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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Cycling into Saigon

The Conservative Transition in Ontario

The essence of democracy is the peaceful and legitimate transfer of government. In 1995 in Ontario, the omens for a successful transition weren’t promising. Almost no one had expected Mike Harris’s Common Sense Revolution to catapult his Progressive Conservatives from third-party obscurity to victory in the June election. The Harris manifesto declared its intention to dismantle almost every policy of the defeated NDP administration of Bob Rae. Weeks of confrontation and confusion seemed inevitable. Yet, as Cameron and White compellingly describe, the transition was a surprising success, involving necessary co-operation between political mortal enemies. Cycling into Saigon has important lessons for everyone involved or interested in this key stage of the electoral process, wherever it takes place.

224 pages

Table of Contents


1 Transitions

2 The 1985 and 1990 Transitions

3 Transition Building Blocks: Bureaucrats, Politicians, and Mandates

4 Bureaucratic Preparations

5 The Parties Prepare for Power

6 Cycling into Saigon: The Common Sense Revolutionaries Take Over

7 Not Politics but Good Government: Making Transitions Better


A Two Public Policy Forum Documents Given to Opposition Parties

B Excerpts from Mission ’97

C The Liberal Approach to Organization, Management, and Decision-Making in the Government of Ontario

D The Conservative Transition Team

E Introduction to Political Briefing Material Given to Conservative Ministers

F Speech by Premier Harris to Deputy Ministers, 27 June 1995

G On the Record: Ensuring a Place in History / Peter DeLottinville and Ian E. Wilson




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