Gender, power, and representations of Cree law / Emily Snyder.
Vancouver : UBC Press, 2018. ix, 236 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

From the publisher:

Drawing on the insights of Indigenous feminist legal theory, Emily Snyder examines representations of Cree law and gender in books, videos, graphic novels, educational websites, online lectures, and a video game. Although these resources promote the revitalization of Cree law and the principle of miyo-wicehtowin (good relations), Snyder argues that they do not capture the complexities of gendered power relations. The majority of these resources either erase women’s legal authority by not mentioning them, or they diminish their agency by portraying Cree laws and gender roles in inflexible, aesthetically pleasing ways that overlook power imbalances and other forms of oppression.

back to top


Lived fictions : unity and exclusion in Canadian politics / John Grant.
Vancouver : UBC Press, 2018. ix, 292 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

From the publisher:

The idea of political unity contains its own opposite, because a political community can never guarantee the equal status of all its members. The price of belonging is an entrenched social stratification within the political unit itself. This book explores how the desire for political unity generates a collective commitment to certain lived fictions – the citizen-state, the market economy, and so forth – that shape our understanding of political legitimacy and responsibility. Canada promises unity through democratic politics, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, a welfare state, and a multicultural approach to cultural relations. This book documents the historical failure of these promises, elaborating the radical institutional and intellectual changes needed to overcome our lived fictions.

back to top


All our relations : finding the path forward / Tanya Talaga.
Toronto : Anansi, 2018. 258 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

From the publisher:

Every single year in Canada, one-third of all deaths among Indigenous youth are due to suicide. Studies indicate youth between the ages of ten and nineteen, living on reserve, are five to six times more likely to commit suicide than their peers in the rest of the population. Suicide is a new behaviour for First Nations people. There is no record of any suicide epidemics prior to the establishment of the 130 residential schools across Canada.

Bestselling and award-winning author Tanya Talaga argues that the aftershocks of cultural genocide have resulted in a disturbing rise in youth suicides in Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond. She examinees the tragic reality of children feeling so hopeless they want to die, of kids perishing in clusters, forming suicide pacts, or becoming romanced by the notion of dying — a phenomenon that experts call “suicidal ideation.” She also looks at the rising global crisis, as evidenced by the high suicide rates among the Inuit of Greenland and Aboriginal youth in Australia. Finally, she documents suicide prevention strategies in Nunavut, Seabird Island, and Greenland; Facebook’s development of AI software to actively link kids in crisis with mental health providers; and the push by First Nations leadership in Northern Ontario for a new national health strategy that could ultimately lead communities towards healing from the pain of suicide.

Based on her Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy series, Tanya Talaga’s 2018 Massey Lectures is a powerful call for action and justice for Indigenous communities and youth.

back to top


At the centre of government : the Prime Minister and the limits on political power / Ian Brodie.
Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018. xvii, 205 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

From the publisher:

"Canada's prime minister is a dictator." "The Sun King of Canadian government." "More powerful than any other chief executive of any other democratic country." These kinds of claims are frequently made about Canada's leader – especially when the prime minister's party holds a majority government in Parliament. But is there any truth to these arguments? At the Centre of Government not only presents a comprehensively researched work on the structure of political power in Canada but also offers a first-hand view of the inner workings of the Canadian federal government. Ian Brodie – former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former executive director of the Conservative Party of Canada – argues that the various workings of the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office, the cabinet, parliamentary committees, and the role of backbench members of Parliament undermine propositions that the prime minister has evolved into the role of an autocrat, with unchecked control over the levers of political power. He corrects the dominant thinking that Canadian prime ministers hold power without limits over their party, caucus, cabinet, Parliament, the public service, and the policy agenda. Citing examples from his time in government and from Canadian political history he argues that in Canada's evolving political system, with its roots in the pre-Confederation era, there are effective checks on executive power, and that the golden age of Parliament and the backbencher is likely now. Drawing on a vast body of work on governance and the role of the executive branch of government, At the Centre of Government is a fact-based primer on the workings of Canadian government and sobering second thoughts about many proposals for reform.

back to top


Good and mad : the revolutionary power of women's anger / Rebecca Traister.
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition. New York : Simon & Schuster, 2018. xxxi, 284 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

Review from Booklist Reviews:

Traister (All the Single Ladies?, 2016) takes a deep dive into the current political climate to explore the contemporary and historical relationship women have with anger and the ramifications of expressing and suppressing feminine rage. Traister uses the 2016 election as a jumping off point, when to the shock of many, an eminently qualified female candidate was defeated by an inexperienced white male businessman who spouted off sexist and racist comments without compunction. While Donald Trump's and Bernie Sanders' angry rhetoric was lauded, Hilary Clinton was lambasted for being shrill and screechy (ditto, other female firebrands like Kamala Harris and Maxine Waters). Traister uses this startlingly obvious double standard to explore how attaching negative connotations to women's anger has always been used to silence and dismiss them. Although at times that anger boils over and energizes a movement, such as when suffragettes fought for the right to vote in the nineteenth century and when in 2017 the revelation of the depth and scope of Harvey Weinstein's crimes against women ignited the #MeToo movement. Traister doesn't shy away from the complicated issues surrounding feminine rage, exploring, for example, the ways white women have discounted and discredited the experiences of women of color. Timely and absorbing, Traister's fiery tome is bound to attract attention and discussion.

