politics | August 18, 2015

Understanding the PM: John Ibbitson’s Stephen Harper Reviewed & Profiled

Political authority John Ibbitson’s latest book, Stephen Harper: A Biography, has rocketed to the centre of the Canadian political conversation. A high-profile review in The Globe and Mail and an interview with CBC’s The Current shed some light on a book that captures our 22nd Prime Minister in ways no other biography has.

Though one our most influential yet controversial leaders, Harper’s largely been a mysterious figure—often seen as guarded and reserved, even introverted. Speaking with The Current’s Laura Lynch, Ibbitson touched on this shroud of mystery and the impetus for the book:

“We didn’t really know [Harper]; I didn’t know him. I had no idea who he was. And so when I thought about this about three years ago, I thought somebody ought to write a biography of the man. There’s a huge amount of material that’s been written about Stephen Harper. There are a couple of exceptions, but almost all of it has been diatribes, on one side of the argument or the other. No one had ever said, “Who is the guy? What pushes him? What motivates him? What’s he like off stage?” So I set out to write a biography to find out—for my own purposes, if for no one else’s—just who it was I had been covering.”

To Globe reviewer Bob Rae, Ibbitson’s biography gives insight into “the character of Stephen Harper and the party and government he has built over 30 years in politics.” Rae writes of Ibbitson’s juggling of both public and private details:

“Harper emerges from Ibbitson’s pages as a shrewd disciplined politician who values his privacy and is prepared to go to great lengths to hang on to power. He dislikes the Charter of Rights, the Supreme Court of Canada, the media, opposition leaders and their parties, and people who don’t share his approach and philosophy. He needs to be in control and in charge, and has difficulty accepting authority. He shares jokes with his friends, enjoys Seinfeld and old episodes of The Twilight Zone, has a happy private life and plays the piano.”

As a political analyst and commentator, Ibbitson’s career is unparalleled. He’s writer-at-large for The Globe and Mail and author of much-lauded books like The Big Shift, The Polite Revolution, and Loyal No More. He’s served as Ottawa political affairs correspondent, bureau chief for Washington and Ottawa, and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Now, with Stephen Harper: A Biography, his unmatched insight into Ottawa—and the controversial man who leads it—will prove invaluable to our national discussion. As the 2015 federal election rolls on, and as Harper finds himself embroiled in the Senate expense scandal, Ibbitson’s fine-tuned understanding can help each industry make sense of a messy race—and one that has Harper in the electoral fight of his life.

With an acumen honed from years analyzing and writing on the most important issues of the day, John Ibbitson is one of our most trusted political authorities. To hire John Ibbitson for your event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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