Archive for July, 2011

Writer’s Trust-Samara Best Political Books

Christopher Moore’s 1867, How the Fathers Made a Deal is doing well in the Best Political Books of the Last 25 Years competition. It’s on the short list. That’s great. Moore gets my vote.

The competition is being run by the Writers’ Trust of Canada and Samara, an organization dedicated to studies of “citizen engagement with Canadian democracy.”

What’s so special about Moore’s 1867? It’s highly readable and based on impeccable research of original sources. Published in 1997, it was the first book-length treatment of Confederation in forty years.

More important, most important, is that it challenged the then prevailing idea that Canada was made by and for a single party. How often have you heard it said that Canada was made by Tories, that we are in our origins a Tory country, with a supposedly Tory preference for communal politics? It’s still being said; books are still being published on the subject. But friends, it is not true.

1867 shows that the Fathers of Confederation did all that was possible to devise a political constitution that would allow the equal contestation of political parties for office, Tories, Liberals, and Independents alike. The Fathers of Confederation were political men, but they put politics aside when they made this country. They knew that the surest guarantee of political freedom – the surest guarantee of “citizen engagement” – is an unbiased political constitution.

I made the Writer’s Trust-Samara “select list” – a step down from the “short,” with: Janet Ajzenstat, Paul Romney, Ian Gentles, and William D. Gairdner eds., Canada’s Founding Debates. It was nominated by Brigitte Pellerin. (Thanks, Brigitte.) Pellerin also recommended Moore’s 1867.