political principles and his practices.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario, Canada :, Viking,, 2014
ISBN: 9780670067015
Branch Call Number: 971.073 Har
Characteristics: 534 pages


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Jun 02, 2016

The entire premise of this book is wrong for so many reasons. For starters, when the author states that PM Paul Martin was "personally above reproach," it's kind of hard to take what he writes seriously. Secondly, in his parallel universe, only conservatives use third-party advertising (remember the "working families" coalition), engage in dirty tricks or hire US political strategists (James Carville used to regularly advise the Liberal Party during election season). But Harris seems quite butthurt that Harper spoke critically of Atlantic Canada. Sorry Michael, but the entire region is one giant welfare office -- there's a reason people are fleeing that area like the plague. Same thing with a majority government being basically an elected dictatorship; when you have an executive branch that is in charge of the legislative branch and the GG basically being a figurehead, the PM, whether it's a liberal or a conservative is basically a dictator for a period of up to five years. And then there's the idea that Stephen Harper has "radically" changed Canada. I know that if you read some of the reviews below by various left-wing loons (or listen to the mayor of Oakville), you'd think that Harper is the reincarnate of Mussolini and Hitler. But the reality is that Harper is a centrist; in fact, he's the ultimate cuckservative who was more than willing to turn Canada into a third world hell hole. The only difference between him and the Liberals/NDP is that he was much better at hiding this fact.

Jan 23, 2016

This is a disturbing book to read. We should all be glad the former PM is gone. What is particularly disturbing is that we have a democracy but he was able to attack and undermine parts of it in full view of the public. Thank goodness for our Supreme court, opposition parties and our press.
Chapters in the book highlight various issues and important events that the previous PM and his gang were involved in. Some go into too much detail (e.g. the robo-calls scandal) but it is all useful to remind us of how dangerous a person the previous PM was. It is not hard to believe that he cared little for real democracy and had strong dictatorial tendencies to put it mildly.

Nov 10, 2015

a searing portrait of a psychopath in prime ministerial clothing, we should all be watching our backs

Oct 10, 2015

War has long been described in images of pregnancy: “War develops in the womb of State politics; its principles are hidden there as the particular characteristics of the individual are hidden in the embryo” (Clausewitz); “Germany is never so happy as when she is pregnant with a war” (proverb). Wars are felt to be life-and-death struggles for “breathing space” and “living room,” ‘Lebensraum,’ as though nations were reliving the growing lack of space and oxygen common to all fetuses just prior to and during birth. As Adzema puts it, “feelings of expansion are followed by a fear of entrapment.” Nations become paranoid prior to wars, and feel they have to resort to violence to get out of what feels like a choking womb and birth canal. Chancellor Theobald Bethmann-Hollweg, for example, told the Reichstag in announcing war in 1914 that Germany was surrounded by enemies, and “he who is menaced as we are and is fighting for his highest possession can only consider how he is to hack his way through.” As Hitler repeated over and over again, only a violent “rebirth” could “purge the world of the Jewish poison” and avoid it being “asphyxiated and destroyed.”

Now, the notion that war might be a battle against a dangerous mother is difficult enough to believe. That it also includes fantasies that you are hacking your way out of the asphyxiation and/or engulfment of your own birth is infinitely harder to accept. But what followed then in my research into imagery prior to wars was a discovery that seemed to be a final step into the unbelievable, revealing a depth of regression prior to wars greater than anything yet contemplated in the psychological literature. Yet it was a discovery that for the first time seemed to explain the true origin of the poison blood imagery.

What I found was that the cartoons, past and present, of the enemy in war were dominated by an image that was even more widespread than that of the dangerous mommy: it was that of a sea beast, often with many heads or arms, a dragon or a hydra or a serpent or an octopus that threatened to poison the lifeblood of the nation. Most early cultures believed in this beast as a dragon that was associated with watery caves or lakes; modern wars show the beast as a bloodsucking, many-headed enemy. Indeed, the word 'dragon' comes from the Greek stem for "womb," and the umbilical python-serpent sat on the Greek stone 'omphalos,' the navel of the Earth. This serpentine, poisonous dragon-monster I have termed the 'Poisonous Placenta', since it resembled what the actual placenta must have sometimes felt like to the growing fetus, particularly when the placenta fails in its tasks of cleansing the fetal blood of wastes and of replenishing its oxygen supply. When the blood coming to the fetus from the placenta is bright red and full of nutrients and oxygen, the fetus feels it is being fed by a Nurturant Placenta, but when the mother smokes, takes drugs, or is hurt or frightened or otherwise stressed, the placenta does not remove the wastes from the fetal blood, which therefore becomes polluted and depleted of oxygen. Under these stressful conditions, the helpless fetus experiences an asphyxiating Poisonous Placenta, the prototype for all later hate relationships, including the murderous mother, the castrating father, and the dangerous enemy. It is even likely that the fetus, like Oedipus, feels it is actually battling with the dangerous beast (sphinx means “strangler” in Greek) to restore connections with the Nurturant Placenta. This battle, one that I have termed the ‘fetal drama’, is repeated in death-and-rebirth restagings of traumatic battles in wars and other social violence. — Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 58-61

“As you are aware, Madame Chancellor, one of the jihadist monster’s tentacles reached as far as our own Parliament.” — Stephen Harper

Aug 31, 2015

First about the critical comments: the Globe and Mail being the conservative paper it is, takes a totally negative approach to the book. The Star says it more like it is: " this is not a balanced recounting of the Harper record", but " is a devastating critique of Canada’s present government and it is fair to say that author Michael Harris believes the prime minister to be a clear and present danger — an existential threat — to Canada’s democracy. " And an impeccably documented critique it is. Scandals, lies, corruption, destruction of our democratic institutions, the Americanization of Canadian politics, almost all is there. And I wrote "almost" knowingly. Harris even forgets to mention some of the earliest lies in the first Harris government, such as the promise not to tax the income trusts, which he rapidly turned around and taxed to the fullest. (And I am not arguing that they should not have been taxed: I am saying that if you intend to do something as extensive as that, you should not lie about it)

Aug 20, 2015

Every Canadian, especially those in Quebec and Nfld, needs to read this book, even just the first chapter will shock and remind us of what our prime minister has been up to.

Aug 16, 2015

A detailed but totally one-sided presentation of the controversial issues that have occurred over the past decade, it's designed to make Stephen Harper look like an impossible autocrat, the most dangerous person Canada has ever encountered. Its epilogue is an interview with Farley Mowat, who has invented more "non-fiction" than anyone else I know. Not recommended for anyone who tries to understand things.

redban Jul 17, 2015

Currently reading a most-excellent book: 'Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his think tank colleagues have transformed Canada' by Donald Gutstein, a must-read for anyone (not just Canadians) who wants to understand the Corporate-Capitalist take-over.

Ever wonder what all that corporate lobbying money and those mighty corporate Foundations and Think Tanks are used for? A full-throttle assault on the working class (domestic and foreign) and the environment. We are so behind with containing Climate Change, and our dear leader pushes for more pipelines, tar sands, fracking, and offshore drilling. Supports militarism/imperialism abroad. Dismantles social programs and scientific research at home.

Knowledge brings outrage.

Jul 17, 2015

America, UK, Sweden, Italy, France and now Canada. [Although France appears to be swinging left again.] Sadly, the Global Banking Cartel, or Transnational Capitalist Class, is planetary in its nature, as is the global character of predatory capitalism. Our neighbors to the North long believed themselves removed from this, then one day awakened to it! A book of first-rate reportage. [Should be stocked at the Seattle library, had to go and purchase it!]

May 28, 2015


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