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Book Review

Pasquinades in E: Slaughtering Some Sacred Cows

Pasquinades in E: Slaughtering Some Sacred Cows

by Gilles Paquet

Pasquinade is a satire or critical comment traditionally posted in a public place in ancient Rome; in particular, on the statue of Pasquino. Pasquinades in E is my contribution to this waning tradition.

These essays are exercises in critical thinking. They aim at exorcising a number of mental prisons about aspects of governing, and at denouncing pathologies in our ways of thinking and governing ourselves, by exposing their toxic nature. Silence on such matters connotes tacit agreement with toxic nonsense and, therefore, guilt by association for the ensuing mal-governance

Four ensembles of pathologies are considered. First, institutional pathologies: the toxic effect of the Charter of Rights, of certain special commissions of inquiry, of the creeping power of super-technocracy, and of the rampant invasion of legal corruption. Second, impostures and sophistry that have derailed the democratic conversation: weasel words, academism, fundamentalisms, demonization and psychosis. Third, toxic trends that are crippling the democratic process: the rhetoric of promiscuity, oikophobia, hyper-toleration and the politics of guilt. Fourth, a sample of redesign challenges difficult to meet because of social blindness and powerful interest groups standing in the way: the National Capital Region, higher education in Ontario, the Armed Forces, the RCMP, the Office of the Auditor General, the culture of the federal public service, and the notion of stationary population policy as fata morgana.

I will be delighted if the reader is provoked and amused by this attack on doxacracy – a democracy dependent on ill-founded opinions – and saddened if the reader is not.


Gilles Paquet is Professor Emeritus at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, and Senior Research Fellow at La Maison Gouvernance. He is the author of numerous books, and the Editor in Chief of For more information, visit his website,

You can purchase a copy of this book through:

Table of Contents

Introduction - Driving Out Uncritical Thinking

Part I - Institutional Pathologies

Chapter 1 - The Charter as Governance Story
Chapter 2 - Bouchard-Taylor as Hyper-tolerance
Chapter 3 - The Betrayal of Super-bureaucrats
Chapter 4 - Unmasking Legal Corruption and Legal Extortion

Part II - Impostures and Sophistry

Chapter 5 - The Don Quixote Syndrome: Weasel Words as Guideposts
Chapter 6 - Columnists vs Academics: A Value-adding Flip in Public Affairs?
Chapter 7 - Laments of Two Fundamentalists
Chapter 8 - The Demonization of Stephen Harper
Chapter 9 - The Long Form Census Psychosis as Révélateur of Governance

Part III - Toxic Trends

Chapter 10 - About The New Rhetoric of Promiscuity
Chapter 11 - Disinformative, Ideological and Oikophobic: …
Chapter 12 - The Obscenity of Hyper-toleration
Chapter 13 - The Perils of the Politics of Guilt

Part IV - Design Challenges: A Small Sample

Chapter 14 - Getting the Governance of Canada’s Capital Right
Chapter 15 - Ontario Higher Education as Governance Failure
Chapter 16 - The Challenges of 2020 for the Canadian Armed Forces: A
Citizen’s Perspective
Chapter 17 - A Culturally-challenged RCMP
Chapter 18 - About the Office of the Auditor General
Chapter 19 - The Task of Stewardship: Real Cultural Change in the Public
Chapter 20 - Stationary Population as Fata Morgana

Conclusion - Toward A New Cosmology

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