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CURR E NT C E N S O R S H I P I S S U E S I N C A NA DA

FREEDOMTOREAD volume 26

DISAPPEARED IN ABIDJAN Carol Off Recalls Guy Andre Kieffer Ottawa’s

ALAN BOROVOY Free Speech Crusader Looks Back

MILITARY STONEWALL COMIC BOOK CRACKDOWN A Dark History

A SUITABLE BOOK PLUS Get Involved Ideas for Educators

2010

Encouraging Discourse in the Classroom

FAIR PLAY IN CYBERSPACE Saving Our Free Net

BOOK AND PERIODICAL

COUNCIL

www.freedomtoread.ca


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Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. John Milton Areopagitica

(1644)


ftr 26 10 years

FREEDOMTOREAD WOW! This year’s issue of Freedom to Read contains our first in-depth look at the history of comics censorship in Canada. Did you know that Canada was a model for the U.S. crackdown on comics in the 1950s and that today comics for adults still face censorship at our libraries and borders? Comics historian Brad Mackay gives us the scoop. We are also honoured to feature the writing of other prominent Canadian authors. The CBC’s Carol Off recounts the tragic story of Canadian journalist Guy Andre Kieffer. His unsolved death in Ivory Coast in 2004 is still being investigated by a network of supporters who are determined to uncover the truth. Senior journalist and researcher David McKie writes about a disturbing trend that is making it difficult for reporters, and thus the public, to obtain crucial information about the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. And Marian Hebb introduces us to the complex issues surrounding “Son of Sam” laws. These provincial laws prevent authors who have been convicted of crimes from making money by writing about their crimes. This year, we also launch a series that will profile leading free speech activists. It seems most fitting to begin by highlighting the remarkable career of Alan Borovoy, an eloquent fighter at the forefront of anti-censorship and free speech campaigns. He is a key champion of human rights. We continue our efforts to track the news about Internet freedom and attempts by some school boards and corporations to smother free expression. Wayne MacPhail writes with passion about the battle to keep Canada’s Web infrastructure free from commercial interference. Leah Sandals, Anne Jayne and Darlene Montgomery keep us abreast of the latest book challenges in schools. And Freedom to Read stalwart Ron Brown analyzes the murky world of strategic lawsuits against public participation. In 2009, freedom to read committees across the country organized numerous creative events. Many organizations also presented awards to remarkable people. We believe you’ll be as inspired as we are in reading about them. To help kindle ideas for 2010, please see our activities section, and try your hand at Franklin Carter’s intellectual freedom quiz. We look forward to hearing all about your Freedom to Read Week, now in its twenty-sixth year. Please send your comments and ideas for future issues of Freedom to Read to the Book and Periodical Council, Suite 107, 192 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2. Phone: (416) 975-9366. Fax: (416) 975-1839. E-mail: info@theBPC.ca. Visit our Web site at www.freedomtoread.ca for more information.

2010


THE BOOK AND PERIODICAL COUNCIL (BPC) WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING FOR THEIR GENEROUS SPONSORSHIP OF FREEDOM TO READ WEEK 2010:

Canadian Library Association

THE BPC WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND IN-KIND DONATIONS:

Saskatchewan Learning Provincial Library Nunavut Public Library Services

Manitoba Library Association

Canadian Library Association

THE BPC THANKS THE FOLLOWING CANADIAN PUBLICATIONS FOR THEIR SPONSORSHIP: THE ANTIGONISH REVIEW, ARC POETRY MAGAZINE, BROKEN PENCIL, CANADIAN CHILDREN’S BOOK NEWS, CANADIAN DIMENSION, CJFE REPORTER, DESCANT, EYE WEEKLY, FELICITER, THE FIDDLEHEAD, GEIST, QUILL & QUIRE, STUDIES IN CANADIAN LITERATURE, THIS MAGAZINE AND THE WRITERS’ UNION OF CANADA.

THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE CONTRIBUTED AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF TIME AND ENERGY PRODUCING THE KIT AND POSTER AND MAINTAINING THE WEB SITE AT WWW.FREEDOMTOREAD.CA: FRANKLIN CARTER, PEGGY MCKEE, SCOTT MITCHELL, MARG ANNE MORRISON, REVA POMER, SANDRA RICHMOND, PETER STEVEN AND DAVID WYMAN. WE ALSO THANK THE MEMBERS OF THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION COMMITTEE: HELENA AALTO, RON BROWN, FRANKLIN CARTER, DAVID KENT, BIANCA LAKOSELJAC, MARK LEIREN-YOUNG, ANNE MCCLELLAND, MARG ANNE MORRISON (CHAIR), JULIE PAYNE, JANE PYPER, TONI SAMEK, CAROLYN SCANDIFFIO, EMILY SINKINS AND LAUREN STEWART. THE BPC, ALONG WITH THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION COMMITTEE, THANKS ALL WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FREEDOM TO READ KIT OF 2010. THE BPC GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE SUPPORT OF THE CANADA COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS AND ITS MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS.


FREEDOMTOREAD

Contents

Editor

Peter Steven c o n s u lt i n g E d i t o r

Franklin Carter De s i g n

Reva Pomer P o s t e r De s i g n

David Wyman Contributors

Ron Brown, Charles Foran, Madison Galloway, Marian Hebb, Anne Jayne, Brad Mackay, Wayne MacPhail, David McKie, Darlene Montgomery, Charles Montpetit, Carol Off, Julie Payne, Toni Samek, Leah Sandals, Caitlin Smith, Richard Swift © Book and Periodical Council 2009

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the Book and Periodical Council or, in the case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a licence from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). Please credit the Book and Periodical Council on any copies of kit materials. Forward all suggestions for future Freedom to Read kits to the Book and Periodical Council in Toronto.

The opinions expressed in Freedom to Read 2010 do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Book and Periodical Council or its member associations. ISBN 978-0-9739099-4-4

toread.ca www.freedom

CANADA’S EVENT CALENDAR FOR FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A LIST OF BOOKS RECENTLY CHALLENGED IN CANADA • TIPS ON HOW TO OBSERVE FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • A CHRONOLOGY OF BOOK BANNINGS AND BURNINGS IN WORLD HISTORY • POSTER ART FOR 26 YEARS OF FREEDOM TO READ WEEK • LINKS TO OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES • AND MUCH MORE . . .

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2010

4 Position Statement: Freedom of Expression and Freedom to Read

23 Meanwhile in Quebec ... By Charles Montpetit

4 Book and Periodical Council Members 2009–10

4 Award-Winning Activists 2 and Writers of 2009

5 News Bytes By Franklin Carter

6 Sustaining Freedom of Inquiry 2 at the Campus Library By Toni Samek

8 The Man Who Knew Too Much By Carol Off 10 “Son of Sam” Comes to Saskatchewan By Marian Hebb 12 Challenges in Every Generation: Alan Borovoy in Conversation By Caitlin Smith 14 The Canadian Military Should Break With History and Stop Keeping Secrets By David McKie

27 Book Profile: Shakedown By Franklin Carter 8 Free Expression Victories of 2009 2 By Julie Payne 9 Min Sook Lee’s Sedition 2 By Charles Foran 0 Book Profile: Murder 3 Without Borders By Richard Swift 31 Challenged Books and Magazines

16 A Brief (Uncensored) History of Comics Censorship in Canada By Brad Mackay

33 Freedom to Read Week Activities and Events Across Canada 2009

18 The Paradox of the Digital: Why Net Neutrality Matters By Wayne MacPhail

Get Involved

19 On Being “SLAPPed” Around By Ron Brown 0 2

Ban Overturned for Children’s Books: Toronto Board Promises More Clarity for Approvals Process By Leah Sandals

21 Finding New Grounds to Defend Challenged Novels in Schools By Darlene Montgomery and Anne Jayne

36 Ideas for Educators 6 Write a Review of a 3 Challenged Book 37 WOW! Canadian Comic Books 8 Return to Quebec’s Radical 3 Year: 1970 9 Link Films and Books 3 on Freedom of Expression 40 Intellectual Freedom Quiz By Franklin Carter


thebpc book and periodical

council

The Book and Periodical Council is the umbrella organization for associations involved in the writing, editing, publishing, manufacturing, distributing, selling and lending of books and periodicals in Canada.

MEMBERS 2009–10 FULL MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS Access Copyright Association of Canadian Book Wholesalers Association of Canadian Publishers Canadian Authors Association Canadian Booksellers Association Canadian Library Association Canadian Publishers’ Council Editors’ Association of Canada League of Canadian Poets Literary Press Group of Canada Magazines Canada Periodical Marketers of Canada Playwrights Guild of Canada Professional Writers Association of Canada The Writers’ Union of Canada ASSOCIATE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia Association of Manitoba Book Publishers Book Publishers Association of Alberta British Columbia Library Association Canadian Children’s Book Centre Canadian Copyright Institute Ontario Library Association Organization of Book Publishers of Ontario PEN Canada The Word on the Street The Writers’ Trust of Canada AFFILIATES Disticor Magazine Distribution Services Fraser Direct Distribution Services Georgetown Terminal Warehouses Ltd. Pal Benefits Sameday Worldwide Universal Logistics Inc. BPC EXECUTIVE Chair: Stephanie Fysh (Editors’ Association of Canada) Vice Chair: Melissa Pitts (Association of Canadian Publishers) Past Chair: Ray Argyle (Periodical Marketers of Canada) Treasurer: Anita Purcell (Canadian Authors Association) BPC STAFF Executive Director: Anne McClelland Program Co-ordinator: Carolyn Scandiffio

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Position Statement

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FREEDOM TO READ A statement of the basic tenets of the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council

“Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms . . . thought, belief, opinion, and expression.” — Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IS A FUNDAMENTAL right of all Canadians, and freedom to read is part of that precious heritage. Our Committee, representing member organizations and associations of the Book and Periodical Council, reaffirms its support of this vital principle and opposes all efforts to suppress writing and silence writers. Words and images in their myriad configurations are the substance of free expression. The freedom to choose what we read does not, however, include the freedom to choose for others. We accept that courts alone have the authority to restrict reading material, a prerogative that cannot be delegated or appropriated. Prior restraint demeans individual responsibility; it is anathema to freedom and democracy. As writers, editors, publishers, book manufacturers, distributors, retailers and librarians, we abhor arbitrary interpretations of the law and other attempts to limit freedom of expression. We recognize court judgements; otherwise, we oppose the detention, seizure, destruction or banning of books and periodicals— indeed, any effort to deny, repress or sanitize. Censorship does not protect society; it smothers creativity and precludes open debate of controversial issues. Endorsed by the Book and Periodical Council February 5, 1997

TO ORDER KITS Freedom to Read kits may be ordered from the Book and Periodical Council for $15 plus shipping and handling charges. Orders for 10 kits or more, shipped to a single address, receive a 20 per cent discount and may be accompanied by a purchase order. Flat, rolled, full-colour posters are available for $10 plus shipping and handling charges. GST is included in all prices (GST#R106801889). All orders are non-refundable.

