Savoie’s new book

Donald Savoie has a new book out called:

Court Government and the Collapse of Accountability in Canada and the United Kingdom. I just heard a discussion of the book based on this story in the Toronto Star.

He argues that Canada has evolved into a court-style government, where the prime minister sits as “king” and has a “court” of select senior ministers, mandarins and lobbyists that rule the nation. Savoie says Parliament has been reduced to a bit player and cabinet ministers are now mere pawns.

You remember that he started this line of thinking back in the Cretien days and it seems, according to Savoie, Harper has elevated the centralization of power to a new art form.

It’s all kind of creepy, really. I also heard a BBC documentary postulating that the reason China was so successful was that its government was not constrained by democracy. So are we moving towards a new wave of authoritarian regimes (democratic or not)? Hugo Chavez would fit the bill.

I am currently reading Fareed Zakaria’s current screed on globalization and I have Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City in the on deck circle. I might wait until Savoie’s book comes out in paperback but I suspect it will be a worthwhile read.

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0 Responses to Savoie’s new book

  1. Anonymous says:

    In the past, this would scare me off but I am beginning to think it may be better than a sea of task forces and studies.

  2. nbt says:

    A little contradictory since Savoie argued in his past book that cabinet did matter (on the basis on regionality).

    Which is why he believed that the Chretien government gave little time to the Atlantic caucus (and their regional concerns) and focused much more with his Ontario caucus (where major cabinet post were held), especially when it came to major regional development projects (through Industry Canada, or more specifically, the TPC).

    I think the same mentality within cabinet exists with Harper’s government when it comes to moving government units away from the capital region (something senior cabinet minister and Ottawa MP John Baird has argued against and Savoie for). So it is clear, cabinet influence does matter.

  3. nbt says:

    Oh btw, I see someone’s halfway through that screed. 😉

  4. David Campbell says:


    Zakaria’s book is a lot more nuanced than that. From what I have read so far, he is a rapid supporter of spreading American style capitalism around the world. He thinks America is a victim of its success in this spreading. Maybe Barack Obama might learn something from this book.

  5. mikel says:

    Speaking of ‘theory and practise’, Canada has ALWAYS been an authoritarian structure-what do you think ‘constitutional monarchy’ MEANS? Come on, no wonder nobody under 30 reads the blog, you think Chavez is authoritarian compared to Canada? Good lord man, Chavez is the OPPOSITE of Canada, they just had a 64 piece referendum and the guy was literally saved from a bullet by a popular uprising. They have the democracy that canadians can only DREAM about. The guy has a popularity rating higher than any western politician except Danny Williams. Hell, if somebody kidnapped Stephen Harper I’d be CHEERING.

    Savoie is a little late in that game, those kinds of comments have been coming out at least since the eighties but became prominent as far back as the late sixties when Trudeau took public bookkeeping out of parliamentary scrutiny.

    Harper is ‘worse’ than Chretien but only in a very specific way. Chretien had a legal mandate to do whatever the hell he wanted-its called a majority government. Chretien had public protestors arrested BEFORE they even showed up at protests. It was largely the brutal federal clampdown on protestors that has led to the decline in the popularity of protesting.

    However, to point out an inconsistency above, a government can be ‘regional’ and look after ‘ontario and quebec votes’ without being more parliamentarily representative. All you have to do is pad the bottom line of those constituencies, it certainly doesn’t necessarily mean giving more attention to parliament. Savoie is certainly right, but its sort of like saying ‘hey, there may be corruption in government!’ No kidding?!

  6. nbt says:

    He thinks America is a victim of its success in this spreading.

    By declaring that this is the post-American age and not denouncing those that are shaping that evil, non-democratic era means that he is still trying to debate that [somehow] America is to blame for the Islamofascist spread of hate and fear globally (which hit their shores on 911 and led to a decline in homeland security and safety, or at least the longstanding feeling of safety and peace).

    It’s almost as wacked out of an explanation as Sharon Stone casting off thousands of deaths in China as karma for the way they treated Tibet. Wake up!