Insight, Inspiration, Motivation

How is Harper Leading?

After sending his 100th book, to  Prime Minister Steven Harper, Yann Martel says he is finally planning to stop. He sent him a book along with a letter every 2 weeks for four and a half years – and got …. NOT A SINGLE NOTE IN REPLY!

Yann Martel was in the visitor’s gallery in the House of Parliament one day, and began to think of stillness which is required to read a book. He apparently felt a wide disconnect between the politicians and the artists of this country (who received very little funding, and, he felt, were not appreciated).  So he decided to send Mr. Harper the books.

Whatever his reasons, he chose his books well, starting with ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’ by Leo Tolstoy and Animal Farm (George Orwell), including great books like  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Good Earth, Chronicles of a Death Foretold, The Old Man and The Sea, Julius Caesar, as well as translations of famous works from different languages. In his letter with each book, he included a little opinion of his own, which would inspire anybody to pick up the book and read it. (He published these letters on a website called

He received a total of five replies none from the man himself. There has been no sign that Mr. Harper read a single book so far.

I am not very political and in fact do not pay much attention to the  games that go on in the political arena. I get easily disillusioned, I realise that journalists don’t always tell the truth, I know that the truth has many sides to it…  and anyway, I just don’t have the time to go out and find out for myself. So I join the apathetic masses – except at election time – then, I do take stock, for what little that is worth! If I do have an opinion, I do not discuss it publicly either.

However, this situation with Mr. Martel does worry me – a lot. It seems to be true, for Mr. Martel could not lie on television. Having read many of his letters, I find it impossible to imagine how any human being – much less the leader of a nation – can keep mum for 4 full years. While the man may have had a political agenda, it was still a personal gesture, which took a lot of time, effort,  thought, and above all, money.  Even one of those books – or even letters, for that matter, could have you thinking, reflecting,  for hours!Anybody would be changed by it if he paid attention.

To completely ignore such an effort on every level, shows to me a distinct lack of leadership – personal and political – that is frightening. Here we have an elected leader in one of the world’s large democracies – who will not so much as acknowledge a persistent citizen’s gestures (at least they were nice, respectable ones). Why are we complaining about dictators?


February 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments


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