26 February 2012

Freedom to Read Week: Noir Canada

Noir Canada : Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique
Alain Deneault, Delphine Abade and William Sacher
Montreal: Éditions Écosociété, 2008

Freedom to Read Week begins and the Lord's Day is darkening. We live now in a Canada governed by a party that equates 'opposition' with 'enemy'. When presenting legislation, our Minister of Public Safety accuses those who find fault of being in league with child pornographers.

A few days pass and the minister trips up, revealing that he has not read the bill. He is surprised by its contents.

A few more days pass and we learn that the government called upon the Department of National Defence to help wage war on those who sit across the aisle in the House of Commons. An hour passes and an even bigger scandal breaks.

The message is clear: Do not question the government.

While scientists are muzzled, for the most part we writers have had it pretty easy. True, the theatre critics in the Prime Minister's Office described an unread yet to be performed play as "glorifying terrorism", but that's as bad as it's got... so far. As Michael Healey might tell you, the chill is in.

Noir Canada is not our prime minister's hockey book, but it's entirely appropriate that he struts his stuff on the cover. For nearly four years, Barrick Gold pursued publisher les Éditions Écosociété, Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, and William Sacher, seeking to add six million Canadian dollars to its US$10.9 billion (2010) in annual revenues.

Here, I'll mention – and just mention – something known as a SLAPP, a strategic lawsuit against public participation. The reason I'm saying no more on the subject will become clear through reading Candice Valentine's 'Code of Silence', published in the November 2011 edition of The Walrus.

Late last year, Noir Canada was withdrawn from sale. The small Montreal press paid an undisclosed sum to the world's largest gold mining producer and the media looked the other way; Justin Bieber had signed a Hyundai for charity.

I imagine Barrick Gold's Board of Directors were satisfied.

Better to bury a book than to burn it. Flames attract attention.


  1. Shape up Canada. I might have to move soon.

  2. Your room awaits... just a bit of a mess to clean up first. I expect all will be ready on October 20, 2015.

  3. How about an exchange? The USA sends you Michael Moore and we get David Cronenberg in exchange?

  4. Hey, we already gave you Norman Jewison.