Malice in Blunderland: or How the Grits Stole Christmas


223 pages
ISBN 0-919493-01-7





Reviewed by P.J. Kemp

P.J. Kemp was a journalist living in Brigham, Quebec.


The main theme of this collection of short essays/articles/diatribes is Grit-bashing, a pastime so ubiquitous and socially acceptable these days as to hardly raise any eyebrow, even among diehard Liberals. So Fotheringham, or Dr. Foth as he modestly refers to himself, must needs employ a less-than-mainstream style in his reproaches if he is to distinguish himself in any way from his fellow Grit-bashers. What emerges is not actually a Dr. Foth, excising and examining the diseased portions of our country’s political body, but rather Court Jester Foth, tweaking noses, pulling beards, and setting hotfoots to our eminent leaders, always with the knowledge that it’s the very foibles of this lot that guarantee the security and growth of his own career. Some live off the fat of the land, others live off the fatheads.

Fotheringham waxes gossipy on political aspects of all ten provinces, revealing to a reader the cocktail circuit chatter that only confirms our worst suspicions: we’re governed by a bunch of dolts, naked emperors all. Both Ottawa and (to some extent) Vancouver come in for their share of vitriol. Foth is frequently entertaining in his nastiness: “Ottawa ... is the civic equivalent of salt-petre. Only the pensions are indexed: very little else goes up on a regular basis”; and “The Canadian flag goes up and down on the Peace Tower like a toilet seat as senators die off.” His discussion of B.C. politics is particularly hilarious.

Fotheringham’s harpy-ish attacks can be quite refreshing after the dour and heavily serious treatment other political critics offer. For instance, Foth is in the right place and right time in his last-page column of Maclean’s; but in a whole book of “Pierre, why you done me wrong?” he can become tiresome. It’s indeed a peculiar country that votes in the same gormless political party every election just to see Fotheringham continue hoisting it on its petards.


Fotheringham, Allan, “Malice in Blunderland: or How the Grits Stole Christmas,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,