Rick Mercer Report: The Book was the publishing phenom of 2007, hogging the top of the bestseller lists. Prime ministers’ memoirs came and went, and RMR outstayed them all. And now it’s back — bigger and better and funnier than ever.
Rick Mercer Report: The Paperback Book is an updated, expanded remix of its bestselling predecessor, containing 10,000 words of new material from the show’s fifth season.
Rick’s celebrated rants are some of the sharpest political commentary to be found anywhere in the country’s media, and certainly the funniest. They are featured here, along with other moments from the show — including encounters with Conrad Black, Jean Chrétien, and Anne Murray — and many additional pieces, some of which first appeared on his website. Because when he’s not jumping into a lake with David Suzuki or Bob Rae, or helping the leader of the Green Party kill a tree, Rick Mercer likes to relax by blogging. From Kabul, say. Or the bearpit of a leadership convention.
Rick Mercer Report: The Paperback Book will help you make sense of five extraordinary years in the life of Canada — or at least laugh despite them.
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About the Author
Rick Mercer is Canada's sharpest and funniest political satirist. He first came to fame with "Show Me the Button I'll Push It, or Charles Lynch Must Die," a one-man show that toured across Canada. He co-created and was a resident performer on CBC's "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", and is now the host of "The Rick Mercer Report", the Corporation's highest-rated comedy show. Rick is co-chair of the Spread the Net campaign, dedicated to preventing the spread of Malaria in Africa, and has also campaigned for the Canadian AIDS Society's The Walk for Life project. His many honours include 21 Geminis and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. He is from St. John's and currently resides in Toronto.
Read an Excerpt
The truth is I rarely know where I am going to be from one day to the next. My luggage has remained packed for over a decade and I have more long underwear than any city dweller in his right mind should need.
Over the last four years, while on the job, I have almost lost consciousness midair while doing aeronautics with Canada’s Snowbirds, I have experienced intentionally induced hypothermia at the hands of a celebrated university professor in Winnipeg, I have made a five-thousand-foot free fall out of an airplane over Trenton, Ontario, and I have done donuts in the middle of Halifax harbour while operating a tugboat. I have faced death (or at the very least the possibility of severed thumbs) when lying “nose down, bum up” on a skeleton sled while hurtling down a bobsled track in Calgary. In Rockland, Ontario, I signed a waiver and got behind the wheel and joined a demolition derby.
My job description includes sleepovers at Stephen Harper’s house and getting buck naked with Bob Rae.
Despite the latter two I am still convinced that I have the best gig in Canadian show business. And through it all I have managed to stay true to my one ultimate career goal–no heavy lifting.
The travel is the best part.
If you are lucky enough to spend time in the North it will change you. It will inform the way you feel about the country in a way that no amount of reading on the subject ever can. When you spend time eating raw caribou north of the tree line with a politician in Nunavut or listening to an Inuit hunter before he heads out alone on the ice to hunt a polar bear–those things tend to stay with you.
The same can be said for spending time on the Prairies, in Northern Ontario, Newfoundland, the oil sands of Alberta, or in any of the many Chinatowns or Little Indias that dot the country.
Canada has so many problems–and geography is often the root cause. For the size of the population we are simply too bloody big.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a situation where five people were busy complaining about what the problem was with another part of the country that they were happy to admit they had never visited.
I’ve had cabinet ministers lecture me on why people in Newfoundland should never have control of their natural resources and then in the next breath tell me they have it on very good authority that the province is very pretty. Not a surprise really. Stephen Harper coined the phrase “the culture of defeat” about Atlantic Canada before he bothered to go there.
Ottawa is a favourite place that Canadians love to attack without having set foot in the place and God knows everyone in Eastern Canada seems to have an idea of what Calgary is all about without ever having met the people whose drive and determination are responsible for our very own emerging superpower.
There is no simple solution, of course. Again size is to blame. It’s easy to have an opinion on how Canada should deal with an issue in Nunavut but actually going there requires a time commitment and an airplane ticket. Unfortunately, time and money top the list of what most people don’t have enough of.
We live in a country where it’s cheaper to fly to Paris than it is to fly a few provinces over and see for ourselves what another part of Canada is really about. More Canadians visit Florida than Manitoba. In a country with unity issues, this does not bode well.
I’ve been very lucky when it comes to exploring Canada. The show lets me experience another part of the country almost every week. And despite the occasional near-death experience and/or outbreak of nudity, every single week I become more enamoured with the place.
This book is for the most part a collection of commentaries that I have written and performed on the show during the last four seasons or posted on my blog at rickmercer.com. It contains, for lack of a better term, my “rants.” When you follow politics in Canada either as a living or because it’s just in your blood there is never a shortage of subjects to rant about. The problems are legion and the situations are often absurd. The rants often write themselves. I started ranting about Canada a long time ago and I really don’t see any end in sight. It’s what I do and I have never lost sight of how lucky I am to get to do it every week.
And sure, on the surface Canada may appear hopelessly dysfunctional, but the more I rant the more I realize that we are also spectacular in every sense of the word.
Canada, for all its challenges, is worth ranting about.