BOOK AND PERIODICAL COUNCIL 192 Spadina Avenue, Suite 107 Toronto, Ontario M5T 2C2 Phone: (416) 975-9366 | Fax: (416) 975-1839 info@theBPC.ca www.freedomtoread.ca www.bookandperiodicalcouncil.ca


newsbytes By Franklin Carter

resentatives of the Canadian Jewish Congress defended the CHRC’s power to censor hateful expression on the Internet. Richard Moon, a professor of law, argued for the abolition of the CHRC’s censorship powers. Other measures should be used to combat hateful expression, he said. On Oct. 5, writers Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn argued that the CHRC’s methods jeopardize the expression rights of Canadians and called for an end to the CHRC’s powers to censor hateful expression on the Internet.

canada AUTHOR OF ANTI-GAY LETTER WINS FIGHT IN COURT On Dec. 3, 2009, Stephen Boissoin won his fight for free expression in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench. The court overturned a decision of a provincial human rights panel. In 2008, the panel had ordered Boissoin to pay a fine of $5,000 for writing an anti-gay letter to the Red Deer Advocate. The letter was likely to expose gays and lesbians to hatred or contempt, the panel ruled. The panel also ordered Boissoin to stop disparaging gays and lesbians in public and to apologize to complainant Darren Lund in a newspaper. Boissoin, a former Christian pastor, believed the panel’s ruling violated his constitutional right to free expression. His anti-gay letter was published in 2002.

U.S. JOURNALIST SEARCHED AT CANADIAN BORDER On Nov. 25, 2009, U.S. journalist Amy Goodman and two colleagues were questioned and searched by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for about 90 minutes. The incident occurred on the border between British Columbia and Washington. CBSA officials repeatedly asked whether Goodman planned to speak about the Vancouver Olympics. They searched her vehicle and two laptop computers, and she was photographed, she said. The CBSA granted Goodman and her colleagues a two-day stay in Canada and declined to comment on the incident. Goodman appeared in Canada to promote her new book, Breaking the Sound Barrier. She hosts Democracy Now! on U.S. public radio.

MAN SENTENCED TO 14 DAYS FOR WRITING SEX STORIES

SCHOOL BOARD RETHINKS APPROVAL OF NOVELS IN CLASSROOMS In November 2009, officials in a Roman Catholic school district began considering a proposal to centralize the approval of all novels used in classrooms. The proposal, if adopted by Ontario’s Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, would create a list of acceptable novels for use in classrooms. At present, a central authority selects math and science textbooks for use throughout the district. But the board allows teachers to choose literature for classroom lessons. The proposal, if adopted by the board, would require teachers to submit their choice of novels to a central authority for approval.

FEDS REVIEW CHRC’S CENSORSHIP POWERS In October 2009, the justice committee of the House of Commons held public hearings about the censorship powers of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and its tribunals. On Oct. 26, Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch of the CHRC and rep-

In October 2009, a judge in Ottawa sentenced a man to 14 days in jail for possession of child pornography. Michael Jay Thomas, 43, had pleaded guilty in court to writing and editing 10 stories that described sex between adults and teenage girls. Some stories described incest. Justice Hugh Fraser said the case was “rather unique” because Thomas did not have any kiddie porn images or video files on his computer. Thomas also did not distribute his stories. According to the Criminal Code, it is an offence to possess “any written material whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 years.”

EDITOR OF PUNJABI NEWSPAPER ATTACKED AT GUNPOINT On Oct. 23, 2009, three masked men dressed in black assaulted Jagdish Grewal, the editor of the Punjabi Post, in a parking lot in Brampton, Ont. The attackers smashed the window of Grewal’s van, dragged Grewal from the driver’s seat and pointed a gun at his head. One attacker shouted “Kill CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

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MAYOR DEFENDS READINGS OF SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN

him! Kill him!” in Punjabi, Grewal later said.

On May 7, 2009, B’nai Brith Canada—a Jewish advocacy group—called upon Mayor David Miller of Toronto to stop readings of Seven Jewish Children at the Theatre Passe Muraille. Written by Caryl Churchill, Seven Jewish Children is a controversial 10minute play. Its theme is that Jews have changed from being an oppressed people in Nazi-occupied Europe to being the oppressors of Palestinians in Gaza. Speaking for B’nai Brith Canada, Frank Dimant said the play “promotes antiJewish hatred.” But Miller refused to stop performances. “We don’t determine what theatre groups in this city play, nor should we,” he said.

The men tried to drag Grewal into another van. They fled when they realized that another newspaper employee had witnessed the attack. The motive for the attack is unknown. Police are investigating.

SUPREME COURT HEARS GLOBE’S APPEAL TO PROTECT INFORMANT On Oct. 21, 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada reviewed a controversial ruling that could force a Globe and Mail reporter to name a secret informant in the federal sponsorship scandal. The justices heard The Globe and Mail’s appeal of a decision rendered by a Quebec Superior Court in 2008. The decision requires Daniel Leblanc to name the person who helped him expose fraud in the sponsorship program in 2004. The newspaper’s appeal contests the lower court ruling which allows lawyers who work for Le Groupe Polygone Éditeurs Inc. to question Leblanc under oath about his source. They need the name, they say, to defend Polygone against a federal lawsuit. The Globe and Mail argued, however, that reporters such as Leblanc must be able to keep some informants’ names secret to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and expose wrongdoing.

ALBERTA HRC DISMISSES COMPLAINTS AGAINST NEWSPAPERS On Sept. 21, 2009, the director of Alberta’s human rights commission dismissed nine complaints against the Calgary Herald and The Edmonton Journal. Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups had objected to an editorial, published in both newspapers, entitled “Apocalyptic Creed.” It exposed Alberta’s Muslims and Palestinians to hatred or contempt, they said. But Mary Riddle, the commission’s director, found no basis in recent case

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Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza Design by Chuck Przybyl. Poster from the Chicago premiere of Caryl Churchill’s play Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza. Presented by ROOMS Productions

law to forward the complaints to a human rights panel. “Apocalyptic Creed” blamed Yasser Arafat, Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers for prolonging the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. It was printed in 2002.

ONTARIO BILL PROPOSES TO BLOCK INTERNET “PORN” On Sept. 16, 2009, a member of Ontario’s legislature demanded more Internet filtering in public schools and libraries. Gerry Martiniuk, a Progressive Conservative, introduced a private member’s bill called the Education Statute Law Amendment Act. It is also known as Bill 202. The bill aims to force libraries and schools to install more filtering software in computers to prevent people under the age of 18 from seeing sexually explicit sites on the Internet. In Ontario, the Progressive Conservatives are an opposition party. To be enacted into law, Bill 202 would need the support of the majority Liberal government.

international AUTHOR LOSES TO CIA IN U.S. COURT On Nov. 12, 2009, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did not violate Valerie Plame Wilson’s free speech rights. Wilson is a former CIA agent and the author of Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision. It barred Wilson from revealing the length of her employment with the CIA in her memoir. The CIA had made a good argument in court to keep the information secret, the appeals court said. Fair Game appeared in 2007. Because of a prepublication agreement between the CIA and the publisher, some text in the book was blacked out.

TWO MEN CHARGED IN TERRORIST CONSPIRACY In October 2009, U.S. authorities arrested and charged two Muslim men for allegedly plotting to attack the offices and staff of Jyllands-Posten, a newspaper in Denmark. In separate criminal complaints


unsealed on Oct. 27, U.S. authorities charged David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana with conspiring to commit terrorist acts outside the United States. The FBI arrested both men in Chicago: Headley on Oct. 3 and Rana on Oct. 18. Both men are originally from Pakistan. In 2005, Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of Mohammed, the founder of Islam. The cartoons provoked outrage among Muslims worldwide.

DISTRIBUTOR DROPS SALES BAN ON KIDS’ BOOK On Oct. 27, 2009, Scholastic USA reversed its decision to ban the sale of Lauren Myracle’s Luv Ya Bunches at middle school book fairs. The novel, which is aimed at young readers, includes two lesbian parents. Scholastic USA—a major distributor of children’s books—decided to sell Luv Ya Bunches at middle school book fairs in the spring of 2010. But the company won’t sell the novel at elementary school book fairs. The decision to overturn the ban was strictly internal, the company says. But, according to Change.org, Scholastic USA did receive 4,042 messages from people who urged an end to the ban.

SAUL NAMED PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL PEN On Oct. 21, 2009, John Ralston Saul became the first Canadian president of International PEN. The literary organization promotes free expression around the world. An assembly of delegates to International PEN elected Saul president in Linz, Austria. “Almost 1,000 writers who are in prison or are in danger around the world look to us for help,” Saul said. “We have to invent new ways of turning back the rise of authoritarian controls.” Saul, an award-winning author, is a longtime supporter of PEN Canada. From 1990 to 1992, he served as PEN Canada’s president.

