In this passionate, thought-provoking vision for Canada, Ken Dryden argues that we have paid a price for having the wrong sense of ourselves as a country. The old definition of Canada – genial but sometimes too self-deprecating and ambition-killing – is no longer the real story. Through recent global events such as Barack Obama’s election and first year in office; the climate conference in Copenhagen; and even the 2010 Winter Olympics, Dryden explores the clash between politics and story, and the importance of a nation finding its true narrative in order to thrive.
By tracing the ups and downs in contemporary Canadian politics, from the Liberal leadership race to Stephen Harper’s Conservative minority governments, Michael Ignatieff’s appointment as Opposition leader, and prorogation, Ken Dryden presciently identifies the obstacles facing Canada. He observes a sea change taking place among Canadians, who want something more for their country. The ambition of Canada’s policies and the nature of our politics will not change, Dryden says, until we conceive of a new story for the nation.
Becoming Canada is at once a celebration of Canada and a timely, ardent rallying cry to all Canadians to build upon Canada’s unique place in the world. It is certain to inspire new conversations about our Canada’s identity at home and abroad.
Member of Parliament Ken Dryden was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and re-elected most recently in 2008. Ken is well-known for his achievements as a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team from 1971 to 1979, during which time the team won six Stanley Cups. In 1984, he was appointed Ontario's first Youth Commissioner. He is the author of four best-selling books: The Game, Home Game, The Moved and the Shaken, and In School. Ken and his wife, Lynda, have two grown children and four grandchildren.
"This book, written with clarity and passion, poses a simple and ever radical question: what would happen if political methods were in the service of meaning, and not the other way around? What power of national resolve, what energy of purpose would be released, if only we were to define the meaning of Canada's unique place in the world? We must separate political strategy and history; we must acknowledge that meaningful action is not always tied to the money grid; we need a meaningful narrative in order to contribute meaningful action. This is what Dryden means by the phrase "becoming Canada"; and this wise and ardent book is meant to open the discussion."
— Anne Michaels
“Ken Dryden’s Becoming Canada is a timely, passionate, urgent, and provocative book that dares parliamentarians and citizens to re-imagine our politics and our future as a country. It launches an important debate about what Canada could and should be.”
— Guy Vanderhaeghe
“This book challenged me, provoked me and inspired me to ask new questions about what it means to be Canadian. There seem to be so few filters between Ken Dryden's beating heart and the words in this book. That is a rare and gorgeous thing.”
— Sarah Polley
"Ken Dryden is obsessed with finding the story of Canada, a narrative we can believe in and which - in his words - will make us better. Becoming Canada is a personal and deeply committed work of national storytelling written from an exceptionally valuable point of view. Full of detail, care and passion, this is a book that speaks of who we are, and who we must aspire to become."
— Atom Egoyan
"Ken Dryden and I don't agree on how new Canadians need to fit in. But we do agree on how great a country this is and how we need to know that about ourselves. And what he writes about politics is fantastic. Read this book."
— Don Cherry
"Some guys, you ask them the time and they build you a watch. In Dryden's head is a big country 'hidden by politics', a country trying, busting to get out from behind tall shadows and the time is required. For the young and the old, this is the kinda book we've been waiting for. And, really, isn't it time? For a guy who will lay it all out there? Simply, like a teacher? How it is, how it could be, open, brave free, that we're more than 'this politics', that friendship changes your life?"
— Gord Downie
"I wear no political stripes as a liberal, conservative or as anything else. I am though a Canadian and a citizen, and this is the best, most prescient contemporary read available on the state of our national politics and the national and global issues we face. For Dryden, citizenship is not a spectator sport. With passionate, simple penetrating prose, Dryden challenges our complacency as Canadians to "be more than this," to remake our story as Canadians, to face the challenges of our age with "our best selves," and to "do". Hitting equally hard at liberals and conservatives, Dryden's book is not always an agreeable read, but it is a 'must read' for anyone - young and old - who calls him or herself Canadian."
— James Orbinski MD, Professor of Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital and Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto