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Exploring The Best Laid Plans: Chapter 7

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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: With the election just two weeks off, Daniel hunkers down at Liberal Party headquarters with other campaign managers and staffers for a progress report. His riding numbers are, as expected, dismal. He checks in with Muriel — who gives him a pep talk about the campaign and, encouragingly, Lindsay — and with Angus, who's about to take off for Papau New Guinea.

 

The questions:

  1. Initially, Daniel was just going through the motions in running Angus's sham campaign. What are the indications that his feelings may have changed?
  2. Daniel reflects on a misstep in a past campaign that the Tories exploited to their advantage. Can you think of any election in which "going negative" worked? Can you think of examples in which it backfired?
  3. Daniel reflects that pollsters are seen as god-like in Canadian political circles. In your opinion, how influential are poll results in swaying the electoral vote?
  4. Daniel sees the party staffers as divided between "idealist policy wonks" and "cynical political operators." Where does he fit in?
  5. When Daniel is discouraged by the polling results, Muriel responds, "This isn't about winning. It's about making sure the cause is well served...." Do you think this is a useful attitude to have as a politician? Why or why not?

 

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