Tragedy in the Commons

Tragedy in the Commons

Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada's Failing Democracy

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In Tragedy in the Commons, Samara founders Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan provide an unprecedented look behind the curtain of Canadian politics. Based on their exit interviews with several dozen retired MPs, they share surprising observations about the practice of politics in Canada: the accidental arrival of many in political life; the mystery of what an MP is actually supposed to do in office; the role of the political party in an MP's life; and how complicated that role becomes whenever the media starts paying attention.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, [2014]
ISBN: 9780307361295
Branch Call Number: 328.71 L79t
Characteristics: 274 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: MacMillan, C. Michael


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 09, 2017

Finished reading 'Tragedy in the Commons'.. An insightful accounting of 'exit interviews' with former MP's. I discovered a bit of how our parliamentary system actually works (it's not how it seems on the televised 'Question period', which comes across as childish shouting matches). I was a bit surprised at how many MP's actually became politicians with the goal of helping their constituents learning from the mistakes of previous governments and making Canada a better place for everyone (didn't always work the way they wanted and/or expected). Some of it was a bit disheartening (lots of legislation gets bogged down in morass and partisanship). Nevertheless, after watching the fiasco/ train wreck occurring on a daily basis in the USA, I'm so glad that our government operates the way it does...AND I continue to hope for improvement, especially with better representation of ALL of the people of Canada, and much more transparency and integrity of all our elected officials. I'd like to see the Senate totally revamped, but I don't think that's going to happen in my lifetime. All in all a good ( but not terribly exciting) informative read.

Jan 20, 2015

This book shows why politicians are held in such low regard by Canadians. Most politicians claim to dislike their occupation, not only denying that they ever wanted to be one, but denigrating other politicians while at the same time denying that they do so. Few rookie MPs have ever researched what their job entails before they are elected, and are abandoned by overly competitive colleagues when they arrive in Ottawa. Political parties have almost no legal framework so their power has accelerated without controls to achieve almost total control of our democratic institutions. Few MPs feel able to change anything because they are picked off one by one if they try. And so on. A saddening read but necessary for any understanding of federal politics.

Nov 24, 2014


Should be read in connection with A Party of One.

Commons problems start with the party system.

Sep 28, 2014

Come on. No need to read this book! Coporate influence breeds corruption at all levels of any government. The simple answer is for all Canadian voters to just vote for proportinal representation.

Jul 26, 2014

If you are even mildly interested in Canadian politics this is a MUST read. The compilation of honest, forthright MP exit interviews give insight into jobs we think we know. Some information will reinforce your ideas but I guarantee you will be surprised and dismayed. For a political book it is remarkably apolitical. But it offers solutions to many identified problems. Canada's future as a democracy is not assured. This book will encourage you to think carefully before the next election.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top