back to top


Buying happiness : the emergence of consumer consciousness in English Canada /  Bettina Liverant.
Vancouver : UBC Press, 2018. xi, 291 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

Review from Book News:

Arguing that economic changes alone were not responsible for the rise of consumer society in Canada, this study looks at the importance of changes in social hierarchies, values, and attitudes as Canadians learned to become consumers. The study examines the impact of public thinkers including religious authorities, sociologists, policymakers, and scholars on consumer behavior and patterns of consumption, and looks at the role of the mass media in forming a new vision of Canada’s consumer society. One chapter is devoted to the work of social scientists and literary writers of the late 1930s in Canada who took note of social structures oriented towards consumption. Another chapter explores how the state reached out to Canadian as citizen-consumers during WWII and postwar period.

back to top


Indigenous peoples atlas of Canada = Atlas des peoples autochtones du Canada.
Ottawa : Royal Canadian Geographical Society : National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation ; Assembly of First Nations ; Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami ; Métis National Council : Indspire, 2018. 4 volumes.

Find this book in our catalogue

Review from LJ Express Reviews:

Collaborating with five national Indigenous organizations, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society has produced a remarkable record of the culture of the Native peoples of Canada. The work covers the truth and reconciliation process, especially focusing on treaties and residential schools, from the 17th century to the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation report in 2015. There is a lengthy glossary and frequently asked questions (indexes and bibliographies would have been welcome additions to each volume). Each of the three large-format volumes is devoted to a single group: First Nations (mostly by First Nations contributors), Inuit, and Métis. Articles discuss history, sociocultural traditions, writing, maps (including Indigenous cartography), cultural expression, education, economics, research, health, housing, environment and geopolitics, urban populations, and more. A time line runs along the foot of each book. Stunning color photos and historical images show sites and artifacts, including tools and textiles. Many portraits of named individuals, mostly in vibrant close-up, take Indigenous people out of the realm of the abstract. This work is no mere exercise in beauty or nostalgia: there is a forward-looking focus on justice, recognition, community renewal, and education of the non-Indigenous. The inclusion of Indigenous perspectives and authentic first-person accounts distinguish this set. VERDICT Exceptionally instructive and beautiful, this work should attract and inform a range of readers, whether they are conducting research, seeking artwork or maps, or simply browsing.

back to top


Claws of the panda : Beijing’s campaign of influence and intimidation in Canada / Jonathan Manthorpe.
Toronto : Cormorant Books, 2019. 290 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

From the publisher:

Claws of the Panda tells the story of Ottawa's failure to recognize and confront the efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate and influence Canadian politics, academia, and media, and to exert control over Canadians of Chinese heritage. Jonathan Manthorpe gives a detailed description of the CCP's campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia. The book traces the evolution of the Canada-China relationship over nearly 150 years, revealing how Canadian leaders have constantly misjudged the reality and potential of the relationship, while the CCP and its agents have benefited from Canadian naiveté.

back to top


The real house lives : strengthening the role of MPs in an age of partisanship / Michael Morden, Jane Hilderman and Kendall Anderson.
Toronto : The Samara Centre for Democracy, 2018. 51 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

From the publisher:

In our representative democracy, parties are essential. They bring diverse voices together to forge a cohesive vision and effect policy change. They support citizens to make sense of complicated issues during an election.

The Samara Centre interviewed 54 former MPs who served in the 41st Parliament from 2011 to 2015. These MPs reported that parties had unquestionably the greatest influence on their time in office, greater than the influence of Parliament or their constituencies. They also reported that their parties were a source of community and support but also enormous frustration.

While Parliament has always been and should remain a partisan space, there are institutional and cultural problems with party politics that have real consequences for the health of our democracy. Fixing them requires further deep examination of the party as a whole, from the grassroots to the leadership.

This report is the third in a series of three that makes a case for MPs who are independent, empowered, thoughtful, and engaged in three environments: Parliament, the constituency, and the party.

back to top


The job : work and its future in a time of radical change / Ellen Ruppel Shell.
New York : Currency, 2018. 406 pages.

Find this book in our catalogue

Review from Publishers Weekly Reviews:

Shell (Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture), a Boston University journalism professor, investigates the status of work in 21st-century America in this sweeping study. The basic problem, she observes, is that "the number of living-wage jobs has declined in the 21st century." In order to elucidate the causes of underemployment, Shell speaks to workers of all stripes and from across the country. Analyzing "digital-age capitalism," she dispels myths about how technology has changed the job market, observing that the greatest increase in demand has not been for highly paid professions like engineering and medicine but for poorly paid service jobs. For a counterexample to the fragmented, work-obsessed, and individualistic U.S., she travels to Finland, a "modern success story," she deems, "built on an extraordinary level of social trust." Throughout, she emphasizes to what degree people derive meaning from work and the problems that arise when their work is fundamentally unsatisfying. According to Shell, Americans as a people must change their way of determining what constitutes a good job and even upend the concept of work as they know it. General readers will appreciate the breadth and scope of Shell's thoughtful, inquisitive work.


back to top