The worst part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s book about hockey?

… the cozy-sweater book tour, as Scott Feschuk explains

by Scott Feschuk

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

So it turns out Stephen Harper really did write a book about hockey, and it really is going to be published. Although, given the PM’s pattern of behaviour, don’t be surprised if you get to Chapter 6 to discover the second half of the book has been prorogued.

You probably have questions about the Prime Minister’s book. I possibly have answers.

What’s it about? According to the publisher, A Great Game—due out in November—draws on “extensive archival records and illustrations, histories of the sport and newspaper files” to chronicle hockey’s early years, with a focus on “the hard-boiled businessmen who built the game.” (Alas, it appears credit for hockey’s growth will yet again elude the era’s over-easy businessmen.)

Word has it the book offers “a historian’s perspective and [a] fan’s passion.” It’s true Stephen Harper has passion to burn when it comes to hockey. You need a lot of internal fire to maintain the illusion that all seven Canadian teams are your favourite team.

Isn’t it weird for a leader to be publishing a book in office? Few would begrudge Harper his hobbies: writing, playing music, systematically draining the will to live from an endless procession of communications directors. But it’s legit to ask how he found the time, given all that business about our shores and so forth. SO MANY TROUBLES LAPPING! It makes for a bit of a mixed message, doesn’t it? Yes, yes, I’ll fix the economy—but first, I must tend to this anecdote about Newsy Lalonde!

At minimum, the book’s release opens us to some serious ribbing down at the UN. Governing Canada—now almost a full-time job.

Just how anticipated is this book? It’s been described in news stories as “much-awaited,” “long-awaited” and “hotly anticipated.” That’s right—HOTLY ANTICIPATED. First, there were wizards. Then vampires. And now, the tweens are bonkers for obscure, mustachioed hockey players from nineteen-aught-nine.

It’s probably more accurate to say that people are “awaiting” the book in the same way they “await” things like Coldplay albums or the bus—with an indifference tinged by faint curiosity. Or perhaps I’m naive and throngs will flock to Chapters at midnight, dressed as their favourite characters. (Dibs on Skein Ronan of the Renfrew Creamery Kings!)

What’s going to be the worst part of this? Definitely the book tour. This is a PM who pathologically avoids questions about, you know, governing and stuff. But prepare yourself for endless clips of him in a cozy sweater, droning on about life before the blue line. And, like all authors, he’ll shoehorn book promo into every opportunity. Check out this excerpt from future Hansard:

Mr. Harper: What is it that makes Canada great? Some say it’s our geography. Others say it’s the people. Many insist it’s the fact that my new book, A Great Game, published by Simon & Schuster, is available on Amazon for the remarkably low price of $21.37.

Some Hon. Members: Spend just $3.63 more for free Super-saver Shipping!

Any upside to this? We may finally get closure on a question that has long haunted our nation: Can our PM skate? The book’s publicity material cites Harper’s on-ice “career” with the Leaside Lions. But the PM has avoided strapping on the blades with a camera in the vicinity. I say: Come clean with the Canadian people! Or are you afraid the ensuing video would prompt a Liberal attack ad: Stephen Harper, ANKLE BURNER.

What’s with the J.? On the book’s cover, the author is listed as “Stephen J. Harper.” You may think that’s a little pretentious—but you’re wrong. It’s a lot pretentious. Do we have to call him that now? Ladies and gentleman, presenting the Prime Minister of Canada, and our dear guest here at Downton Abbey, Mr. Sir Stephen J. Harper, Earl of Leaside and King of Kensington. [Cue trumpet fanfare and 21-monocle salute.]

Now that he’s insisting on the middle initial, can we assume the PM will be adopting other affectations of the literary author? The ascot? The pipe? The drunken fistfights with Margaret Atwood?

Who is going to buy this book? To be fair, many Canadians will wake on Christmas morning to find A Great Game under the tree. I bet two of them will be Harper’s children.

Ben: Oh, gee, uh . . . thanks, Dad.

