An 'All things Canadian....' first 
Here's my first book review:

The Little Book of Canadian Political Wisdom
by Rick Broadhead & Andy Donato
$21.95 hardcover

Rick found my site from PolSpy and e-mailed me to offer a review copy of the book. I was flattered and gladly accepted.

The book is described by Bruce Cheadle of CP as "100 quotations illustrating some of the best, but mostly the worst, of Canadian political rhetoric." I found it to be fairly evenly split between wit and twit - and all quite good. Diefenbaker said in 1971 that "The quality of debate in the House is deplorable. You watch today and count how many read from prepared texts." Well, some of these quips would have earned the Chief's respect and others, well - they make you wonder how this country keeps going. Each quote is given an award by Broadhead - can you guess what won the 'Most Embarrassing Historical Goof by a Federal Politician'?

There are the quotes you would expect to be there including Kim Campbell's infamous quote on election time policy, and Stockwell Day's geographical gaffe. What brings those expected pages to life though are the cartoons of AndyDonato. The cartoonist for the Toronto Sun provides an illustration for pretty much everyone of Rick's awards - and most times the satirical cartoon fits the timeline and context of the quote perfectly.

Some of the quotes were the laugh out loud type where I quickly wanted to show it to someone and others were ones that I hadn't heard before and actually a little illuminating...

Best Excuse for Blaming the Americans
"If you're a mayor and you have a problem, what do you do? You blame the provincial government. And when you're the provincial government and you have a problem, what do you do? You blame the federal government. And for us, we cannot blame the Queen any more, so we blame the Americans once in a while"
Prime Minister Jean Chretien in an interview with Peter Gzowski on CBC Radio, March 1, 1995

Most Embarrassing Open-Mike Gaffe by a Prime Minister
"I like to stand up to the Americans. It's popular...people like it, but you have to be very careful because they're our friends."
Prime Minister Jean Chretien at a NATO summit on July 9, 1997, during what he thought was a private conversation with the Belgian Prime Minister

And another one shows a time when the Liberals had a better method of dealing with our neighbour...

Best Attempt to Break the Ice during a Heated Dispute with the Americans
"Gentleman, we all must realize that neither side has any monopoly on sons of bitches."
Liberal Cabinet Minister C.D. Howe representing Canada at a Washington DC meeting to resolve a shipping dispute.

Of course, the book contains quotes that are either clever or brutal from all sides of the policitical spectrum and some from provincial and municipal politicians (hello Mr. Lastman) are included.

At a price that'll come close to $25 after taxes, I thought it might seem a little too expensive for it's volume but but it's one of those books that will get a lot of use whether it is kept in the bathroom (is that a good point in a review?) or to lent to friends going on a trip so that they can marvel at the memories and the ridiculousness of some of our past politicians.

So, in the end, in the All things Canadian.... rating system, The Little Book of Canadian Political Wisdom gets four stars out of five which is the best rating I've ever given!

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