Rick Mercer Report : the book /
Rick Mercer.
[Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2007.
xiii, 241 p. : ill., ports. ; 22 cm.
0385665180, 9780385665186
More Details
[Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2007.
local note
UA Library copy presented by the Stephen Leacock Society.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
First Chapter
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 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.

Rick ­Mercer


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?
This item was reviewed in:
Globe & Mail, October 2007
Quill & Quire, October 2007
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