Michael Harris, Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover
Harcourt Memorial United Church, April 19 2015:
I walked to this event, which took nearly an hour so I was tired when I arrived. As always, I showed up early so I just collapsed at the back of the church, not even in the pews, thinking I would move up when the reading started. I soon saw that this wasn’t going to be an option. When a friend asked me why I didn’t move closer to the people at the front I told her I was waiting for them to come to me at the back, which they did. The church was filled. I estimate around 350 people were there.
That’s a lot of people for a reading, but it was also a kind of political rally, hosted by Fair Vote Canada, which is an organization promoting proportional representation (an idea I support). After Harris’s presentation there were a series of short political speeches by different party representatives. The only major party not attending were the Conservatives, though they were invited.
It was a really successful event for several reasons: it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, there was a strong local organization behind it, and the headliner was an old pro at this kind of thing. He didn’t do a reading from the book but rather skimmed over the highlights in an anecdotal way, which kept things moving at a good pace. I think he spoke for around 45 minutes and the energy never flagged. Of course you can only do this with the right kind of book, but that’s the kind of book Party of One is so Harris ran with it. It also helped that he had an audience sympathetic to his message.
When I left I was offered a tree. I think it was a pine seedling. Nice idea, but I had no place to put it. There are days I really miss the farm.