So I had fully meant to read and review Strange Fires first, but then I got book mail and everything went sideways (you know how it is). I always love getting these books to review because it’s always a surprise which one I’m going to get – this time it was “Could it Happen Here? Canada in the Age of Trump and Brexit” by Michael Adams. And let me tell you, if there was a title that could catch my attention, it was that one.
So there went my plans for reading Emma and Strange Fires this weekend haha.
I have to say that I’m really really impressed with this book. I’ve a couple books that have tried to pass off Canada as being a country that’s perfect, that doesn’t have racism or sexism or transphobia or etc. And that rhetoric is really dangerous – it spreads the idea that we don’t have anything to improve or work on. And being stagnant in our growth can only lead to a regression of progress. But this book was very frank on the topic – we have perpetrated oppression like those currently raging in the US, and there’s always a chance that it could happen again. As Mr Adams says in his book, “It would be a mistake to assume that we’re somehow morally superior”. And you all know that I’m 100% against Trump, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t see the flaws within my own country.
“Countries that have managed to foster social resilience, reduce inequality and provide collective tax-supported government insurance against ill health or unemployment are more likely to withstand the clarion calls from the Trumps of this world. Canada, as it turns out, is one such nation.”
- Michael Adams
So overall, what Adams concluded was that even though Canada has had it’s times with more authoritarian Prime Ministers (*cough* Harper *cough*) and majority parties, and has sometimes leaned more to the right or left than normal, the country normally rights itself in the middle, with a fairly constant baseline of positivity and tolerance. Of course, there are still bigots out there, and I think one of the most compelling chapters of the book is the one where Adams focuses on Immigration and an Immigrant’s experiences in Canada. He cites sources, surveys, and census’ that were taken to show that even though we are more accepting than many countries, immigrants (especially Muslim immigrants) can feel unsafe, or are employed at a level lower than what their education deserves. So even though we may like to feel morally superior to the United States, the fact is that we still do not value our citizen as much as they should be.
What was interesting was that Adams not only touched on the US, but also Britain, and Europe. What he presented were scary findings on the rise of fascism, and how even though it might not be publicized, there are a lot of neo-fascist groups out there. That’ll make me thoroughly investigate the party that I vote for in the next election. He touched on many more topics, but some of the most interesting were gentrification, voter remorse, and trends in voting preferences that even drew on parenting styles.
“The glass half full side of the story is the fact that most Canadians acknowledge that there is discrimination against various groups”
- Michael Adams
He also mentioned that even though Canada has made a lot of progress in recent years, and Trudeau seems to be moving towards more progressive policies, he’s still going back on some of his promises (ie the voting system reforms – I did not know about this and I was shocked! goes to show how in the loop I am haha). If anything, this book makes me understand that we need to hold our politicians to a higher level of accountability, and make sure that the promises they make to us are fulfilled.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a little outside of my normal tastes, but it was super informative and really easy to understand (this is coming from me, a person who barely knows anything about politics!). I’ve been wanted to expand my reading repertoire a little more and this book was the perfect opportunity!
I would really recommend this book to all Canadian’s out there who have even the slightest involvement in politics. Or even an investment in seeing the right people be in charge of our country. It helped deepen my understanding of things and made me think about how subconsciously there are so many different factors that play into our decision making.
“Anyone who believes Canada’s policy is altruistic or reveals our moral superiority should look again”
- Michael Adams
Anyway’s I’ll be back soon with another review! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend! (but seriously tho, fuk christopher colombus)