GETTING WHAT YOU VOTED FOR
In a minority government timing is everything. And when a minority government looks like it’s teetering on the brink of collapse, whether actually or imagined, orchestrated or not, you can rest assured that once the structural flaws are exposed a chorus of pundits will start to sing: “Canadians just aren’t in the mood for an election.” Personally, I am always in the mood for an election–but that’s a character flaw of mine. Most hockey fans would be happy with back-to-back playoffs, and that is pretty much the way I feel about elections.
Bring ’em on. It takes ten minutes to vote, folks, and the results are always worth it.
An unelected idiot? | Feb. 2, 2004
I’ve always thought that the worst thing that could ever happen to Canada would be that somehow a complete idiot would get elected as prime minister. And so far we’ve been pretty lucky. Brian Mulroney was called lots of things, but stupid wasn’t usually one of them. And Jean Chrétien made no sense whatsoever, but it turns out he was actually fairly bright.
Which brings us to Paul Martin (not that he’s been elected). Watching him on the job for the last couple of weeks, I think we’ve all been thinking the same thing: we’ve seen brighter lights on small appliances.
Here he is, a Liberal prime minister facing a united Conservative right-wing party, perhaps the most serious threat the Liberals have faced in over a decade. And what’s he doing? Every time he turns around he’s attacking Jack Layton and the NDP. And the more he attacks the NDP, the stronger the NDP gets.
Then it dawned on me: perhaps Martin’s no fool. Perhaps he’s been boning up on The Art of War and he’s going to use the NDP to destroy the Conservatives. Sure, Martin would love to stand up and say, “Hey Canada, you want Conservative, vote for me. I’m more Conservative than Brian Mulroney ever was.” But he can’t say that because the sign on the door to the prime minister’s office says Liberal. So how’s he going to get that message out? The NDP. So he’s doing them every favour he can think of. Hell, he even tried to give them Sheila Copps, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
So don’t worry, Canada–no matter what you think about Paul Martin, at least we know one thing about him: like every great prime minister before him, at least he’s not as stunned as he looks.
Minority show | Oct. 25, 2004
Over one hundred of the MPs in Canada’s 38th Parliament are brand spankin’ new. Think about that. A third of our MPs have never done anything like this before in their lives. It’s mind-boggling when you consider the layers of dumb that have yet to be revealed to us. Because that’s the way it works: if you’ve got one hundred MPs, I can guarantee you twenty-five of them will be completely off their heads. And this is not me talking here–this is an established law of averages.
Sure, they may look like normal, rational human beings. They might even sound like normal, rational human beings. But that is only because they haven’t really said anything yet. But they’re in there now, just waiting for the right moment to stand up, open their mouths, humiliate their party and reveal to the world just how completely bonkers they are.
They can belong to any party. That’s the beauty of it. And because it’s a minority government, they will not be ignored. Their votes are far too important. So important that these unknown loose cannons who walk among us could very well end up running the place. When you think about it, this Parliament is very modern. It’s not like a Parliament at all–it’s like a reality show. All we’ve got to figure out now is where Canada fits in the grand scheme of things. In this show, are we the winners, the losers–or the prize?
Focus on Darrel | Oct. 10, 2006
For those of us who enjoy Question Period for its pure theatrical value, it’s nice to see that the Liberals are finally hitting their stride. For a while there in opposition they were pathetic. They were about as fierce as a bag of kittens. They finally figured out that their job is to oppose–to attack–but lately they’ve gone a little bit too far.
This week they were all upset because Rona Ambrose, the minister of the environment, went out and hired this guy Darrel Reid to be her new chief of staff. Now the interesting thing here is, the Liberals aren’t upset because the guy’s not qualified–they’re upset because he’s too conservative.
This is where the Liberals lose me. You can’t not hire someone because of their views. This is Canada. We have laws against that type of thing. We just elected a Conservative government here, and when the big jobs become available they’re going to go to Conservatives. That’s just the way it works.
Some people might say, “Hey, the minister of the environment needs a chief of staff–this person is going to run an entire government ministry–we need someone in here who’s worked with big business and big environment groups.” Not this crowd. The Tories say, “This is a perfect opportunity to give a job to the former president of Focus on the Family.”
You remember Focus on the Family. They’re the ones who think that SpongeBob SquarePants is gay. Take a look at their website–these people think about gay sex more than gay people do. I only hope that when Darrel Reid is in his new job, he can take his mind off gay sex long enough to think about the plight of the chubsucker, which by the way is an endangered fish and not a lifestyle choice. Of course, that’s not all Focus on the Family worries about. They do other good works. Focus on the Family International was one of the first groups to come out and support Mel Gibson after he revealed his views on our Hebrew friends to the world.
Bottom line, though, is that Darrel is a good foot soldier for the Conservative party, and Stephen Harper wants him in Ottawa. In fact, they ran Darrel Reid in the last election. That ended badly when he lost the election and his campaign manager went ballistic and blamed the defeat on the Jews who control the Canadian media. But that’s all in the past now. Thanks to Rona Ambrose, Darrel Reid–your Focus on the Family candidate–is going to make it to Ottawa after all.
No surprises there, because this is a democracy, folks–and in Canada you get what you vote for.
Après Dion | Dec. 5, 2006
There’s no doubt about it: big leadership conventions like the one we just saw in Montreal make for great TV. At least, for someone like me they do.
If you like politics–and I’m certainly guilty of that–you must take your excitement where you can get it. And, tragically, watching a few thousand socially retarded adults jump up and down and wave signs with someone else’s name on it is what passes for exciting.