Mel Hurtig's new book a must read

Mel Hurtig  The Arrogant Autocrat

Council of Canadians founder Mel Hurtig has written a new book titled The Arrogant Autocrat: Stephen Harper’s Takeover of Canada.

Hurtig says, "The most critical message I wish to convey to readers of this book is that we must defeat Stephen Harper and the Conservatives at the polls [on October 19th], and then begin work immediately to reform the dysfunctional electoral system that allowed him to wreak such havoc in nine short years."

The Tyee notes, "[The book] was several years in the making, backed at first by a five-figure advance from a Canadian publisher. But when that firm was bought by a U.S. publisher [Hurtig did not want his book published by an American conglomerate]. ...Hurtig says he went to one Canadian publisher who turned it down because he was 'frightened by what Harper would do to his company'. Another 'wanted me to be less unkind to Justin Trudeau. I said, 'Are you kidding?'" So Hurtig, who once owned book stores and a publishing company, self-published the book. Within two months the book had sold more than 25,000 copies.

The Globe and Mail reports, "Mr. Hurtig storms in right off the cover, keyboard firing at anything that moves: the muzzling of scientists, the knee-capping of institutions, the gutting of Parliament, the denial of climate change, the neglect of the poverty-stricken – even taking on, with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data filling his smoking chambers, the Harper government’s longstanding claim that it has managed the economy well. ...[He also tackles] the muzzling of cabinet ministers, let alone backbenchers, the tactics brought to committee work and sneaky omnibus bills, have reduced Parliament to what he calls 'a largely ceremonial body'."

Toronto Star columnist Bob Hepburn comments, "The book takes direct aim at Harper’s actions since becoming prime minister in 2006 that are systematically and deliberately in Hurtig’s view destroying our democratic institutions and values. ...Using extensive research and public statistics, Hurtig presents a powerful argument showing that Harper has indeed weakened Canadian democratic institutions and traditions. ...Most of the information has been published elsewhere over the years. What Hurtig has done, though, is package it all in a short, 140-page book that is easy to read and understand. ...It’s a much-needed wake-up call that all Canadians need to heed."

And the Vancouver Sun's Stephen Hume says the book "is lively, provocative, trenchant and timely." He adds, "The Arrogant Autocrat isn’t a partisan manifesto for New Democrats, Liberals, Greens or any of the political parties opposing the Conservatives in the coming election. It does provide a succinct series of compelling arguments about why voters should remove Harper from office."

To get your copy of The Arrogant Autocrat, please visit your local independent bookstore. You can also purchase the book at Chapters and Amazon.ca.

Hurtig has written seven other books including The Betrayal of CanadaThe Vanishing CountryRushing to Armageddon and The Truth About Canada. He has also received honourary degrees from six universities, the University of Alberta has an annual lecture named in his honour, and he was awarded the Order of Canada for his "spirited defence of Canadian interests and national unity [that] have won him as much recognition as his achievements as an author and publisher."

Photo: Mel Hurtig and his new book.