Douglas & McIntyre is pleased to announce that Alok Mukherjee and Tim Harper and their book, Excessive Force, have been recognized by the Donner Canadian Foundation as finalists for the 2018/2019 Donner Book Prize. The award recognizes the best public policy books by Canadian writers. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the historic Carlu in Toronto on Wednesday May 1, 2019. The winner receives $50,000 while each other nominated title receives $7,500.
The prestigious Donner Prize, founded in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in public policy writing by Canadians. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse, all of which will contribute to an even stronger and more inclusive Canadian democracy. For the full 2018/2019 shortlist please visit here.
EXCESSIVE FORCE: Alok Mukherjee was the civilian overseer of the Toronto police between 2005 and 2015, during the most tumultuous decade the force had ever faced. Mukherjee, collaborating with Tim Harper, former Toronto Star national affairs columnist, reveals how Police Chief Bill Blair changed the channel after the police-killing of Sammy Yatim. He explains how society has given police tacit approval to cull people in mental health crisis and pulls the curtain back on a police culture which avoids accountability, puts officer safety above public safety, colludes on internal investigations and pushes for use of force over empathy and crisis resolution.
The book examines inside the G20 debacle; the police push for an ever-growing budget; the battle over carding, which disproportionately targeted blacks; the police treatment of its own members in mental health distress; the battles with an entrenched union that pushed back on Mukherjee’s every move toward reform. In spite of, or as a result of all this, Mukherjee played a leading role in shaping the national conversation about policing, sketching a way forward for a new type of policing that brings law enforcement out of the nineteenth century and into the twenty-first century.
Here is a rare title about policing — not only in Canada but the Western world — written from the community’s perspective.
“Policing in North America is not merely at a crossroads. When it comes to maintaining the confidence and trust they need for their legitimacy, our police are teetering at the edge of the cliff.” - Alok Mukherjee
ALOK MUKHERJEE was the second-longest serving chair in the history of the Toronto Police Services Board. He was head of several provincial and national associations of police boards and worked with three Toronto mayors as well as five provincial and four federal ministers responsible for public safety. He currently holds a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. He lives in Toronto, ON.
TIM HARPER has been a journalist for forty years, thirty-four of which were spent with The Toronto Star. He ran bureaus in Vancouver, Washington and Ottawa and spent more than five years writing a national affairs column syndicated from coast-to-coast. He lives in Toronto, ON.