CM January 19, 
1996. Vol. 2, Number 14

image Right Turn:
How the Tories took Ontario.

Christine Blizzard.
Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1995. 200pp, paper, $18.99.
ISBN 1-55002-254-7.

Subject Headings:
Ontario-Politics and government-1990-1995.
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by John Crawford.


Mike Harris's goal was to convince the public that his plan would work, that the math involved in cutting taxes and balancing the budget really did add up.

 This is an account of the 1995 provincial election campaign in Ontario, written by a journalist who followed the campaign closely. Largely drawn from the author's press articles, Right Turn provides a readable account of the ebb and flow of that campaign.

It is a truism that a week is a long time in politics. The 1995 campaign now seems well behind us, and any analysis will rely more on hindsight than insight. Right now, public attention is focussed on how the Tory government in Ontario will reach their goals, even how committed they are to achieving them. Nevertheless, this book has value in its presentation of a successful political campaign in an age of instant communication.

With the increasing use of cellular phones, the Internet, and other recent developments, political campaigns have acquired a new technical aspect that threatens -- and this word is deliberately chosen -- to change dramatically the means by which we elect our political masters.

Certainly the Tory superiority in the use of this technology was a factor in their victory, but the whether that technology can be misused is left open; the temptation to use misleading or deceptive messages to capture the "don't know" voters is likely to grow. The 1995 Ontario campaign suggests that the media allied to modern communications technology are becoming more significant players in politics.

By nature, books like Right Turn often have chapters of compelling interest but fail to link them into a straightforward, overall account. This is the case here. Still, the book has much to recommend it: the illustrations are apt, the writing is well paced, and for such a timely book, the editing and other technical aspects are exemplary.

The subject of Right Turn is clearly of parochial interest, which suggests that it will be most useful in libraries of secondary and post-secondary institutions in Ontario. However, any schools in other provinces with a strong political science program will also find the book interesting.

Recommended with reservations.

John Crawford is a retired teacher/librarian living in Victoria, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to

Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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