Iranian police arrested Bahari on June 21 and accused him of spying. He was one of dozens of journalists who were arrested during the unrest after the contested re-election on June 12 of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bahari is a citizen of Iran and Canada.

ROMANIAN-BORN WRITER WINS NOBEL PRIZE

JOHN RALSTON SAUL Photo by Don Denton

ANNUAL INDEX OF PRESS FREEDOM RELEASED On Oct. 20, 2009, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) released its annual Press Freedom Index. The report ranks press freedom in 175 countries from the freest to the most repressive. According to RWB, the five freest countries for journalists are Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. The most tyrannical countries are Burma, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea and Turkmenistan. In 2009, RWB ranked Canada in nineteenth place. In 2008, RWB ranked Canada in thirteenth place. Press freedom in Canada is “good” but slipping. RWB, which is also known as Reporters sans frontières, is registered in France as a non-profit organization.

IRANIAN FILMMAKER RELEASED ON BAIL On Oct. 17, 2009, Iranian authorities freed Maziar Bahari on bail from Evin prison in Tehran. Bahari, a documentary filmmaker and journalist who works for Newsweek magazine, had been imprisoned since June 21, 2009. Hundreds of writers and filmmakers around the globe signed petitions for his release. In August, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon met with Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran’s foreign minister, in Istanbul to discuss Bahari’s release.

On Oct. 8, 2009, Herta Müller won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Müller, a member of Romania’s German minority, was persecuted for years for her critical portrayals of life in the communist world. Her work, “with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed,” the Swedish Academy said. Müller’s first works—Niederungen (1982) and Drückender Tango (1984)— portray repression, corruption and intolerance in a German-speaking village. Romania’s communist regime censored them. Her most recent work—Atemschaukel (2009)—describes the exile of German Romanians in the Soviet Union.

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NAMES MOST CHALLENGED BOOK In 2008, the most frequently challenged book in U.S. public libraries was And Tango Makes Three, announced the American Library Association (ALA). The children’s book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell tells the story of two male penguins raising a baby penguin in a zoo. Americans who sought to have And Tango Makes Three removed from libraries objected to the theme of same-sex parenting. They complained that the book promoted homosexuality, conveyed “anti-family” and “anti-ethnic” values, and was unsuited to the age group of readers. In 2008, U.S. public libraries reported 513 book challenges to the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. In 2007, the number of reported challenges was 546.

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knew too much The Man Who

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n April 16, 2004, Guy-Andre Kieffer parked his car outside a chic shopping plaza of the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan and chain-smoked while he waited for his rendezvous. For almost three years, Kieffer had been on a fearless—some would say suicidal—quest to expose corruption and crime in the highest offices of this West African country. In particular, he was after the story of what the government was doing with all the money he believed had been extorted from the cocoa farmers of Ivory Coast. Kieffer had come to the parking lot to meet Michel Legré, a well-connected member of President Laurent Gbagbo’s extended family. Kieffer was wary: he had been warned a number of times to stop his exposés of government malfeasance or face dire consequences. There were few people angrier with his relentless reporting than the friends and relatives of the country’s president. Legré was potentially a dangerous man. But Kieffer had to know the truth at all costs and so it was not difficult to lure him into the trap that had clearly been set for him on that steamy hot April afternoon.

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By

CAROL OFF

Legré arrived with eight uniformed soldiers. There was no meeting: this was an ambush. The men hurriedly bundled Kieffer into the back of an SUV and wheeled out of the parking lot. Kieffer has never been seen again—not even his corpse has surfaced. The passionate, intrepid and dedicated reporter known as GAK to his friends is now presumed dead. Ivorian authorities along with the governments of Canada and France, the nations from which Kieffer had dual citizenship, all concede that Kieffer was a victim of foul play. But in more than five years, no one investigating the crime has made public any plausible explanation as to what happened to Kieffer. While police both in France and in Ivory Coast have interviewed witnesses, interrogated suspects and even charged people, the probe never seems to amount to much more than a game of tit for tat between a former colonial power and its former colony. Those who demand justice for GAK say that authorities from all sides, including Canada, which relinquished the file to France within days of Kieffer’s disappearance, seem to be indifferent at best and obstructionist at worst. A network of supporters pursues the truth of what happened that day with a relentlessness that would have impressed GAK. Friends, family and former business associates have amassed


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2010 files, evidence and names with which they attempt to inspire investigators. This network has staged bold public rallies on the streets of Paris and has hounded the governments of both the Ivory Coast and France. GAK’s former wife, Osange Silou-Kieffer, has met with former French President Jacques Chirac and current French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Each has promised to get to the bottom of the Kieffer affair. Even President Gbagbo himself has declared he would find the culprits. But behind the official façade, government officials seem reluctant to solve the crime. In the days following GAK’s disappearance, French embassy staff were silent and refused to answer inquiries from GAK’s friends. Ivorian journalists reported that the French government knew what had happened to Kieffer but didn’t want to rock the boat at a time when diplomatic affairs between the two countries were strained. The Ivorian government had complained to France about Kieffer; the muckraking journalist had become a thorn in the side of France–Ivory Coast relations. One anonymous foreign office member suggested that Kieffer’s disappearance was “best for everyone.” After weeks of public pressure from the GAK network, France relented, appointing a French prosecutor to investigate. Known as Le Bulldog, Justice Patrick Ramaël arrived in Abidjan with a team of forensic experts. They used cellphone records to help place Michel Legré both at the parking lot where Kieffer had disappeared and then later at the airport where his car was eventually found. Under questioning, Legré admitted he knew who had abducted Kieffer, and he named eight people he claimed were part of a conspiracy to silence the journalist. Subsequently, Ivorian authorities arrested Legré, charged him and jailed him. (Legré was later released on bail and his whereabouts are no longer known.) Le Bulldog was far from satisfied, but Ivory Coast officials refused him access to the eight people Legré had named. As far as the Ivory Coast was concerned, the case was closed. Those who are close to the investigation have reason to believe that a central player in the Kieffer affair is Simone Gbagbo, the president’s wife and Michel Legré’s sister-in-law. Justice Ramaël is not permitted to speak publicly about the investigation, but he has told family members that all roads keep taking him to the office of the first lady. In early summer of 2009, Ivory Coast allowed Justice Ramaël to interview Mme Gbagbo and also Paul Antoine Bohoun Bouabre, one of the most powerful members of the Gbagbo government and a man who had been the subject of many of GAK’s investigations. The prosecutor’s office won’t say what, if anything, was learned from that encounter. But weeks later, a former officer of the Ivorian army claimed in an interview on French TV that Mme Gbagbo had intimate knowledge of what happened to GAK.

FOR ALMOST THREE YEARS, KIEFFER HAD BEEN ON A FEARLESS — SOME WOULD SAY SUICIDAL — QUEST TO EXPOSE CORRUPTION AND CRIME IN THE HIGHEST OFFICES OF THIS WEST AFRICAN COUNTRY.

Major Alain Gosse told French Channel 3 that soldiers had taken Kieffer in just for questioning and had “unintentionally” killed him while attempting to scare him into revealing his sources. Major Gosse claims Kieffer was accidentally shot in the back during an interrogation. In what seems to be an act of reprisal against France for suggesting GAK was a victim of the president’s family, Ivory Coast’s chief prosecutor has declared that ex-pats from France actually murdered Kieffer. As of the time of writing this article, two Frenchmen who live in Abidjan have been charged while the Ivorian prosecutor says he may soon issue charges for other French citizens. These suspects are all former business associates of GAK’s and they are part of the network demanding justice for their friend. GAK’s relatives believe it’s unlikely the case will be solved as long as Laurent Gbagbo is president of Ivory Coast. Without access to witnesses and evidence, Le Bulldog can’t close the file. The French government says it wants to know the truth about Kieffer but with billions of dollars in business deals between the two countries there seems to be little appetite to make a diplomatic incident out of the death of a journalist whom many French officials had considered a troublemaker. As for Canada, GAK’s son, who was born and lives in Montreal, has been unable to raise any interest in Ottawa. There is perhaps an underlying message here that a journalist who sticks his nose into dangerous places should simply understand the cost of doing so. * Carol Off is a journalist, the author of Bitter Chocolate (Random House, 2006) and the host of CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

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son of sam Comes to Saskatchewan By Marian Hebb

payment to the writer was liable to be forfeited to the Crown and the writer’s copyright expropriated.

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ASKATCHEWAN'S JUSTICE Minister Don Morgan did a complete aboutface on taking action against Colin Thatcher. Thatcher, a former provincial cabinet minister who was convicted for the murder of his ex-wife in 1983 and who spent 22 years in jail, has written a book about his legal trials called Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame. It was released in the fall of 2009 by ECW Press, a publishing house in Ontario. “He [Thatcher] has free speech rights,” Morgan said in The Globe and Mail on April 22, 2009. There would be no “knee-jerk reaction” by the Saskatchewan government to the news that a book by Thatcher would be published. But two weeks later, on May 6, Morgan introduced the Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act, which is retroactive in its application to June 2007. The bill had first and second reading that day, had third reading within a week and received royal assent on May 14. Saskatchewan became the fifth Canadian province to have “Son of Sam” legislation on its books. In 1978, the New York state legislature enacted a law to prevent criminals from profiting from books or films about their crimes. Popularly known as the “Son of Sam” law, it was passed to assuage public indignation when it became known that David Berkowitz, a serial killer who referred to himself as “Son of Sam,” was planning to sell his story. In 1991,

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Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Nova Scotia subsequently enacted their own legislation. These provincial laws were crafted in a way calculated to avoid or minimize the Charter issue that sank the federal bill by targeting the money that would be received by the writer and directing it to victims instead of by confiscating or preventing the writing.

Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame by Colin Thatcher (ECW Press, 2009)

the Supreme Court of the United States struck down this law as unconstitutional—a violation of the First Amendment, which protects the right to freedom of expression in the United States. Canada’s first attempt to pass “Son of Sam” legislation occurred when the federal government introduced a bill in 1997 to amend the Criminal Code and the Copyright Act, but the bill was defeated in the Senate, following strong protest from the Writers’ Union of Canada, PEN Canada and others. The bill’s opponents argued that there is a difference between the “proceeds of writing” about a crime and the “proceeds of crime” and that the 1997 bill infringed on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Any

Saskatchewan’s Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act and the other provincial acts which preceded it do not expropriate copyright or prevent anyone from writing but are designed to prevent a writer who has been convicted from receiving any payment for the “recounting” of the crime. In the Saskatchewan law, this is broadly defined to include “recollecting and retelling of circumstances relating to a designated crime” and even “an expression of thoughts or feelings” about it, which would include remorse. Colin Thatcher, who has always maintained his innocence, has said that his book does not “recount the crime” but deals with his treatment at the hands of the police and prosecution and his time in prison, and that the Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act does not apply to him. It is Thatcher’s intention to persuade readers that he was wrongfully convicted. In September 2009, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice formally requested Thatcher to pay the advance against royalties that he received for his book to the minister to compensate victims


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2010 of crime, unless Thatcher could explain more convincingly his assertion that Saskatchewan’s new law did not apply to his book. After the ministry’s deadline for a reply passed without any response from Thatcher, the ministry began legal steps in October to enforce his compliance. There will be a hearing in early December, at which Thatcher will represent himself. Removal of the economic incentive to write encroaches on freedom of expression and this will be the basis for a constitutional challenge by Thatcher to Saskatchewan’s “Son of Sam” legislation. If the court agrees with Thatcher that he is not recounting the crime, the freedom of expression issue may remain undecided. But sooner or later, whether in Saskatchewan or in another province, there will be a court challenge to decide the constitutionality of a law which may inhibit or discourage other convicted persons from writing books in the future. It is a motherhood statement to say that criminals should not profit from their crimes, but writing about a crime is not the same thing. In the past, writing their own stories has assisted persons who have been wrongfully convicted to exonerate themselves. It has also assisted those who have committed crimes to rehabilitate themselves and re-establish a relationship with society. For example, Stolen Life by Yvonne Johnson, a convicted First Nations woman, and Rudy Wiebe does not celebrate crime but sheds light on why Johnson did what she did. Legislation such as Saskatchewan’s “Son of Sam” law has the potential to silence these important voices, is antithetical to the values of a democratic society and should be challenged. * Marian Hebb (Hebb & Sheffer) is a lawyer whose practice is primarily with writers. She is counsel to the Writers’ Union of Canada. This article is dated November 6, 2009.

books written by Convicted Canadians HERE ARE SOME CANADIAN BOOKS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY “SON OF SAM” LAWS. • White Niggers of America by Pierre Vallières (McClelland & Stewart, 1969) Vallières was convicted for his role in an FLQ bombing in Quebec. In the late 1960s, he wrote this book in prison. The book originally appeared as Nègres blancs d’Amérique: Autobiographie précoce d’un “terroriste” québécois (Editions Parti pris, 1968). • Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla by Ann Hansen (Between the Lines, 2001) Hansen, one of the so-called Squamish Five, was convicted in British Columbia in 1984 for participating in a series of bombings and robberies. • Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman by Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson (Random House, 1999) Johnson was convicted of murder in Alberta in 1989. Wiebe, twice a winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction, worked with Johnson to tell her story.

Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla by Ann Hansen (AK Press, 2002)

Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman by Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson (Vintage Canada, 1999)

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Challenges in Every Generation

Alan Borovoy in Conversation By Caitlin Smith Photos: Josh Chan

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LAN BOROVOY BATTLED FOR FREEDOM of expression many times in the 41 years that he was at the helm of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), but he will always remember one of the earliest cases. It goes back to the 1960s, when a group protesting the Vietnam War applied for a permit to march down Yonge Street in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon, a day that coincided with an international day of protest. The group was denied the permit, but instead was given a permit to march down Bay Street and University Avenue on that same Saturday afternoon. “If you have ever been on Bay Street on a Saturday afternoon, there is a good chance you were the only one there,” says Borovoy. You couldn’t get a busy street parade permit unless you’d been doing so for at least 10 years prior to October 1, 1964. So preferred status was granted to the Santa Claus parade and the Orange parade. Under another exemption, the police commissioner and chief of police could issue a busy street permit to any group deemed to be of municipal, provincial or federal importance. A group that qualified was a visiting convention of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. They were able to tie up Yonge Street for five hours on a busy Friday afternoon, with 5,000 marchers and 35 marching bands. Borovoy says these examples show how things have often 12

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been done in Canada—we render protest impotent. “In Canada, we don’t ban demonstrations, we reroute them. You can say anything you like in your backyard or bathtub. If a larger audience is required (and for protests it invariably is), there are legal fetters.” DENYING THE HOLOCAUST Defending free speech has always been an important part of Borovoy’s work at the CCLA, but no issue has touched him as personally as the cases of Holocaust denial. There are many notorious cases but none as repugnant as that of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel. What is so important to remember when arguing for the restriction of his free speech, says Borovoy, is that the attempt to target what is illegitimate creates a significant risk of restricting what is legitimate. Zundel was prosecuted under the spreading of false news law, which prohibited the dissemination of false news that was likely to cause injury to a public interest. Borovoy describes Zundel’s actions as “political obscenity. It wasn’t enough that the Nazis extinguished 6 million Jewish lives. He wanted to extinguish 6 million Jewish deaths.” Borovoy feels badly that many in the Jewish community, including Holocaust survivors, found his defence of free speech in the Zundel case to be hurtful. “It was a painful thing to know that I was hurting people who had already suffered too much. I don’t relish inflicting such pain.”


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In another infamous case, Alberta high school teacher and mayor Jim Keegstra, who taught his students that there was a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, was prosecuted under the antihate law. Even before the charge was laid, he was removed from the classroom and ousted from the teaching profession, and the voters of his town had removed him from office. What, asks Borovoy, was the point of prosecuting him after all that? “He should have been allowed to wallow in the obscurity he so richly deserved.” There are many examples of legitimate speech being attacked under the anti-hate law. In the mid-1970s, some young people were arrested for distributing literature with the words “Yankee Go Home” at a Shriners parade in Toronto. The charges were eventually withdrawn, but not before protesters spent a few days in jail. In another example, in the late 1970s, FrenchCanadian nationalists near Windsor distributed antiFrench pamphlets in the hopes of stirring up a backlash in support of their cause. In yet another case, an anti-apartheid film from South Africa was held up at the Canadian border, pending an investigation into whether the film would promote hatred against white South Africans. In all these examples, there was no enduring conviction but, says Borovoy, only lawyers would be consoled by that. The arrests created a chilling effect, and it isn’t right that people should be constantly looking over their shoulders, fearing arrest and prosecution, while engaged in legitimate activities. POLITICAL CENSORSHIP Sometimes journalists can find themselves in trouble “just for doing their jobs.” Borovoy cites the case of Juliet O’Neill, the Ottawa Citizen reporter whose home and office were raided by the RCMP on the suspicion that she had contravened the Official Secrets Act by writing about the Maher Arar case in 2003. She could have been jailed for up to 14 years. “This was a draconian law,” says Borovoy. “Not only is secret never defined but writers could be found guilty for receiving information, even if they didn’t want it.” Fuzzy criteria also characterized the situation, in 2005, with

Unfortunately, what has happened with some of the commentary in this controversy is that there are a number of people inhabiting the right wing of our society . . . who are using this occasion to call for the dismantling of the human rights operations entirely — human rights commissions and human rights statutes. Alan Borovoy, speaking in calgary at the sheldon chumir foundation for ethics in leadership (2008)

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the Danish cartoons about Islam which caused worldwide protests and led to numerous deaths, and the anti-Muslim article by Mark Steyn which appeared in Maclean’s magazine in 2006. Some human rights laws target statements that are “likely to expose” people to “hatred or contempt” on grounds such as race, creed or colour. These laws could produce state action against many groups. Borovoy mentions one such example, a book entitled Hitler’s Willing Executioners, which states that many Germans supported what the Nazis were doing to Jews. “Would this not be ‘likely to expose’ a whole generation of Germans ‘to hatred and contempt’?” It’s not enough, says Borovoy, that one human rights commission panel dismissed the charge against Maclean’s. “The law is so broad that you never know who or what might get nailed under it,” he says. “There is no defence for truth, or reasonable belief in truth.” Back in 1962, Borovoy was involved in the creation of the first human rights commission, in Ontario, when he worked for the Labour Committee for Human Rights. At that time, human rights laws were enforced part-time by the Ministry of Labour. Today, he still believes the commissions have an important role to play. “CCLA has opposed provisions that would censor freedom of speech, but that’s no argument for dumping all the important anti-discrimination work that the commissions have done.”

UNDUE EXPLOITATION OF SEX Borovoy provoked the ire of many feminists over Canada’s obscenity laws in the 1980s, and he and the CCLA took a lot of heat over the issue. The problem arose over the interpretation of pornography. “The feminists sold their interpretation to the Supreme Court of Canada in the Butler case. Pornography was defined in the Criminal Code as ‘material characterized by an undue exploitation of sex and an undue exploitation of sex in combination with crime, horror or violence.’ What is undue exploitation of sex? What is a due exploitation of sex? “The Supreme Court said the portrayal of sex coupled with violence is almost always an undue exploitation of sex. What about the painting of the rape of the Sabine women or, from Greek mythology, the rape of the beautiful Leda by Zeus in the form of a swan?” Knowing where the courts will draw the line between art and pornography is tricky, says Borovoy. He recalls the case of Eli Langer, who was charged with disseminating child pornography for “drawing sketches of children being abused.” In the end the court said the work had artistic merit. “But how does the artist know in advance that the court will find there is artistic merit? Should art be confined to the ALAN BOROVOY CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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The Canadian Military Should Break With History and

Stop Keeping Secrets

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By David McKie

T SEEMS AS THOUGH WE’VE BEEN WRITING ABOUT secrecy in the military for as long as anyone cares to remember.