PM: That’s Stephen J. Dad, to you.

Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk




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The worst part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s book about hockey?

  1. “…systematically draining the will to live from an endless procession of communications directors”

    lol

  2. I am reminded that Pierre Berton suggested a book makes an excellent surface to roll a joint on.

  3. I believe the foreword will be co-penned by Grapes and Ezra Levant.

    • Say, if you’re the great Gaye Stewart who was the last member of the Toronto Maple Leafs to lead the NHL in goals with 37 in 1946, you should write that forward from beyond the grave. It would be a great forward by a late, great forward, so to speak (or is that too forward).

      I’m no fan of Stephen J. Harper, auteur or politician, but even I would buy the book just to read that.

  4. How is he going to convince us that hockey was invented in Alberta? I’m interested to find out, or at least to read spoilers from some sucker who actually reads the book.

    • ‘Twas difficult because the ice kept melting from that huge firewall: but Alberta did it!”

  5. Very funny! Well done.

  6. Typical bully move from Harper.
    He convinces Feschuk to write a favourable review of his yet to be released book while poor Michael Ignatieff is in the middle of his exhausting (for his listeners) book tour promoting the manual for losers.
    For the love of God leave Michael alone.

  7. New rules , down a few points , prorogue the last period ? There is a companion novel in the works , Don Cherry on Fashion .

  8. Stephen J. Harper, the J is for Joke

    • Maybe he’s a fan of this late author: http://www.cannell.com/
      After all, Harper thinks his party is the A Team…

    • Neither you or the 39 trolls giving you votes have the ability to write a note to the teacher.

  9. Back in the golden era of MacLean’s blogs, you used to do mailbags and photo captions and delightful Q&A, and once, I won an Amazon gift certificate from one of your contests.

    AND I’M HERE TO TELL YA: THERE’S NO $3.63 CHARGED ON FREE SHIPPING, FESCHUK!

    • No, no. You have to spend $25 to GET the free shipping.

      • Oh, I see. It involved math. But but but math is hard!

        and would it KILL you to do some mailbaggery? Don’t you care anymore?

  10. Typical lazy journalist – going after an easy target to appeal to the loony left.
    Nice to see a PM write a book of more popular appeal than the usual dustry tomes coming from politicians and journalists.
    Can’t wait for yours Scott – I’m sure it will galvanize Canadians.
    I’d suggest you label it ‘The lack of ethics and honesty in the media’ -
    A study on why only 24% of the population believe we posess these qualities.

    • Do you find that when you’re talking to people at parties, they always seem to have to leave and go to the bathroom?

      • I’m guessing they don’t even bother with an excuse

      • You’re assuming he gets invited to parties?

    • have you read sun news lately ? this is investigative journalism compared to sun.

    • @Scott F & Root Canal:
      OHHH burn! Big time comebacks LOL!

    • Anytime you dismiss people as “the looney left” you lose two things, your credibility and your audience.

    • Yeah Scott, what are you waiting for? I can really use a zinc coating, especially just in time for winter!

    • I willing to bet scott can at least flash the blades. anyone who can skate, has the right to criticize harper. harper has left himself open for ridicule. and scott does raise a point, how did harper find time to write a book while running a country in the ground ?

      • Prorogue here, prorogue there. Plus lots of time out of the country, to think and talk to the ghost writer.

    • Go to the top left of your Internet browser, Watachie.
      You accidentally stumbled on the Maclean’s website while you were reading stuff on the Sun News website.
      So just back-click and go to where your beliefs will be reinforced.
      (and try not to think toooo hard!)
      Cheers.

      • Couldn`t agree more.
        Who does Watchie think he is? He`s at MacLeans now. We don`t tolerate anything but the progressive liberal view. We are all super intelligent here and if someone disagrees with us, well we tell him to go back to those Neanderthals at Sun News that elected that awful Harper government.
        We love Scott here. We like giving those witty biting barbs to Harper. It makes us feel good. It`s been a few sad years for many of us.
        So bugger-off Watchie and leave us alone.

