Stephen Harper has made a significant contribution to the development of conservative policy and politics in Canada, yet remains an unpopular figure with the majority of Canadians. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada aims to enlighten readers about Harper the man – who he is, what he believes, and where he would lead Canada.
Harper began his political career in the Progressive Conservative party, participated in the Reform Party’s start-up, and was the new party’s first policy officer. Later he assumed leadership of the Canadian Alliance Party and merged it with the Conservative Party of Canada. Harper espouses the more conservative political ideals of Western Canada, making him largely unpopular in Quebec and eastern Canada.
Harper, now 45, grew up in two conservative middle class suburbs of Toronto. He moved to Calgary to work for Imperial Oil, later earning a BA and an MA in economics from the University of Calgary. Harper’s role models are Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. He comes from a family of fiscal conservatives, stretching back to the ancestor who emigrated from England to escape high taxes.
The Globe and Mail describes him as “charisma challenged.” Harper exudes his secure middle class upbringing, sure of the rightness of his ideas, with little room for self-doubt. Also described as an ultra-cautious person, he is uncompromising, serious, and distrustful of the media, declining all interview requests for this book. While readers may never agree with his policies, the book is most interesting when quoting Harper’s own speeches, policy papers, and essays, all of which showcase the intelligence guiding his ideas.
A columnist for The Globe and Mail and The Gazette in Montreal, Johnson spent a year researching this book. Covering Canadian politics from the 1980s to the present sponsorship scandal, he brings an insider’s touch to the behind-the-scenes machinations and level of detail here. Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada will appeal to the historian and political junkie.