Back in the mid-1990s, we learned of the hazing rituals that led to the disbandment of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. We watched the official inquiry into the Somalia scandal and learned, among other things, that officials tried to thwart the access-to-information system by writing sensitive information on pieces of yellow sticky paper that could be removed from documents destined for journalists. And now we have the Afghanistan mission. As our death toll increases, questions about what we’re doing there mount. It seems cliché, almost knee-jerk, to suggest that the Canadian military keeps secrets. But the criticism is legitimate, in part because journalists aren’t the only ones complaining.

ALAN BOROVOY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13

depiction of virtue? Lots of important art depicts the dark side of the human condition.” Even educational materials might be vulnerable. A book designed to teach children about sex, Show Me!, was called veiled pornography in a western provincial court after it had been cleared 25 years earlier in Ontario. This incident occurred even after the Supreme Court of Canada had called for a more liberal interpretation of art. AFTER THE CHARTER Have things changed for the better with the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Additional powers have been granted to the courts, and the false news section of the Criminal Code and a contentious provision of the Security of Information Act have been struck down. But the obscenity and child pornography provisions of the Criminal Code and the anti-hate speech measures of the Criminal Code and the federal Human Rights Act have been upheld, says Borovoy, “so, the record has been spotty.” FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION When all is said and done, Borovoy says he must acknowledge that freedom of speech cannot be absolute, “but it is the lifeblood of our democratic system. It is the vehicle by which any

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After the Somalia inquiry, which Jean Chrétien’s government shut down before it could finish its work, the government and National Defence promised to be more transparent. Secrecy would be a thing of the past. For a while, officials returned phone calls promptly. Access-to-information requests were processed and mailed out with impressive efficiency and speed. But now the system has ground to a halt. The federal government’s entire access-to-information process has been described by more than one expert as “broken.” Delays are commonplace. And many access-to-information officers will point an accusatory finger at an overworked and politically sensitive Privy Council Office. There is also the problem of understaffing across many government departments; access-toinformation officers face crushing workloads and cannot fulfill their “duty to assist.” There also seems to be something else going on at National Defence: a systematic attempt to thwart the public’s rightful access to information about a mission in Afghanistan that is

of us can appeal to public support for the redress of our various grievances. “A wise old trade unionist once said that freedom of expression is the grievance procedure of a democratic system. Freedom of speech is the freedom on which all the other freedoms depend.” Borovoy feels that injustice is less likely to endure or even emerge in an atmosphere of free public debate. “We have a better chance to attack the injustice with free speech than without it.” In the arts and literature, says Borovoy, freedom of expression provides a vehicle for creative fulfillment, both for those who produce it and for those who consume it. So where does it go from here? There will be challenges in every generation, says Borovoy, “because short-term selfinterests will always seem more important.” But Borovoy and the CCLA will continue to face those challenges and keep up the fight. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”* On June 30, 2009, Alan Borovoy retired after 41 years at the CCLA. He continues to defend civil liberties through his teaching and public appearances. He is writing his memoirs. Caitlin Smith is the co-ordinator of funding and membership at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.


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2010 claiming more lives than anyone could have ever imagined and is raising more questions as our official exit date of 2011 draws nearer. So what happened? KEEP IT SECRET Perhaps the controversies about Afghanistan will help make the point. For years Scott Harris, a researcher with the New Democratic Party’s caucus, used the access law to obtain information such as situation reports from Task Force Afghanistan. The reports contained updates from task force commanders to National Defence headquarters. Those reports led to news stories that enlightened and embarrassed. For example, a story in the Ottawa Citizen in the fall of 2007 suggested that the defence department had provided “messages” and “themes” which Afghan President Hamid Karzai had adopted the previous year in his speech to Parliament. Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada fiercely denied that the department had any hand in writing the speech. Days after that article appeared, the department faced more criticism. Newspapers collaborated to run a series called Freedom of Information in which the department was criticized for withholding information about Afghan detainees.1 The series reiterated the point that has become well known among users of the access law: it’s frequently more advantageous to approach American authorities because their access laws are more generous, notwithstanding legitimate national security concerns. Then, in the winter of 2008, a similar criticism about the lack of transparency emerged from an unlikely source: the panel Prime Minister Stephen Harper established to provide advice on Afghanistan. Headed by former Liberal Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, the panel criticized the government for allowing an information deficit to develop and urged the Harper administration to provide “franker and more frequent reporting on events in Afghanistan.” HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Since the tongue-lashing the Harper government received from the advisory panel on Afghanistan, little evidence of increased openness has appeared. The difficulty in determining the war’s cost provides a good example. There was a time when Scott Harris was able to obtain information about the war’s cost. (Some of the figures are contained in the government’s cost estimates, arcane documents that itemize spending for government departments.) But Harris’s inability to obtain information about the war’s cost led to damag-

ing headlines in June 2009 that suggested the government was hiding behind the excuse of national security to conceal those nasty budgetary details. Julie Jansen, the access-to-information co-ordinator for the defence department, refused to divulge the details. She cited section 15 of the Access to Information Act, which justifies withholding information “the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.” Jansen also cited section 21 of the act, which gives the government the discretionary power to refuse records that include “administrative plans that have not yet been put into operation.” Two days later, the story emerged that the numbers—at least some of them—were buried in the government’s spending estimates. The so-called “incremental” spending for the Afghanistan mission would be $822 million for the fiscal year 2009–10, $943 million for the fiscal year 2010–11 and $178 million for the fiscal year 2011–12, the time when we’re supposed to bring our troops home. The original spending estimates were far lower; this fact could be why the NDP never got the numbers. But even the spending estimates revealed in the public documents fail to tell the whole story. As Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page explained in his report, which was released during the federal election in October 2008, “the Government Estimates do not isolate the money allocated for the mission. Even if they did, the actual cost to the Crown will likely exceed the parliamentary appropriations due to accelerated depreciation of military assets in the theatre of war and incurred and unfunded liabilities due to the mission-specific deaths and disabilities already incurred or that may be incurred in the future.” In other words, we’re still not getting the real goods about Afghanistan—and perhaps we never will. What a sad commentary for a department and a government that promised to be more open. * David McKie edits Media, a quarterly magazine published by the Canadian Association of Journalists. He is the co-author of two journalism textbooks, a member of the CBC’s investigative unit and a frequent user of the federal access-to-information law and the provincial freedom-of-information laws. He can be reached at david_mckie@cbc.ca. 1 Timothy Appleby, “Self-Preservation Overrules Transparency,” Ottawa Citizen, September 24, 2007.

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{uncensored } A Brief

History of Comics Censorship in Canada

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By Brad Mackay

N THE SPRING OF 1954, the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency held public hearings in New York City to examine the influence that comic books were having on the youth of the day. The hearings took a turn into the history books thanks to testimony from psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham, author of The Seduction of the Innocent, who bore witness to what he believed was an undeniable link between crime and horror comics and immoral—and even illegal—behaviour in children. Faced with political pressure and public outrage, the U.S. comics industry introduced the Comics Code Authority (CCA): a self-regulatory body that oversaw rigorous guidelines for comics that included, for example, a ban on “excessive violence” and “wanton sexuality” along with portrayals of vampires, werewolves, ghosts or zombies. Although this incident of comics censorship became by far the most notorious, Americans were by no means alone in their efforts to vilify the pulpy and popular medium. In fact, Canadian politicians and religious groups beat their southern neighbours to the punch by a half-decade with an amendment to the Criminal Code that effectively banished crime and horror comics. This act marked the first chapter in Canada’s little-known—yet equally ignominious— history of comics censorship. 16

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CANADIAN BOYS IN 1949 The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo) photo collection

The spark that ignited Canada’s anticomics movement can be traced back to Dawson Creek, B.C., in November 1948. That’s when James Watson, a local farmer, was killed after two boys (aged 11 and 13) stole a rifle and started taking potshots at cars driving on the Alaska Highway. The subsequent police investigation blamed crime comics for supplying the wayward boys with inspiration for their crime. In the months that followed, public concern over comic books grew. In the December 1948 issue of Maclean’s magazine, American essayist John Mason Brown was quoted as saying, “Comic books are the marijuana of the nursery, the bane of the bassinet, the horror of the home, the curse of the kids and a threat to the future”—an opinion soon repeated in public forums across the

country. Even future Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, then aged 10, got into the spirit when he delivered a speech about the evils of comics at a public-speaking contest in Baie-Comeau, Que. (He won first prize.) The uproar also put wind in the sails of Edmund Davie (E.D.) Fulton, a Tory MP from Kamloops, B.C. A self-styled moral crusader, Fulton had unsuccessfully tried to introduce anti-comics legislation in the House of Commons the previous year but failed after the Liberal justice minister dismissed his claims of a causal link between reading crime comics and committing actual crimes. Suddenly, Fulton found public sentiment had swung in his favour and he reintroduced his private member’s bill in the House. Bill 10 (which became known as the Fulton Bill) was crafted as a major revi-


