The Way It Works: Inside Ottawa
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The ultimate insider takes us behind the scenes, in the book everyone is waiting for.
As Jean Chrétien’s right-hand man for thirty years in Ministries all over Ottawa, Eddie Goldenberg got to know how things worked — especially from 1993 to 2003, when he was Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister.
What did this title mean? It meant that Eddie made things happen. For example, during Paul Martin’s years at Finance, Eddie was the go-between who linked Chrétien and Martin, who were for much of the time barely on speaking terms. Or when vital decisions about the Iraq War had to be made, Eddie was the man who wrote the words, “If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate.”
And that’s the way this revealing book works; important decisions are used as case studies as we learn how things really happen in the tough world of politics.
Those less concerned with mastering the system will simply enjoy reading this as an engaging account of an exciting arena, filled with memorable anecdotes about the world’s biggest names.
“Journalists look for winners and losers so as to make good headlines. The real story is much more interesting, but is harder to write, and is very difficult to put in a clip of a few seconds.”
“President Bush smiled and said, ‘You know the guy who wanted to see me, What’s-his-name? I didn’t see him.’ I thought, poor Joe Clark; he had gone from ‘Joe Who’ to ‘What’s-his-name’ in less than twenty years.”
— Excerpt from The Way it Works
From the Hardcover edition.
May I elaborate? ” The prime minister: “No, you may not. I guess it is only fair to hear from the minister of natural resources for thirty seconds. ” The minister of natural resources: “I have a different point of view on the urgency of developing lunar resources. There is absolutely no science to back up what my colleague, the minister of the environment, has said. My department tells me that he is relying too much on his departmental briefing notes. Prime minister, we all know that if Canadians don’t develop lunar resources immediately, someone else will.
Castro responded, “At least you do not have to worry about General de Gaulle any more. ” The Canadians in the room, bleary-eyed from more than six hours of listening with some fascination to Castro’s monologue, looked at one another, wondering whether the old revolutionary had finally lost it. We had no idea what he was talking about. After all, de Gaulle had been dead for almost thirty years and was totally irrelevant to the circumstances of the late 1990s in Canada. Then with perfect timing and a twinkle in his eyes, Castro deadpanned, “When de Gaulle spoke in Montreal, did you consider it an example of ‘constructive engagement’?
This will be for you what wage and price controls were for Trudeau. ” He became angry, less at me – although I bore the brunt – than at his political situation. Tobin had convinced him that there were short-term politics to consider. “Don’t talk to me about when I am prime minister,” Chrétien said. “I won’t be prime minister if I lose the leadership of the party. Right now, my leadership is on the line. I can’t afford to lose control of the caucus. ” I argued angrily that he could face down the caucus and win.
I recounted to Chrétien just after he became prime minister what my father had told me: “Paul, Jr. , will be as loyal to the Chrétien government as his father [who in 1958 had been defeated by Lester Pearson for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but whom Pearson had later made minister of external affairs] was to the Pearson government. ” That was the good news. Then my father added, somewhat ominously, “But if the prime minister were ever to be hit by a bus, Martin would be exactly like his father.
No thanks is a great thing to say. ”) Chrétien’s eyes lit up; he relished the anticipated reaction of the Parti Québécois. Feeling certain that the advertising would be effective and would provoke the anger of the separatist opposition, Chrétien told Bégin to speed up the campaign, put coloured inserts in all federal mailings to Quebeckers from her department, and buy space on billboards throughout the province. With an overturned glass of alcohol barely visible, and the slogan prominent in large letters, it was a powerful campaign tool; yet its ostensible purpose was so legitimate that the Provincial Court in Quebec rejected an injunction request from the outraged separatist side.