Knox Presbyterian Church120 Lisgar Street (at Elgin)

State of the Nation:
John Ibbitson, Susan Delacourt & Paul Wells

Hosted by CBC's National Reporter Rosemary Barton
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
— Plato
John Ibbitson - Photo courtesy of Fred Lum - The Globe and Mail
Paul Wells - Photo courtesy of Andrew Tolson
Susan Delacourt

In life and in politics, the only constant is change. For a clearer perspective on how Canada is changing, where national politics are headed and what this tells us about our country, we turn to three of the country’s most respected commentators: John Ibbitson, chief political correspondent for The Globe and Mail, Susan Delacourt, a senior political writer with the Toronto Star, and Paul Wells, political editor of Maclean's magazine,


In The Big Shift, John Ibbitson’s most recent book (with Darrell Bricker), he argues that one of the world’s most consensual countries is polarizing, with the west versus the east, suburban versus urban, immigrants versus old school, coffee drinkers versus consumers of energy drinks. The political, media and business elites of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal ran this country for almost its entire history. But in the last few years, he contends, they have lost their power, replaced by a new coalition based in the west and supported by immigrant voters in Ontario. 


Inside the political backrooms of Ottawa, the Mad Men of Canadian politics are planning their next consumer-friendly pitch. Where once politics was seen as a public service, increasingly it's seen as a business, and citizens are the customers. Susan Delacourt’s new book, Shopping for Votes offers a new narrative for understanding our political culture, explaining how parties slice and dice their platforms for different audiences and how they manage the media. The current system divides the country into "niche" markets and abandons the hard political work of knitting together broad consensus or national vision. Little wonder then, that fewer than half of voters under the age of thirty showed up at the ballot box in the last few federal elections. 


In his new book, The Longer I’m Prime Minister, Paul Wells explores just what Harper’s understanding of Canada is, and who he speaks for in the national conversation. He explains Harper not only to Harper supporters but also to readers who can’t believe he is still Canada’s prime minister. He has already been in power longer than Lester B. Pearson and John Diefenbaker. By 2015, and the end of this majority term, he’ll have caught up to Brian Mulroney. No matter the ups and downs, the triumphs and the self-inflicted wounds, Harper has been moving to build the Canada he wants.


Books by participating authors available on-site. A booksigning will follow each event.


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