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Towards A New Government In British Columbia [Kindle Edition]

Martyn Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 220 pages (estimated)
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Book Description


On May 14, 2013, British Columbians re-elected the Clark government, defying the expectations and predictions of pollsters, pundits and this author alike. This work was published in August 2012 in anticipation of that election.

Premier Christy Clark's dramatic come-from-behind victory over Adrian Dix and the NDP shows that many of the problems plaguing the BC Liberal government were ultimately not material to its re-election chances.

Yet the thrust of this book remains relevant to the goal of better government. At the heart of the matter is the point of power, the need for change, and British Columbians' desire for strong leadership that can restore public trust and confidence. The election results suggest that many voters are hoping that Premier Clark and her new team in government can provide that leadership.

Better and more responsive government demands new ways of governing and institutional reforms that can elevate political discourse, strengthen political accountability and promote informed decision-making. All parties need to reach out across the political spectrum to invite new relationships, new dialogue and new understanding that builds social license for their visions and actions.

This work argues for a more positive political culture in British Columbia that is more constructive and respectful of voters' democratic choices, and that is less partisan, ideological and polarized. British Columbia's private sector leaders can play a key role in leading that effort by helping governments to advance their visions, as they also insist upon a higher standard of political conduct.

More emphasis needs to be placed on the purposes that power is intended to serve, on the specific mandates that governments are given through elections, and on the importance of building and maintaining public support for the means used to advance those ends.

Strong leadership is key to that endeavour, as discussed in an analysis of the HST debacle in British Columbia and in a critique of the Clark government's evolving position on the proposed oil sands pipeline projects in advance of the 2013 election. Those projects and British Columbia's relationships with Alberta and with other governments will continue to challenge the BC Liberals in the years ahead.

Drawing upon his extensive experience in B.C. politics and government, the author reflects upon the diminishing relevance of ideology in shaping voter choices; the shifting nature of coalitions in British Columbia's multi-party system; the myths about vote-splitting; and the issue of party brands and branding.

Ultimately, this work is an argument for a new way of governing and for new forms of political engagement that better respect voters’ democratic choices, that appreciate the fluid nature of coalitions, that value critical thought, and that emphasize innovation, vision and open, honest discourse.

Editorial Reviews


"In a lifetime of reading books about politics and the nature of governing, I have to say that Towards a New Government in British Columbia is one of the best and most insightful tomes I've come across." 
 --  Gary Mason, Globe & Mail, Aug. 24, 2012

"Palmer: Liberal insider's ebook a stimulating read for voters" [Headline] 
-- Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, Aug. 23, 2012

"Brown's excellent book, Towards a New Government in British Columbia, could just as easily be entitled Towards a New Government in any Province." 
-- Political Insider, Aug. 25. 2012

  "[Brown] ... offers up a range of fascinating opinions on everything from the HST to B.C.'s toxic political culture. .... it appears many Liberals are taking the plunge for a glimpse into the mind of one of B.C.'s most powerful political insiders of the past decade. ... Brown's take on the province's poisoned political discourse is also resounding with readers, judging by the emails I've received." 
-- Mike Smyth, The Province, Aug. 28, 2012

 "Brown says partisan battles, 'perpetuate a 'politics-as-war' mindset that frustrates constructive post-election relationships that could help to improve informed decision making.'  
'We need to change that. We need to develop a more contemporary political culture that is less ideological, less polarized, more assertive, more collaborative and more attuned to the drivers of social change that are forcing and limiting governments' political choices.' Amen to that." 
-- Russell Wangersky, The Telegram, Aug. 28, 2012

Product Details

  • File Size: 529 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Martyn Brown; 1 edition (August 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009033J10
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,939 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Martyn Brown book November 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting view of government by a fellow who should know the inner workings of the political scene, he's been there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing vision October 13, 2012
By David
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book does a great job of describing what a government is supposed to do, and how it should behave. It has inspired me to demand better of my government when I am voting. It is something I expect to reread in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Too bad no one else bought the book! January 18, 2014
By Murray
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Martyn Brown was an insider for the Liberal Government in BC and laid the grounds as to why the government was failing and what needed to be done at the next election to adjust political thinking in BC. Like the book...just didn't like what happened at election time.
A very good read.
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A insightful book from the guy";who made the trains run" A bit repetitive in parts -but the best summary of where BC politics is -and is likely to go. Probably will be required reading for everyone involved in campaigns in this Province- once this campaign is over
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful if poorly edited December 28, 2012
By James
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Martyn Brown has been taking a lot of flack for this book; people point to BC Rail and so on and make the typical "well, if your memory was so bad then..." and so on. People call him a hypocrite and etcetera without actually reading this book.]

Brown's memoir of sorts is a very insightful, very carefully thought-out manifesto about politics in British Columbia. His insights into how politics work, how they don't, and how they should, are poignant and clearly coming from a place deep within his heart; Brown obviously cares very dearly for British Columbia and, bless him, believed entirely (like so many of us ex-Liberals) that the government at the time was the way to go. He's clearly learned from his mistakes and even what he has done right. Towards a New Government in British Columbia should be required reading for anyone involved, even remotely, in BC or even Canadian politics.

Sadly, Martyn Brown could have used a (better?) editor. The book has a few spelling mistakes here and there, but Brown overuses and abuses commas far too often.
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More About the Author

Mr. Brown is the author of the eBook, "Towards A New Government in British Columbia." He is also a frequent contributor to various newspapers and digital forums, a political analyst and broadcast media panelist, and a strategic communications and policy consultant.

For over two decades, Martyn Brown served in senior positions under three premiers and five provincial party leaders in British Columbia, most notably as the chief of staff to former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell. For 13 years he served as Mr. Campbell's chief lieutenant, a role that distinguished him as the longest-serving chief of staff to any first minister in Canada.

Mr. Brown was the top strategic advisor to three provincial party leaders and to their caucuses, and also served as the head of the B.C. Government' Public Affairs Bureau, as a former deputy minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment, and as a former government caucus research director. He was the BC Liberal Party's public campaign director in the 2001, 2005 and 2009 provincial elections, which produced three straight majority governments, including the largest majority in B.C. history.



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