Thursday, February 05, 2015

Kill the Messengers: The Reviews Are Rolling In!

Reviews of Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper's Assault on Your Right to Know


by Mark Bourrie
 

The book paints Harper as ruthlessly attacking and even silencing journalists, scientists, judges, environmentalists, and intellectuals in a drive to remake Canada, rewrite our history, and keep the Conservatives in power. It is one of the most damning books ever written about a sitting prime minister.
-Paul Gessell, Ottawa Magazine


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.
--Publishers Weekly


People are either going to love this book or hate it. Me, I loved it. Stephen Harper may not like it so much but would do well to heed it.
-Georgie Binks, Toronto Star

 

A sweeping and sobering read.
-Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star

 

Some of the book’s most valuable sections illustrate how the kind of control applied to the media and the public sphere is being applied to policy-making – think the dismantling of the long-gun registry, cancelling the long-form census, or ignoring declining crime rates when crafting new justice legislation. If you are determined to pass certain kinds of laws, then suppressing the flow of information about how effective the laws are will make them more difficult to criticize.
-Chis Hannay, the Globe and Mail

 

Examining a Parliament now micromanaged by party whips, MPs who see no reason to attend the House of Commons to debate bills, and a media seemingly no longer able or willing to report on Parliament Hill in scrupulous detail or with a critical lens, Kill the Messengers paints a portrait of a democracy that's hobbled or, as Bourrie puts it, "on autopilot."
-Thomas Hachard, The Tyee

 

The most important and interesting parts of this book deal with how the prime minister and his staff have been able to manage and manipulate their message, taking advantage of key changes in the way the news media operates. Especially important is that Bourrie, a veteran member of the Parliamentary press gallery, does not refrain from assigning at least some of the blame to the media itself.
-Dan Rowe, Quill and Quire

 
Kill The Messengers is funny and unnerving. Bourrie takes aim… with a sniper’s precision. The result is the gutsiest account of contemporary Canadian politics to come out of the parliamentary press gallery in a generation.
-Holly Doan, Blacklock’s Reporter

Mark Bourrie's thorough examination of how Stephen Harper keeps the Canadian voter from knowing what the hell is going on, how it muzzles government scientists and everyone else in the civil service, should infuriate everyone who has even the slightest regard for democracy, transparency and open government. The book is also an indictment of a lazy media. Harper has gotten away with a lot because the media has allowed it to happen. The book is wonderfully written. Breezy, very funny at times, but ultimately maddening. I hope everyone who plans to vote in the 2015 federal election ion Canada reads it.
-- Linwood Barclay, Goodreads.


Bourrie correctly identifies the most dangerous precedents Harper has set: Trying to appoint an unqualified judge to the Supreme Court; trying to change the law to make his illegal appointment legal; and publicly rebuking the chief justice of the Supreme Court for trying to tell him he was wrong."There's no point having a free press, functioning Parliament, independent parliamentary watchdogs, unfettered scientists and an end to government propaganda campaigns unless we have free elections and courts that have the power to roll back tyranny," Bourrie pleads."If we lose those, it's all over. They won't be coming back."

True Canadian conservatives support Parliament and democratic traditions. Bourrie is so convinced of the undemocratic tendencies of Harper, that he twice uses the label "fascism" to describe his true ideology.Readers will decide for themselves if Bourrie has overreached, or is accurately depicting Canada's emperor/prime minister as having no democratic clothes.

After all, there's always the next election.
Isn't there?
--Donald Benham, Winnipeg Free Press

By the time you have read chapters five through 10, you will be ready for an election. Even those of conservative ideology should be moved by the cost of Harper’s misguided decisions and the fact that his efforts to control the narrative have caused him to break every pledge of accountability on which he originally campaigned.
-Siri Agrell JSource