Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada's Failing Democracy

Product Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan. Random House (Random, Canadian dist.), $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-307-36129-5
Canadian Members of Parliament have lost the respect of the public, their childish partisan antics and apparent disconnection from the interests of their constituents driving declining faith in democracy in Canada. The authors, who founded Samara Canada to improve Canadian political participation, took the bold step of interviewing 80 retired MPs about the institution in which they served. Although they interviewed politicians from across the political spectrum, the picture that emerges is surprisingly uniform, from a lack of mentoring to the self-serving myths Members of Parliament tell themselves to frustrations over the ways the realities of parliament run roughshod over idealistic ambitions. A major force driving the disconnect between goals and results is reported to be a succession of autocratic prime ministers extending the power of the Prime Minister's Office. Loat and MacMillan explore what can be done to halt the widening divide between Canadians and their government. It reflects well on the authors that confronted with the Augean stables of their nation's government they offer constructive criticism rather than falling victim to the paroxysm of despair this work may inspire in readers; their optimism inspires even if it fails to convince. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 04/15/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-307-36130-1
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