    • Why don’t you pick a hard target and go share your thoughts on a Del Mastro piece before the script arrives.

  11. Stephan J. Harper found the time to write books by proroguing parliament. It frees up his time and helps him avoid answering embarrassing questions about his many scandals, his complete lack of concern for our environment and the complete lack of respect that he has shown for the UN, our parliamentary democracy and our 1st Nations people.

    • Harper is far from alone with having a complete lack of respect for the flimflam artists whom run many of our first nations. And as far as lacking respect for the Clique of scumbag murdering dictators that control the UN, All I can add is go Harper, go after these despicable excuses for humanity!!

  12. Aside from the mailbag, I want to know where the football predictions are this year!!

    • You know the expression “back by popular demand?” We were like that, except the opposite.

      • I’d like to know who was complaining….it was some of your best stuff lol

  13. Think of it , a icy morning on the Rideau canal , a fuzzy blue sweater day , Li’l steve and the secret service gliding along or a bit of stick-handling with Justin , Don Cherry rules . That would break the ice with voters or NOT.

  14. Harper didnt write this book. It was ghostwritten for him, he just approved it. It is a ploy to make him look like an average Joe hockey fan. Although the beer guzzling jersey wearing real average Joe hockey fans dont muse about historical archival material. They’re too busy saying things like, “Ottawa Sens Rulez!”

  15. Dresses like a Cowboy, can’t ride a horse. Writes a book on Hockey, can’t skate. Says he’s an Economist…

  16. Love that pic of Stephen J in his jammies.

    Opening chapter of THE BOOK:
    Dedication: To all those who ever dreamed of playing the most exciting game in the world. But, like me couldn’t, because they have asthma.

    Wayne Gretzky was a pretty good hockey player, but luckily he did not suffer from asthma like i does, er do.
    Bobby Hull had a pretty good shot but mine would have been harder, but for my asthma.
    Gordie Howe was pretty good with the elbows but i could have been meaner, but for my asthma.
    Mark Messiah was a pretty good leader but i could have been a better one, but for my asthma.
    Bobby Orr could skate like the wind but…[this could go on a while, i strongly recommend you skip to the end now]

    Frequently referenced through out :

    Justin Trudeau has no idea what this job is like, or how tough it is to manage the country, write a book about hockey, avoid Baird, humour Tony and put up with that little pric* Poillivere every freaking day. He is in over his head, and he doesn’t even have asthma either.

    Justin Trudeau has nice hair but mine was better before i had asthma.

    Justin Trudeau may become PM but he will never write a hockey book as remotely exciting as this would have been if i did not have asthma.

    Lone reference to a goal tender: Ken Dryden, that over rated, well known liberal sieve.

    Last sentence: But for my asthma someone would be writing this book about me.

    • Oh crap – expect incoming! :-)

      • Are Rick and Franny still up then? I couldn’t help it, i was bored.

        • No but the nurse is likely still lurking and will tell you all about asthma and why Justin Trudeau is baaaad.

  17. Book Advance Money: A bribe by another name

    Billionaire-owned MSM give large,
    undeserved “book advance” money to useful idiot puppets (Politicians for
    example, or neocon echo chambers) which are disguised bribes to reward the useful
    idiot for helping keep the elite in power.

    snip snip: …consider the unsettling tale of how former
    Senate minority leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, seemed to lose interest in
    challenging media consolidation—an issue on which he had been a good player

    —after Murdoch’s publishing house
    offered Lott a $250,000 book deal for the senator’s forgettable memoir, Herding
    Cats.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/162083/rupert-murdoch-has-gamed-american-politics-every-bit-thoroughly-britains

  18. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on this tome being offered up for a buck in the clearance bins of finer book stores everywhere by Christmas,

  19. Could we wait for the book before we pan the author?

    • Nope.