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2010 sion of Section 207 of the Criminal Code which dealt with obscenity in literature. Buttressed by carefully selected panels of American crime and horror comics, Fulton’s bill—which targeted the printing, distributing or selling of “crime comics”—was given first reading in the House of Commons in September 1949. It received unanimous approval in the House a few days later and, after the Senate referred it to a standing committee, was passed into law on December 10 by a Senate vote of 92–4. It stands as the only federal anti-comics law to ever pass in North America. Though only a handful of charges ever resulted from the legislation, the Fulton Bill proved remarkably effective. Fearing for their livelihoods, distributors and stores promptly stopped carrying the controversial product. In December 1950, on the one-year anniversary of the bill’s passing, a researcher for Toronto’s board of education claimed to have found no crime comics for sale anywhere in the city. The Fulton Bill, and indeed Fulton himself, would also play an influential role in the infamous anti-comics crusade south of the border. Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent contains numerous references to Canada’s censorship legislation (including a chapter entitled “Murder in Dawson Creek”) and is full of praise for Fulton and his efforts. The Tory MP and the doctor even struck up a friendship which led to Fulton’s appearance at the U.S. Senate Subcommittee in 1954. This ban on “obscene” comics endured for the better part of three decades but fell out of favour by the 1970s. One reason was the emergence of underground comix which were sold in head shops and therefore were not bound by the CCA. The next chapter in Canada’s crackdown on com-

ics would occur in the 1980s, but this one would be led not by blood-andthunder politicians but by Canada Customs officers. The fight began in the mid-1980s when Canada Customs began a concerted search for what officers considered “obscene” books, magazines, videos and comics. Their efforts became known in 1986, when Customs officers banned The Advocate (a gay magazine), which was bound for a gay-and-lesbian bookstore in Vancouver. That store, Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium, battled with Canada Customs for years; their dispute ended in the Supreme Court of Canada. During this time, hundreds of alternative comics (the heirs of underground comix) were also denied entry by Customs officers for being “obscene.” In 1987, the owner of a Calgary shop called Comic Legends was arrested for selling “obscene” comics to an undercover police officer. Three Canadian comics creators formed a non-profit group called the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund (CLLDF) to help pay the shop owner’s legal costs. The organization’s fundraising effort—the publication of anthologies of comics called The True North and The True North II—raised

Left: Dave Sim’s cover art for The True North II Image provided by the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund Right: Adrian Dingle’s cover art for WOW Comics No. 16 (1943) © Nelvana Ltd. Image obtained from Invaders of the North by John Bell (Dundurn Press, 2006)

thousands of dollars for comics shop owners who found themselves the targets of anti-obscenity charges. According to the CLLDF, dozens of comics were detained at the U.S.-Canada border over the years, including those by Gilbert Shelton (creator of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers), underground icon Robert Crumb and the respected cartoonist Will Eisner. Though the dark days of comics censorship in Canada are for the most part a thing of the past, censorship still takes place—albeit on a smaller scale. The Canada Border Services Agency (a new agency formed in 2003 to replace Canada Customs) still regularly targets adult comics, particularly adult or erotic comics and Japanese manga. * Brad Mackay is an Ottawa writer who has contributed to The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire and other publications. He is the co-editor of The Collected Doug Wright: Canada’s Master Cartoonist (Drawn and Quarterly, 2009). FREEDOM TO READ 2010

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The Paradox of the Digital Why Net Neutrality Matters

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By Wayne MacPhail

ERE’S THE PARADOX of the digital: as so many cultural artifacts convert from being composed of atoms to being conveyed by a meandering string of bits, the very people who care most about the analog artifacts are often blind to the rights and freedoms they lose during that relentless conversion. Maybe it’s not surprising. If you love books—the smell, the feel, the touch— your passion can translate into a disdain for e-readers, Shortcovers and Google Books. And that disdain can result in lack of interest and, in extreme cases, total ignorance. That’s unfortunate because it’s often not just the physical form that content shucks when it moves online; it’s often also the ease with which we can share, reuse and access that content that is left behind. The debates about net neutrality, digital rights management (DRM) and copyright are prime examples of issues that analog content lovers should be paying attention to, but often don’t. That’s a mistake. It doesn’t really matter if you’re an early adopter or fanboy of technology or a laggard or Luddite. It’s important that you give these issues your attention. Whether you like it or not, more content will move online, appear as electronic ilk and show up on the small, bright screens that you’ll hold in your palm. It would be a shame if you were to wake up in five years, start paying

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attention and realize that while you had been slumbering amidst the safe smell of aging paper and worn leather, your rights as a consumer and your freedoms as a reader had been stolen from under your bed. Let’s consider net neutrality, for example. For many people uninterested in the Web and its infrastructure, net neutrality is an arcane, uninteresting and confusing topic. Aware of this attitude, telcos and cable companies in Canada (often with the naive complicity of mainstream media) frame net neutrality as a white hat–black hat screenplay. In their version, the bad guys in the grubby 10-gallons are video pirates and pornographers who are using peerto-peer (P2P) networks to exchange massive video files of dubious legality and propriety. They are thieves, scofflaws and reprobates whose unquenchable thirst for stolen movies and smut is sucking up the Internet access of law-abiding suburbanites as if the bandwidth bandits were ShamWows in a puddle of Pepsi. Rogers and Bell add a backstory: the Internet has limited bandwidth, and their efforts to throttle (slow down) P2P file sharing is just another way that they are serving their customers better. Why? Because there is limited bandwidth to go around and the randy ruffians are taking it all for themselves. If you, like most Canadians, pay only peripheral attention to such matters, this casting of the scenario may seem reasonable. You may well view the telcos as the white hats, the Tom Mix or Gary

Cooper who strides alone into the dusty main street and guns down drunken thugs who are gorging themselves on the public trough of limited Internet access. But you’d be wrong. Net neutrality is more complex than that and, more importantly, the telcos got the hat colours mixed up. North America has lots of Internet bandwidth (a.k.a. dark fibre) to go around. It’s just that the telcos haven’t spent the money (a good chunk of it government subsidies) to create sufficient modern infrastructure to deliver it to your home. As proof, you need to look no further than the telcos’ and cable companies’ plans to deliver their own video content on-demand over the same “crowded” Internet. Or, look at the blistering Internet speeds available to our friends in Europe and Asia. It turns out that peer-to-peer file sharing is used for a lot more than just trading illegal porn and blockbusters. It’s used for exchanging high-resolution x-rays, rough cuts of indie bands’ own music and documentary film footage shipped digitally by the films’ creators. Why? Because P2P is an efficient way to share files, illegal or very often otherwise. It turns out that what often gets throttled by telcos and cable companies isn’t even P2P file sharing. It’s folks using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony services such as Skype or folks streaming live video content that they own and have paid good money to stream. And it turns out that the telcos and the cable companies will, if allowed, use the excuse of crowded, limited bandwidth to NET NEUTRALITY CONTINUED ON PAGE 19


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2010 On Being “SLAPPed” Around By Ron Brown

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ANY PUBLIC COMmentators and writers have been slapped with a lawsuit, but how many have been “SLAPPed” with one? Strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs, are lawsuits launched against either individuals or organizations who have spoken out in public or have written books or articles criticizing actions that affect the public interest. SLAPPs are often brought by corporations, real estate developers or even government agencies against those who speak out against them on public issues. Typically, SLAPPs are based on claims such as defamation or interference with possible profit. Sadly, in many authoritarian countries such public discussion often brings imprisonment or execution. Still, any effort to stifle free expression or public debate is offensive in a democracy. While SLAPPs may lack a legal basis, they nevertheless chill public debate on specific issues, and resisting a SLAPP requires money, time and legal resources which writers seldom enjoy. A SLAPP also sends a chill to others that they, too, may be sued if they write or

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slow down your access to online content if it doesn’t come from them or one of their corporate partners. In other words, they’re the ones with the grubby 10-gallon hats, and I bet they cheat at cards. Why does this matter? Because we get the Internet we deserve. Advocates of net neutrality argue that content on the Web should be treated neutrally. Whenever possible, it should be delivered efficiently and expediently regard-

speak about a particular public issue. SLAPPs may be launched in response to something as simple as writing a letter to a newspaper, but more often they are a response to reporting misconduct by public officials, speaking at public meetings, or writing books and articles which the offended party feels are too critical. In 2006, the Toronto Port Authority launched a lawsuit against a group known as Community Air, which opposed the Port Authority’s support for commercial air service at Toronto’s City Centre Airport. The suit, now withdrawn, claimed that the agency and its executive board had been defamed by comments posted on the advocacy group’s Web site. Community Air apologized and removed the wording from the Web site. An action has also been brought by Barrick Gold against Éditions Écosociété, a Quebec publisher, for comments in its book Noir Canada on gold mining in Africa. In the book, sources claim there have been abuses or even possible crimes committed by Canadian companies operating in Africa. As a result, the government of Quebec passed a bill which prohibits the use of SLAPPs to stifle public debate. In so doing, it follows the example of more than two dozen U.S. state jurisdic-

tions. In Canada, such legislation is the responsibility of provincial governments. Following legal action by an Ontario land developer against a community group which had opposed its development proposal at the Ontario Municipal Board, Andrea Horwath, now the leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party, introduced a private member’s bill for the same purpose. In her press release, Horwath stated, “When individuals and groups can be sued for millions of dollars simply because they take a public stand against unwanted developments in their communities, then something is terribly wrong.” The Writers’ Union of Canada has written the government of Ontario encouraging legislators to pass such legislation. Sadly, the government has shown no such inclination. Until they do, Ontario’s writers and public commentators and others across Canada risk being SLAPPed for using their right to free expression. Quebec alone stands as the sole protector against these actions. Vive le Quebec “libre.” * Ron Brown is the chair of the Rights and Freedoms Committee of the Writers’ Union of Canada.

less of origin, destination, creator, the application used to deliver it or whether the owner has a content deal with the carrier. There should be no highway for approved content and no slow dirt road for content of a lesser God. The Internet should be more like a public utility, advocates argue, and less like a sandbox for mainstream media and corporations. So you may love books or old videodiscs or vinyl records now, but inattention to the accelerating move toward

being able to find that content only online will mean there may well be a whole lot less to love on a Web that no longer serves your needs, rights and freedoms. And that’s an idea that should be throttled, not your bandwidth. * Wayne MacPhail has produced online content since the late 1980s. He teaches online journalism at Ryerson and Western universities and is the president of w8nc inc.

