cover image The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006%E2%80%93

The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006%E2%80%93

Paul Wells. Random House Canada (Random House, North American dist.), $32 (436p) ISBN 978-0-307-36132-5

Noted author and journalist Wells takes an incisive look at the ongoing career of three-time Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Determinedly conservative, Harper stepped into 24 Sussex following the self-inflicted implosion of the Liberal Party in the mid-aughts. Since then Harper has inexorably tightened his often authoritarian grasp on Canada, building his support from election to election while reshaping political consensus in the country. Wells makes a convincing case that although Harper was greatly aided by the Liberals' incompetence%E2%80%94first replacing the hapless Paul Martin with the bumbling Stephan Dion, then turning to the catastrophically inept Michael Ignatieff to lead the Liberals to calamitous defeat%E2%80%94that is not enough to explain Harper's slow but steady progress. His support is nation-wide and enough, as long as his opposition is split, to win a majority of seats, and he has been skilled enough to survive scandals and crises. Wells paints a portrait of a man who while not necessarily understood by those who watch, often aghast, as he works steadfastly to push Canada away from social democracy, demonstrates a keen understanding of the nation he now commands, a domineering figure whose legacy may prove as enduring as Mackenzie King's or Trudeau's. Agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Oct.)