cover image Kill The Messengers: Stephen Harper's Assault on Your Right to Know

Kill The Messengers: Stephen Harper's Assault on Your Right to Know

Mark Bourrie. Patrick Crean Editions/HarperCollins Canada, $32.99 (392p) ISBN 978-1-44343-104-0

Stephen Harper does not believe in democracy. So argues author Bourrie (Fighting Words: Canada's Best War Reporting) a historian and journalist who pulls no punches in this assault on the seemingly milk-and-water Canadian prime minister. Bourrie opens his book by associating Harper with past anti-democratic stalwarts such as the guillotine-felled King Charles I of England and the Southern Confederacy, which would have perpetuated slavery, had it not lost the American Civil War. Those are not flattering historical bedfellows, but according to Bourrie, these associations fit because Harper considers politics to be "an insider game, one with no place for the public" or anyone who might question his vision of Canada as a resource-exploiting, big-stick-carrying, Arctic-conquering, free-market worshipping super power. In thirteen searing chapters, Bourrie details the Harper government's politics-as-war crusade to "to kill many messengers" by blocking media inquiries, gagging watchdogs (especially climate scientists), shuttering archives and laboratories, and ramping up conservative propaganda — all in the service of relegating politics to well-connected insiders. How readers feel about Bourrie's book will no doubt hinge on their personal politics, but he certainly makes some valid points in this razor-witted, accessible account that should interest anyone who cares about Canada's future. (Feb.)