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Ban Overturned for Children’s Books Toronto Board Promises More Clarity for Approvals Process

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By Leah Sandals

OMETIMES, FREEDOM to read is limited by censorship. And sometimes, it is limited by a seemingly less sinister threat: administrative mishap. In the spring of 2009, the contrasts and connections between these different threats came to the fore in a dispute between children’s book author Ruowen Wang and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Wang, whose books are published under her own imprint, Kevin & Robin Books, seemed to be doing well at the time the conflict developed. Her books had received positive notices in CM, Resource Links and Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books. Wang had earned approved vendor status from the TDSB and had successfully exhibited at ward book fairs. A number of her books were already in TDSB libraries, the Toronto Public Library and other libraries nationwide. The conflict seems to have been set off when Wang, in a self-directed marketing initiative, sent one copy of each of her 12 books to more than 400 TDSB libraries. She also enclosed a form explaining that the books were for librarians’ consideration. If librarians wished to keep the books, they were requested to send payment. If librarians did not wish to keep the books, they were directed to contact Wang for no-charge pickup. In retrospect, Wang admits that the move was a bit “cocky.” “I was confident in my readers,” she explains over the phone. “At book shows, teachers and Left: Ajay by Ruowen Wang and illustrated by Hechen Yu. (Published by Kevin & Robin Books, 2008) Right: Little Wen: “I Want to See About That” by Ruowen Wang and illustrated by Wei Xu. (Published by Kevin & Robin Books, 2008)

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principals would often order one copy of each of my books. So I thought, okay, if that’s the case, why not send the books to schools with an order form?” Wang says that in the first few days of her marketing endeavour, she got 35 contacts asking her to speak at schools or placing book orders. Then she got a call from the TDSB saying that all her books had been banned from its libraries. Wang’s follow-up calls and e-mail over the next two months were tersely answered. Little explanation was provided as to why the ban was enacted or how to resolve it. It wasn’t until the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) intervened with a July e-mail to the board’s newly installed director of education, Chris Spence, that the board responded at length. The board indicated that it had a problem with only two of Wang’s books and that the remaining 10 were approved for librarians to acquire at their own discretion. In July, Wang and Karen Sun, the executive director of the CCNC’s Toronto Chapter, met Lloyd McKell, the TDSB’s executive officer of student and com-

munity equity. McKell pinpointed the TDSB’s concerns: the stereotypical depiction of an African-Canadian woman in an illustration in Ajay and the use of the term “mommy’s boy” in the text in Little Wen 2. In a phone interview, McKell admits that the board “should probably take some responsibility” for miscommunication regarding a ban and the resulting conflict. He hopes that the difficult incident provides a “teachable moment” for the board. To prevent future conflicts of this nature, McKell is promising more clarity around TDSB book review and approval guidelines, with related information to be posted on the TDSB Web site for authors and publishers this year. He also says sending multiple books at once raises the most red flags for board review. (Single books, he suggests, might still be best reviewed by individual librarians.) Though the incident is now largely resolved—Wang has agreed to change the contentious items in those two books in their next print runs—some express concern at how badly the board BAN OVERTURNED CONTINUED ON PAGE 21


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2010 Finding New Grounds to Defend Challenged Novels in Schools By Darlene Montgomery and Anne Jayne

an assigned book, the teacher works with the family to select an alternative. Censors seek to go much further: they want to decide what other people’s children and teenagers are allowed to read within the school.

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VERY YEAR, NEW LISTS of banned and challenged books include additional titles for children and young adults. In 2007, Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass was challenged because, as the critics saw it, the book undermined faith in God and organized religion, and the author was an atheist. At least three Catholic school boards, including the Calgary board, removed the novel from classrooms and libraries, or limited access to it, pending review. Why are young adult and children’s novels so frequently the target of censors? First, many people have strong opinions about the suitability of certain books for young readers. Second, censors have access to a formal complaint process that offers the possibility that the offending book will be removed from schools and the near certainty that the public will be alerted to a “bad book,” if the censors want publicity. Censors

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handled the situation in the first place. “I think there was a serious breakdown in communication in their own bureaucracy,” says Karen Sun. “This author was trying to get people to talk to her for two months, and she was given a generic three-line response saying all her books were banned. Even if she may have been talking to the wrong people [in the business section instead of the equity section], she was never redirected properly. The process seemed completely unstructured and ad hoc.”

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. Cover illustration by Tomer Hanuka. Illustration © 2008. Published by Scholastic Inc. Used by permission.

have little success with complaints in public libraries and virtually none with booksellers. For censors, the only game in town is the school. Parents have both a right and a responsibility to guide their own children. In Alberta, if parents object to

Others worry about the potentially negative consequences of a more centralized review process in the future. “If it’s gate-keeping, it’s a problem,” says Rick Wilks, director of Annick Press. “You don’t want a small number of people to be arbiters of public taste. Librarians should be making the decision—nobody else.” Wilks also notes that administrative mishap can sometimes be used as a cover-up. “What happens is that people will rarely come out and say, ‘I won’t have

When the battle over the challenged book is joined, the censors and the advocates for the book often focus their attention on the merits of the book. However, there is a resource that may prove to be useful to the advocates: the guidelines developed by the school systems, either at the provincial or district level, on the selection of novels. Advocates for the retention, acquisition or approval of a novel should determine whether these guidelines offer additional grounds to support the book. For example, in Alberta, the provincial guidelines address criteria for the selection of novels. School districts may adopt local guidelines. What are the criteria? Teachers examine novels for their relevance to students, their potential to NEW GROUNDS CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

this book in my library,’” he says. “It’s much more subtle than that. [They’ll say something] like ‘It’s misshelved,’ or ‘It was signed out and never brought back.’” With some books, you run into these issues more than you run into out-andout censorship, he says. How these factors play out in future board disputes remains to be seen. * Leah Sandals is an arts writer and editor based in Toronto. She contributes regularly to the National Post, NOW and Canadianart.ca.

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NEW GROUNDS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21

engage students in critical thinking, the timelessness of their themes and the richness of the author’s writing style. They comment in depth upon the novel’s characterizations, conflict, plot, setting, theme, illustrations, curriculum fit, appropriateness to the particular grades and readability. Teachers also evaluate and address any social considerations of the novel. These include the treatment in the novel of age, gender roles, Aboriginal peoples, multiculturalism, gender identity, ability and disability, belief systems, socioeconomic status, violence, ethical and legal issues, humour, safety and language. Books that include potentially controversial or offensive elements may be accepted. The Calgary Board of Education’s guidelines emphasize that “recommended resources should encourage understanding, support positive social attitudes, and promote respect for diversity and human rights ... The intent is not to remove controversy; but rather, flag controversial views and opinions so that teachers and teacher-librarians using this resource can engage students in a discussion of these issues.” Challenging a book makes it a controversial book. No matter how much heat the challenge generates, it ought not to be a factor in the final decision, under the CBE policy. In keeping with this approach, the provincial list of approved titles includes challenged books such as John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, W.D.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1996)

Myers’s Fallen Angels and The Golden Compass. Both the province and the CBE make it easier for teachers to propose titles for approval as support resources. The list is available online to teachers and the public. As titles are vetted and added to the list, the teacher has a growing repertoire of resources to consider. This fact may both motivate and trouble would-be censors. They can monitor what is allowed in the classrooms. However, as more novels are approved, censors may find it increasingly difficult to convince school authorities to strike a title from that list. After all, when the collection is diverse,

FOR A LIST OF BOOKS AND MAGAZINES RECENTLY CHALLENGED IN CANADA

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then almost every book is likely to offend somebody. It makes little sense to whittle the approved list to a meagre few that offend no one. Those who support freedom to read would do well to review their school guidelines. If they are concerned about the existing guidelines, they should raise the issue with the appropriate school officials. Ideally, school systems should be transparent in developing and disclosing guidelines. Advocates can move beyond a goodor-bad discussion by demonstrating that the book not only has literary merit but also fits well within the guidelines. If so, why censor it? While the Calgary Catholic school board initially withdrew The Golden Compass, the board later accepted the recommendations of the review committee and returned the book to their schools. The committee urged teachers to consult instruction guides on the book and use a “carefully planned approach” to teaching the novel. Perhaps the school board recognized that readers, including students, interpret novels in their own way. For example, see the book review by Madison Galloway, who read this novel when she was in Grade 9, on page 36. * Anne Jayne is the chair of the Calgary Freedom to Read Week Committee. She is a writer, lawyer, civil libertarian and bookseller. Darlene Montgomery recently retired from the Calgary Board of Education where she worked for 38 years as a teacher and specialist in secondary English language arts.


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Meanwhile in Quebec . . .

