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Open and Shut

by John Ibbitson

Last November America elected its first black president. Canada, too, went to the polls that month. The difference for the two nations was remarkable: Americans had a clear choice between an indecisive, has-been who represented at best more of the same and a progressive, eloquent, African American, the first ever black presidential candidate. As Ibbitson remarks, "What were Canadians being offered? An overweight economist who couldn't offer an honest smile to save his life, and a backpacking political scientist whose English made your ears bleed. Who elected these guys? Practically no one."Ibbitson argues that the result of the US election was electric, energizing, and represents a profound changes in American politics. Barack Obama may well be just the man to rescue the republic from its many serious woes. The result of the Canadian election was, he says, as flaccid as the campaign itself: another Conservative minority government that shortly afterward tripped over its own hubris, causing a major political tempest in the Ottawa teapot. The elections and their aftermaths tell us two crucial things: One, America is still capable of slamming on the brakes and putting itself back on the right track. Two, in Canada, something has gone so seriously wrong with our leadership it's time to sound the alarm. Which is just what he does in this timely, perceptive, persuasive book.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Polite Revolution

by John Ibbitson

From one of this country's best and most controversial political writers, a searing blueprint for the Next Canada.Five years into the twenty-first century, Canada is viewed as one of the most desirable nations in the world in which to live. Despite the worries of many Canadians -- our country's regional and linguistic divisions, our frequent identity crises -- Canada, it seems, has a lot of good things going for it.The federal election of 2004, however, revealed new cracks in an already flawed political system. John Ibbitson argues that we have entered a new political era, that Canada has become a nation of solitudes -- the West, the English Centre, the French Centre, the East -- each of which has its own cultural and economic concerns, none of which are being sufficiently recognized by the major political parties. If we cling stubbornly to old methods of governance, he says, we risk losing all that the Confederation has achieved in its first 138 years.In this compelling, and ultimately hopeful book, John Ibbitson dismantles the old ways of thinking about Canada's immigration, free trade, social, and defence policies. His ideas for the future of this country are daring -- a devolution of power and dollars from the federal to the provincial level, a revamping of medicare, a refashioning of the electoral system. They amount to no less than a revolutionary plan for the creation and defence of a new national dream.From the Hardcover edition.

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