Tragedy in the Commons

Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada's Failing Democracy

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The founders of influential think tank Samara ask former members of Parliament what has gone wrong with our democracy, and how it can be fixed.
     Talk to any Canadian about politics and you'll hear little but frustration and bewilderment. Canadians don't see their politicians working for them; all they see is grandstanding in the House of Commons and MPs pursuing their own agendas. These same MPs make critical choices about how we live together and how our country will function in the future. But even with so much at stake, citizens are increasingly apathetic about traditional politics. How did one of the world's most functional democracies go so wrong?
     In Tragedy in the Commons, Samara founders Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan provide an unprecedented look behind the curtain of Canadian politics. Based on their exit interviews with 80 retired MPs, they share surprising observations about the practice of politics in Canada: the accidental arrival of many in political life; the conflicting demands of the MPs' jobs; and the role of the political party in an MP's life.
     In this timely and controversial book, Loat and MacMillan reveal the challenges facing Canadian democracy today. Using the MPs' own voices, confused and contradictory as they sometimes are, Loat and MacMillan outline concrete steps to improve our politics--from the inside out.


   • "Offer[s] eye-opening insight into a system in deep malaise, with power concentrated in party leaders' offices and individual MPs." The Globe and Mail 

   • "Loat and MacMillan hope that pulling back the curtain will re-engage Canadians enough to keep our House of Commons from becoming a 'House of Cards.'" Isabel Bassett, former Member of Provincial Parliament