I read this in April, and was largely convinced by its message that, contra Clarkson’s now tattered thesis that the Big Red Machine provides Canada’s natural governing party, the Conservatives are now in it for the long haul. The left is divided as the right once was, and Harper has forged a solid condominium from suburban new Canadians and small-town old Canadians that makes Canada east of the “Ottawa River Reality Distortion Field” (Quebec and the Maritimes, living on dole) largely irrelevant. I saw myself in the deft portraits of the fading and increasingly impotent Laurentian consensus. After the insipid reset of today’s speech from the Throne, the Conservatives aren’t looking so invincible, but whether they are replaced or not, the new style of government is probably here to stay: Ministers direct and bureaucrats implement (less of this policy advice, please), and if it blows up, was the policy wrong or was the implementation wrong? Looks like an implementation problem, so hang the bureaucrat, and leave the minister out of it. But I digress to Donald Savoie, Breaking the Bargain, and his new book, Whatever Happened to the Piano Teacher? How Government Decides and Why.
(posted on Amazon with minor edits)
David Last, 16 October 2013