The Harper Record on trial

2015 24 Feb
5:30pm - 7:30pm
The Harper Record on trial

“You wont recognize Canada when I’m through with it”: The Harper Record on trial

Since Stephen Harper's Conservatives were elected as the majority government in 2011, Canada has gone through dramatic shifts in political power and direction. The prime minister himself once promised, when he was through with Canada, we wouldn't recognize it. In light of an upcoming announcement on the federal budget in April, a looming federal election in the fall, and increasing concerns about our social-economic-political future and the state of democracy under Harper's regime, and Octopus Books are co-hosting an event that will attempt to understand how Harper has changed Canada, and to discuss how we should respond at this critical time for our country.

We will be joined by three prominent reporters and writers:

  • Karl Nerenberg: an award-winning journalist and filmmaker for over 25 years. Karl joined in 2011 as Parliamentary reporter. He has covered news from Parliament Hill since the start of the 41st session of Parliament. You can find Karl's best Hill dispatches in his new book Harper vs. Canada: Five Ways of Looking at the Conservative Regime.

  • Mark Bourrie: a National Magazine Award-winning journalist and a member of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1994. Mark lectures on propaganda and censorship at the Department of National Defence School of Public Affairs; media history and propaganda at Carleton University; and Canadian studies at the University of Ottawa. Mark Bourrie's new book Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know came out at a good timing, was released last month.

  • Maude Barlow: the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates as well as many awards. Maude is currently writing a report on how Harper has broken the traditional relationship built up over decades between federal governments of all political stripes and civil society.

Moderated by Stuart Trew

5:30 PM
Tuesday, February 24 2015
251 Bank Street, 2nd Floor, Ottawa

Refreshments will follow the discussion.

Karl Nerenbert's book Harper vs. Canada: Five Ways of Looking at the Conservative Regime and Mark Bourrie's Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know will be available for purchase and author signing.

About the book

Harper vs. Canada brings together a selection of Karl's work in to shed light on federal politics during Harper's time in majority government -- to map out the ways in which Harper, true to his promise, has effectively changed the fabric of the country. The book looks at the Harper regime from five perspectives: Democracy; Foreign Affairs; Environment; First Nations; and Refugees, Migrant Workers and Immigration. While not a complete rendering of Harper's changes in the last three years (or Karl's work covering them), each of these areas encapsulates central policy directions and changes under the Harper Conservatives.

In Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper's Assault on Your Right to Know, Mark Bourrie exposes how trends have conspired to simultaneously silence the Canadian media and elect an anti-intellectual government determined to conduct business in private. Drawing evidence from multiple cases and examples, Bourrie demonstrates how budget cuts have been used to suppress the collection of facts that embarrass the government’s position or undermine its ideologically based decision-making. Kill the Messengers is not just a collection of evidence bemoaning the current state of the Canadian media, it is a call to arms for informed citizens to become active participants in the democratic process.

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