  20. Good for Stephen J. Life is too short for cynicism and sarcasm-like I always said to folks who lamented the easy life and earnings ofschool teachers; “and…you didn’t become a teacher, because..????”

  21. How come it’s not okay for Trudeau to earn speaking fees while being an MP, but it’s okay for Harper to write a book and gain whatever benefits he derives from same while serving as PM? Has he been writing all those days he missed in the House of Commons?

  22. Toilet paper has more value than anything containing Harper’s scrawl.

  23. If Hazel, at 80-something, could strap them on with Rick Mercer …

  24. King of Kensington…That’s a good one…….
    Buy the book, for God’s sake…..The man will need the money after the next General Election…..

  25. So his book come out in November.
    But so does, The Beatles on BBC 2, CD set.
    I will buy that instead.

  26. Is Harper magazine still published?

  27. Rudimentary sarcasm in lieu of real wit or insight. Apparently McLean’s will employ just about any hack these days.

  28. Looky a bunch of Harper Haters whose only connection with ice is the cubes they throw in their mixed drinks when they are getting juiced all day when they should be working

  29. If junior had the ambition of a book under his name, he’d have it ghost written and would flog it at private for fee dinner parties……..oh, and it would be an autobiography on his great accomplishments as a part time drama teacher.

  30. Wow! That’s a really good piece of objective journalism….and in case you didn’t know; that was sarcasm!

  31. the worst part? isn’t it obvious? it was written buy the vile dictator Adolf Harper. only thing to do with this garbage is burn it

  32. I wonder if he will talk about his drop the soap experiences with John Baird in the shower after their midnight one on one pick up games????

  33. Leave it to Harper to focus on “the hard-boiled businessmen who built the game” in his book about hockey. True to form, Harper will doubtless downplay the roles of the players, those who actually played the game and captured the imaginations of the public, and give short shrift to how they were underpaid and mistreated by said hard-boileds.

  34. Do you HONESTLY believe he wrote this book himself? I have never seen anybody looking so bored as in the photos of Stephen Harper at hockey games.

  35. Harper should be convicted for fraud for the Duffy scandal; all for elements of fraud are present in his actions: (a) Intent (he intentionally lied and knew of the Duffy situation); (b) misrepresentation (told the Canadian People he was unaware of the Duffy deal); (c) unlawfulness (lying after taking the Oath of Prime Minister); (d) prejudice (prejudiced the Canadian People) and the proceeds (if any) from his ridiculous book will be recouped as restitution by the People of Canada, or has Harper forgotten who he works for?

  36. Scott, brilliant column. And the posters……very funny comments.

    Fave lines….
    -How is he going to convince us that hockey was invented in Alberta?
    -Do you find that when you’re talking to people at parties, they always seem to have to leave and go to the bathroom? Response to watachie
    -Stephan J. Harper found the time to write books by proroguing parliament. It frees up his time and helps him avoid answering embarrassing questions about his many scandals, his complete lack of concern for our environment and the complete lack of respect that he has shown for the UN, our parliamentary democracy and our 1st Nations people.
    -Dresses like a Cowboy, can’t ride a horse. Writes a book on Hockey, can’t skate. Says he’s an Economist……
    -Dedication: To all those who ever dreamed of playing the most exciting game in the world. But, like me couldn’t, because they have asthma. (reference to why he never smoked pot)
    -Gordie Howe was pretty good with the elbows but i could have been meaner, but for my asthma.
    -Justin Trudeau has no idea what this job is like, or how tough it is to manage the country, write a book about hockey, avoid Baird, humour Tony and put up with that little pric* Poillivere every freaking day. He is in over his head, and he doesn’t even have asthma either.
    Justin Trudeau has nice hair but mine was better before i had asthma.

    Justin Trudeau may become PM but he will never write a hockey book as remotely exciting as this would have been if i did not have asthma.
    Thanks for making my day. (the asthma references do not make fun of asthma sufferers.
    PS Does Steven J even realize that he is out of touch with most Canadians ?

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