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Alien Invasion: How the Harris Tories Mismanaged Ontario

by Ruth Cohen, ed.

While it can be argued that the half-dozen years of Ontario’s Harris government have produced little of lasting value, the same might be said for critical works on a government whose premier is commonly referred to as Mike the Knife. Activist Ruth Cohen has attempted to piece together an argument that the democratic process has been bulldozed by Ontario’s ruling Tories, but the result falls far short of her intentions.
Reading Alien Invasion is like going through a collection of Cohen’s favourite newspaper clippings. There are some fine pieces of journalism here, but also too many anti-Harris rants and some anti-globalization essays that, while meritorious on their own, seem unconnected to the the book’s thesis. There are no introductions to any of the individual pieces, so many of them sit stuck in time, suffering from a lack of context and update and devoid of the moral urgency their content may have originally demanded.
There are the seeds for some good ideas here, but too many of the best pieces end before they have a chance to develop. One of the most prescient essays, by CAW researcher Bruce Allen, successfully postitions the Harris government within a larger context by arguing that the Tory’s policies are merely an accelerated version of where the other major provincial parties are heading.
It is hard to imagine people who have no opinion on the Ontario Tories being won over by this sampling of anti-Harris journalism. The rage that drips from many of these pages may be justified, but as many activist groups in Ontario are discovering, anger alone does not a substantial movement build.