Because as a historian I don’t get many chances (har har) to read books by paranoid manipulative megalomaniacs, I’ve been on the edge of my seat for months now as Stephen Harper’s long-awaited hockey history book wends its way through the final steps to publication. Apparently, publishers are now bidding on it competitively. Anansi and Douglas & McIntyre, both well-know members of the liberal conspiracy, are not bidding on it. We will soon be sending their executives to Nunavut for re-education.
You’ll forgive my over-the-top sarcasm, of course, but you must admit there’s something vaguely appalling about this whole escapade. This sort of “the leader is the expert at everything” nonsense smacks of a personality cult more than a responsible democracy. The idea that Stephen Harper is really an expert on the early history of professional hockey, has something worth saying about it in a book, and, more importantly, conceived of this idea just after he reformed the Conservative Party and has been diligently working away on it ever since is ridiculous. Prime Ministers do not write carefully researched historical texts.
Sixth Estate will be reviewing the new book, of course, because I am quite certain it will earn fawning praise from every newspaper in the country that has ever published a book review before. But I won’t be buying this book, so it will take some time for me to get around to it. I’m not padding the Dear Leader’s pockets any more than the tax laws legally require me to.
In the meantime:
- How much public money went into the writing of this book?
- How much research, writing, and editing work was paid for out of the public purse through the work of the Prime Minister’s Office, civil servants, and archivists?
- How many people outside government assisted in writing this book?
- What proportion of the labour hours involved in its production were actually Stephen’s?