Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Many Canadians Still Read?


Mark Kennedy reports that one of the pillars of Stephen Harper's 2015 election campaign will be an all out assault on what he and his minions call "media elites." Harper stands everything on its head and creates enemies wherever he can. During his last election campaign, it was those very media elites who overwhelmingly endorsed him.

However, several of his critics have sharpened their pens. And they intend to take on the prime minister. There is, of course, Justin Trudeau's forthcoming autobiography. But, Lawrence Martin writes, there are other books in the pipeline:

There’s one from journalist Michael Harris who, with a twist on Shakespeare, has described Mr. Harper as the “Merchant of Venom.” His book is entitled Party of One. The theme, as described in the book’s promo literature, is that Mr. Harper is “a profoundly anti-democratic figure” who has “made war on every independent source of information in Canada.”

And the theme of shutting down sources of information will be the subject of another book:

This will be followed by an offering from Mark Bourrie, another member of Mr. Harper’s beloved Ottawa Press Gallery. It’s called Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know. Mr. Bourrie provides chapter and verse on how the Harper machine has tried to shut down the free flow of information through intimidation and smear campaigns. He examines the range of anti-democratic measures taken to override the checks and balances in the system. If Mr. Harper wins again, writes Mr. Bourrie, “he’ll have created a new undemocratic way of ruling Canada.”

So the PMO will be busy dealing with journalists who are now armed with evidence -- mountains of it. Expect Harper's Ministry of Truth to deny everything. The tactic has worked before -- all the way back to Chuck Cadman.

The really important question is: How many Canadians still read?


Lorne said...

A very apt question, Owen. I was in a Starbucks yesterday, and while I was reading a book I had gotten from the library, I observed that most people there were either engaged with their smartphones or computers, or not reading at all. I think, as retired English teachers, both you and I understand the value of sustained reading, something that seems to becoming a thing of the past. While I am certainly not a Luddite, for me a computer screen will never replace a paper-sourced text that invites a person's involvement that screens seem, by their nature, to discourage.

Time for reflection and critical thinking seems, in fact, to be discouraged these day, perhaps for some obvious reasons.

Owen Gray said...

Even among those who read, Lorne, the prime motivation seems to be utilitarian. We now read for information -- not for pleasure.

Scotian said...

I am, and always have been, and always will be, a proud bookworm. I read for knowledge, I read for relaxation, I read for pleasure, I read to have gruesome reality shown to me in all its horror. I go nowhere without at least one if not more books, I read whenever I have to wait anywhere, I even read while waiting for lights to change in traffic (so much easier to control road rage that way...LOL). I suspect though given my writing style that I am on the bookish side comes as no great shock, hmmm?

Indeed, later this week I am looking forward (I hope) to starting Welcome To The Broadcast, Don Newman's book, (unless my mom scarfes it off me for the weekend trip she and dad are taking, then it will be at the end of the month, but still a pleasure to look forward to), and while I also use my e-book a lot (great for my Japanese light novels) I will never stop enjoying the feel of paper in hand, the comforting weight in my hand, the ability to take in smell of the ink and paper, and all those other lovely aspects of reading an old fashioned paper book. The amount of shock I get these days when I walk and read (something I started doing before I hit double digits as a kid) saddens me, because when I was younger it was a reaction of how can a person do both at the same time, these days it is as much about just that someone is actually so enamoured with reading they want to do it while walking, a sad commentary on our times for me.

Owen Gray said...

For me, Scotian, reading has always been the doorway to thought -- the kind of thought that leads to insight and creativity.

These days so many people approach life from the perspective of someone writing a multiple choice test.

It's not that easy. There is no one correct answer. And there are many more than four options.

mogs moglio said...

I was doing research for a book and was reading voluminous amounts of material. I uncovered many things that I really did not want to know. For instance the WORLD BANK/IMF/NATO is really a gigantic criminal empire and Herr Harper is part and parcel of it. Need proof?
· Mike Harris, (2006),[29] Premier of Ontario 1995–2002
· Bernard Lord, (2006),[29] Premier of New Brunswick 1999–2006
· Gordon Campbell, (2010),[21] Premier of British Columbia 2001–2011
· Nigel S. Wright, (2012)[30] Chief of Staff, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, 2011–2013
· Alison Redford, (2012),[3] Premier of Alberta 2011-2014
· Frank McKenna, (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013)[31] Premier of New Brunswick 1987-1997
· Brad Wall, (2013[12]) Premier of Saskatchewan 2007–current
Prime Ministers
· Lester B. Pearson, (1968),[32] Prime Minister of Canada (1963–1968)(deceased)
· Pierre Elliott Trudeau, (1968),[29] Prime Minister of Canada, 1968–1979, 1980–1984 (deceased)
· Jean Chrétien, (1996),[33] Prime Minister of Canada, 1993–2003
· Paul Martin, (1996),[33] Prime Minister of Canada, 2003–2006
· Stephen Harper, (2003),[29] Prime Minister of Canada, 2006–current

This is by no means a complete list.

What they have in store for us?

Enjoy the read it is a primer for ordinary folk on what is really going on. We are all sheep being led to slaughter.

Owen Gray said...

Not all of us, Mogs, if we take the time to read -- really read.