losing confidence by elizabeth may

power, politics, and the crisis in canadian democracy

“We Canadians think that Canada is a modern, well-informed democracy. We look down our noses at the dumbed-down content of Fox News and CNN, without noticing that we are rapidly heading in the same direction.” (123)

“no, this is fiction. the dinosaurs would wreck the city and eat everyone in it.”

“the seal didn’t see the real world, and he preferred to stay in the cage.”

i put this book on hold after i learned that it’s out of print at the event that headlined both elizabeth may and yann martel called what is stephen harper reading?, after the four-year project that the latter has embarked on because he does care not only what our leader is reading, but that he reads at all. i had a discussion recently with a pal who works in government, and we talked about how the whole rob ford fiasco just has the opposite effect on “democracy”. we discussed being party voters and candidate voters, and the politics of voting or getting off the pot. i think we can get high and mighty as canadians and look down our noses at the corruption of other places, but if the recent past has taught us nothing else, it’s that we are not above reproach. the planned public unveiling of the green party being shut out of the debate on the mike duffy show is just one example.

“Expressions of abuse, whether through obscene gestures or casual expletives, have become common. Nevertheless, one might wish that the seat of our government would operate in ways that raise the bar, rather than plumb the depths.” (64)

“There is something ironic about a situation where political parties have such power in a democracy. Yet 85% of the voters are not willing to join any party.” (230)

the other quotes come from a student that i was working with at this time-one that i’m happy to see through a lot of development. one of the things he got really good at was story comprehension. he is actually something of a prophet, and i felt that his insights here were particularly fitting.


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