Book plug (for political junkies)
Brian Topp first told much of the story online over at The Globe and Mail website several months ago, but now his tale is coming out in old-fashioned, book form too. Here's the notice that arrived this afternoon:
A behind-the-scenes account of the NDP-Liberal bid for federal power
More and more of Canadian politics happens offstage these days, in Ottawa’s back rooms. Brian Topp, a senior NDP strategist and negotiator, pulls the curtain aside in this detailed political memoir.
Topp has written the inside story of the negotiations which almost brought down the Harper government in November 2008. His book, How We Almost Gave the Tories the Boot, will be published on February 20, 2010.
Topp participated in many key meetings to get the coalition underway. His narrative is built around the words of the participants, front-line as well as backroom, as they worked to find a deal, and then hold on to it. “My BlackBerry buzzed non-stop for more than 20 minutes as my various pen-pals let me know what they thought about what they had just seen,” Topp says, talking about one key stage in the process of putting together the short-lived coalition deal.
Canadians who aren’t political insiders will get a rare view of the character of many of the key players in Ottawa then and now, including Michael Ignatieff, Stéphane Dion, and Jack Layton. Liberal backroom operators loom large along with senior NDP and Liberal figures like Roy Romanow, Ed Broadbent, Allan Blakeney and Jean Chretien.
Topp gives a candid account in this day-by-day insider’s account of how the coalition was put together – and how it fell apart. Topp is frank about his views on the mistakes he and the other promoters of the coalition made, and the openings they gave the Harper Tories to fend off almost-certain defeat. He also makes a strong case that an open, public approach to coalition-building can offer Canadians a government more in line with their political views.
BRIAN TOPP was born and raised in Montreal. He became active in the NDP in the 1988 federal campaign and first went to Ottawa in 1989. For many years he was a senior staffer for the Saskatchewan NDP government. He managed his party's war room in the 1997 and 2004 federal campaigns and was campaign director in 2006 and 2008. He is the executive director of ACTRA Toronto, the Canadian performers’ union. This is his first book.