Stephen Harper says the world needs more Stephen Harper - 2018-10-13
I was surprised to see Stephen Harper had written a book because I had heard, repeatedly since he lost the 2015 election, that Canada's 22nd Prime Minister had no intention of writing a memoir. The record should speak for itself, he had told close acquaintances and former associates, who passed this intelligence on.
And indeed, Right Here Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption is no traditional memoir. Early on the author describes it as "a manual for conservative statecraft in a populist age." It is, by and large, a 171-page prescription to U.S. Republicans for renovating the Republican Party's policy book to address the forces—economic dislocation, fears about illegal immigration—that gave rise to Donald Trump. It will come in handy, not incidentally, as a calling card for Harper's consulting practice. This is almost all good: its context gives the book an urgency that's usually lacking from ex-politicians' waltzes down memory lane.
But all writing is autobiography, and even a careful student of Harper will learn a lot about the author. Barely out of school, he writes, "I came to be leery of large-scale change by edict and its inevitable, unforeseen consequences. In government, this was reflected in my (usual) incremental approach to policy change—small but constant steps." (Here, the author of a book on Harper-as-incrementalist pauses to high-five himself.)