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Exploring The Best Laid Plans: Chapter 5


CBC Books is all about conversation and community, which is why we want to explore the Canada Reads 2011 champion, The Best Laid Plans, chapter by chapter. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we will release an audio version of one chapter (generously recorded and given to us by author Terry Fallis) as well as pose discussion questions. You can join the conversation by commenting on the blog posts right here on the Canada Reads site or by joining the discussion group for The Best Laid Plans in the CBC Books Community.


The set-up: In Chapter 5, the race is on! The prime minister has set an election date, and now Daniel has to set a campaign in motion for his no-hope (and no-effort) candidate. After rounding up Pete1 and Pete2, Daniel takes the lead on canvassing for Liberal votes in their staunchly Conservative riding. Results are not encouraging. Still, Angus is worried that there's too much on-campus support for his candidacy. Daniel hits on a (somewhat unethical) way to assuage his candidate's concerns.


The questions:

  1. In describing his conversation with journalist André Fontaine, Daniel refers to going into "message mode." What is meant by this, and what purpose does it serve?
  2. How persuasive are Daniel's explanations of his candidate's refusal to do press interviews?
  3. Daniel refers to his handling of Fontaine's questions as "skating." Why is this an apt term?
  4. Daniel notes that he's "grown bitter, suspicious and cynical" about politics. How does this attitude come through in his description of Tory opponent Eric Cameron?
  5. Terry Fallis describes the punk attire of Pete1 and Pete2 in detail. What do you think their wardrobe choices say about them?
  6. How does Terry Fallis use exaggeration to make Daniel's description of canvassing for votes seem comical?
  7. As campaign manager, Daniel feels that he's responsible for calming his candidate's anxieties. What is ironic about the fact that Angus worries about his on-campus support?
  8. Which passages in Angus's letter to his dead wife show his sentimental side? Which show his practical nature?


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