The essence of democracy is the peaceful and legitimate transfer of government. In 1995 in Ontario, the omens for a successful transition weren’t promising. Almost no one had expected Mike Harris’s Common Sense Revolution to catapult his Progressive Conservatives from third-party obscurity to victory in the June election. The Harris manifesto declared its intention to dismantle almost every policy of the defeated NDP administration of Bob Rae. Weeks of confrontation and confusion seemed inevitable. Yet, as Cameron and White compellingly describe, the transition was a surprising success, involving necessary co-operation between political mortal enemies. Cycling into Saigon has important lessons for everyone involved or interested in this key stage of the electoral process, wherever it takes place.
David R. Cameron and Graham White are professors in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
[This book] makes an important contribution to the sparse literature on transitions in Canada and in parliamentary regimes generally … A concluding section neatly sums up the authors’ advice on transition planning. It is so wise and plainly stated that their book will almost certainly become essential reading for future transition teams in Canada, and it merits attention in other parliamentary democracies as well.
In this fascinating work, the authors examine how the transition of government in Ontario in 1995 was a surprising success involving, as it did, the necessity of co-operation between political mortal enemies. Cycling into Saigon has important lessons for everyone involved or interested in this key stage of the electoral process, wherever it takes place.