Book Review by Kathleen O'Hara

One Big Party: To Keep Canada Independent

Dec 7 - 2003

Too few non-fiction writers offer real solutions to the problems they present. You read an entire book full of doom and gloom and are then advised to write to your local editor or contact your Member of Parliament. Somehow it doesn't seem enough!

Fortunately, Paul Hellyer, former Liberal cabinet minister, now leader of the Canadian Action Party (CAP) is a refreshing exception. In his 12th book, One Big Party: To Keep Canada Independent, published by Chimo Media, he offers a solution to every problem or concern he raises from the takeover of Canadian businesses by large foreign corporations to the underfunding of our public schools, from the huge debt burden facing developing countries to the fact that most Canadians feel they have little or no political choice.

Indeed, Hellyer's vision is both global and local, putting the often-confusing issues we hear about on the nightly news into wonderfully clear perspective. It's quite a relief. For example, have you been wondering what is behind all that talk about bank mergers? Hellyer goes behind the scenes and explains why no mergers should take place. Are you confused by the arguments for and against free trade? Hellyer, who has read both the Canada/U.S. Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA, gives you a helpful overview and explains why we should get rid of both.

The author also reveals some interesting tidbits. Did you know that, while still in power, Saddam Hussein converted his billions of reserve funds from U.S. dollars to euros? Hellyer argues that such conversions and the battle between the dollar and the euro are destabilizing. He suggests the adoption of a specific currency for international dealings.

One Big Party begins with an analysis of what has been on all our minds since September 11, 2001 the Bush Administration's attitude toward the rest of the world. As a former defence minister, the CAP leader has first-hand knowledge of both the White House and the Pentagon and, therefore, his observations and conclusions are both enlightening and frightening.

After reading U.S. government documents, Hellyer warns us that the infamous Star Wars project, known officially as the National Missile Defense program is, ... in fact a step in the direction of the installation of U.S. based weapons of mass destruction in space." Bush and his fellow-schemers must go, Hellyer states, and so must our next prime minister, Paul Martin, who supports Star Wars and other means of further integrating Canada with the U.S. In order to ensure that Canadians have an alternative to Martin and a probable Conservative Party, the country needs a new, pro-Canada party that is credible enough to woo voters.

This One Big Party would be an amalgamation of the NDP, CAP, and other smaller progressive parties, as well as alienated Liberal, Tory and Alliance members. As a Canadian who wants more viable options in the next federal election, Hellyer's idea has got my vote.