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By Charles Montpetit

OULD-BE CENSORS got to a roaring start in the very first minutes of 2009 when Société Radio-Canada’s annual year-in-review comedy show, Bye Bye 2008, prompted more than 2,000 people to complain to the CRTC. Amongst them, the president of the Ligue des noirs du Québec, Dan Philip, focused on two sketches. In the first, a newsman who had bungled an interview with Paul McCartney a few months earlier was impersonated as asking Barack Obama about the size of his manhood. In the second, a parody of far-right extremists had them say that, due to high contrast, “a Negro in the White House will be easier to shoot.” (Philip claimed that “the word Negro [nègre] has been banned all over the world.”) The CRTC ruled against the broadcaster, and the SRC announced that public reactions will be “kept in mind when making decisions regarding future programs of this type.” The federal government also created quite a stir with its decision to fund a re-enactment of the 1759 victory of the English troops over the French on the very plains where the battle had taken place. Pro-independence activists such as writer-filmmaker Pierre Falardeau (who was no stranger to being censored) vowed to turn the show into “a nightmare” if it wasn’t cancelled outright. It was. Interestingly enough, federalists issued similar threats over another commemorative event: the Moulin à paroles’ public reading of 156 historical texts, from General James Wolfe’s letters to the infamous FLQ manifesto that the SRC had aired during the October Crisis of 1970. But while the government refused

La Caisse dans tous ses états by Mario Pelletier (Carte blanche, 2009)

to fund the series and Liberal politicians disassociated themselves from it, that show occurred as planned, backed by the same pleas to “remember the past” that defenders of the re-enactment had used in vain. Meanwhile, Ici columnist Michel Vézina was fired in January for refusing to sign Québécor’s new contract, which asked freelancers to give up all of their rights. His last article, which explained his decision on January 29, was also altered to convey the impression that he had quit. In fact, he stated that he’d have signed on “if it had been clearly stated that his column wouldn’t be used to fill [Québécor’s] Journal de Montreal,” whose reporters were locked out. Then there was morning trash-DJ Sylvain Bouchard, of CJMF-FM in Quebec City, who asked Grade 10 students of the course Éthique et culture religieuse to rip out a page from their workbooks about Françoise David, a women’s rights

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militant and co-leader of the Québec Solidaire party. Bouchard urged youngsters to reject this “socialist brainwashing” and “communist propaganda” by “left-wing pro-union teachers.” Kids who sent him the page were eligible for a Guitar Hero videogame draw, which did take place. David, whom the DJ called a “Soviet,” felt libelled and filed a complaint with the CRTC in February. (Coincidentally, a few Catholic parents whose kids were to take that same course sued for exemptions, arguing that exposure to an overview of other religions would be “perturbing.” They lost, as it was shown that John Paul II and Quebec bishops actually supported such classes.) Finally, on May 5, Mario Pelletier’s book La Caisse dans tous ses états ripped the lid off Canada’s top pension fund, Quebec’s Caisse de dépôt et placement. When the author turned down calls for a retraction, publisher Carte blanche got cold feet and kept the book off store shelves for the next four days. Sales then resumed without a hitch.

NOIR CANADA UPDATE On June 3, 2009, the provincial government passed Bill 9, which lets judges toss out strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) if they feel that such intimidation attempts to stifle important debates. Whether this law will save the authors of Noir Canada (who are being sued for libel by Barrick Gold and Banro Corporation) remains to be seen. Until the issue is settled, Vancouver’s Talonbooks is postponing the release of an English translation. * Charles Montpetit is the freedom of expression co-ordinator for the Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ). For more information, e-mail him at cmontpetit@hotmail.com.

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Award-Winning Activists and Writers of 2009

LYDIA CACHO On November 19, 2009, Lydia Cacho received PEN Canada’s One Humanity Award. The award recognizes an author whose writing reflects “honesty, good judgment and a courageous belief in the peaceful expression of ideas.” A $5,000 prize accompanies the award. Cacho is a journalist and an activist in Mexico. In 2005, she published a book called Los demonios del Edén: El poder que protege a la pornografia infantil (The Demons of Eden: The Power That Protects Child Pornography). The book is an exposé of child abuse and pornography rings in Cancun. As a result, Cacho was sued for criminal defamation in 2005 by one of the businessmen named in the book. Cacho was also detained and, she says, threatened by Mexican police. In 2007, Cacho was cleared of all charges of defamation, but she remains the target of threats and harassment. “Lydia Cacho is a writer of extraordinary courage, and we are proud to honour her with the PEN Canada One Humanity Award,” said Ellen Seligman, president of PEN Canada. “She continues to put herself at great risk on behalf of vulnerable children and women and in the defence of freedom of expression in Mexico.”

JILA BANIYAGHOUB, NOVAYA GAZETA AND TERRY GOULD On October 14, 2009, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) named Jila Baniyaghoub and Novaya Gazeta as recipients of International Press Freedom Awards. Each award recognizes extraordinary courage and tenacity in reporting the news. Jila Baniyaghoub is an Iranian journalist. She edits a Web site

called Kanoon Zanan Irani (Focus on Iranian Women) and writes about politics for a newspaper called Sarmayeh. For her critical reportage and defiance of censorship, Baniyaghoub has been beaten and imprisoned several times. Novaya Gazeta is one of the few news agencies in Russia that has remained independent of state control. Novaya Gazeta’s reporters investigate corruption and human rights abuses. Four of its staff members have been murdered. Others have been monitored, interrogated and arrested by the police. On October 14, CJFE also named Terry Gould as the recipient of the Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award. This award recognizes a Canadian journalist who assumes personal risk or suffers reprisals while attempting to report the repression or censorship of the news media. Gould, a freelance journalist, recently published Murder Without Borders: Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places. The book portrays the lives of seven journalists around the globe who were murdered for their reportage. At great risk, Gould travelled to their homelands to interview their families, friends and sometimes even their killers. “The journalists and the news outlet that we are honouring this year have defiantly stood their ground to report the news despite great personal risk, the threat of persecution and daunting circumstances,” said Carol Off, chair of CJFE’s awards committee. “The honourees’ steadfast devotion to journalistic integrity and freedom of the press gives us hope that we can battle the culture of impunity that threatens journalists around the world.”

DANIEL LEBLANC Photos from left: JILA BANIYAGHOUB Photo provided by CJFE; KIM BOLAN Photo by Frances Bula; TERRY GOULD Photo provided by Terry Gould

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On May 5, 2009, Daniel Leblanc of The Globe and Mail won the Press Freedom Award of the Canadian Committee for World


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2010 Press Freedom. The award, and a cash prize of $2,000, was presented in Ottawa. The Globe and Mail nominated Leblanc for his willingness to risk legal penalties for refusing to name a confidential source. In 2004, Leblanc wrote news stories about the federal sponsorship scandal; one of his sources, dubbed MaChouette, provided information for stories that helped prompt the official investigation of Justice John Gomery into the fraud. “Daniel’s willingness to risk judicial censure by protecting MaChouette is an example of considerable journalistic and personal courage,” said The Globe and Mail. “Thanks to his stand, sources who expose misconduct in the future will be able to rest a little easier that their identities will remain protected.”

KIM BOLAN On April 28, 2009, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) named Kim Bolan as the winner of the Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada. Bolan reports for The Vancouver Sun. She is famous for her news coverage of the Air India bombing of 1985 and of the lengthy investigation and trial that followed. She is the author of Loss of Faith: How the Air-India Bombers Got Away With Murder. “Ms. Bolan’s enduring commitment to intellectual freedom in this country, as evidenced by 25 years of renowned reportage on minority, women’s, education and social services issues, sometimes in the face of death threats, makes her a most deserving recipient of this award,” said Kenneth Gariepy of the CLA’s Advisory Committee on Intellectual Freedom.

GARRY RYAN On February 27, 2009, Garry Ryan received the Calgary Freedom of Expression Award. The annual award, which is sponsored by Fast Forward Weekly, recognizes outstanding contributions to the arts in Calgary. Ryan is an author of mystery novels. In his fiction, he examines prejudice and homophobia in ways that challenge stereotypes. Ryan is also a retired teacher of English and creative writing. He encouraged secondary school students to express their own ideas, find their own voices and speak their own truths. Ian Chiclo, Fast Forward Weekly’s publisher, presented the award at Owl’s Nest Books. Chiclo is one of Ryan’s former students.

NANCY FLEMING On February 25, 2009, the Writers’ Union of Canada posthumously awarded its annual Freedom to Read Award to Nancy Fleming at a gala at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Fleming was the executive director of the Book and Periodical Council from 1979 to 1999. In 1984, she helped launch Freedom

RON BROWN (right) of the Writers’ Union of Canada presents the Freedom to Read Award. SUSANNAH and PETER FLEMING accept the award on behalf of NANCY FLEMING. Photo provided by TWUC

to Read Week. In 2002, she was named a co-recipient of the CLA’s Award for the Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada. She died in 2008. “Nancy Fleming was a tireless foe of anyone who tried to limit the rights of Canadians to read or to write what they wished,” said Wayne Grady, chair of the writers’ union. “Her years of fighting censorship have earned her this award. Although she has sadly passed on, her energy continues to drive Freedom to Read Week.”

MICHAEL GEIST On January 30, 2009, the Ontario Library Association (OLA) bestowed its Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award on Michael Geist. The award usually recognizes libraries and librarians who defend patrons’ access to information. Geist, however, is the first non-librarian to receive the award. He is a professor of law at the University of Ottawa and a specialist in Internet and e-commerce law. He received the award for his advocacy work on copyright reform. In 2007, Geist led a public protest against the federal government’s proposed reform of copyright law. He argued that the government’s proposals would devastate consumers’ technology rights. He started a popular Facebook group called Fair Copyright for Canada to educate people. Geist’s activism influenced the government to rethink its copyright bill. “I am sometimes asked whether those arguing for fair copyright are [interested] only in free access,” said Geist. “This award recognizes that it is not about free. It is about freedom.” The OLA’s award is named after Les Fowlie, a former chief librarian of the Toronto Public Library and a principled defender of intellectual freedom. Geist received his award at the OLA’s Super Conference in Toronto. * FREEDOM TO READ 2010

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Sustaining Freedom of Inquiry at the Campus Library

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By Toni Samek

IBRARIANS LAG behind their faculty colleagues in salary, control over workload, academic freedom protection, and research and teaching opportunities, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). Fostering greater understanding of the importance of academic status for librarians is a key condition for helping academic staff associations negotiate parallel salary scales and achieve convergent collective agreement language for librarians and faculty. Sustaining freedom of inquiry at the campus library in the years to come could also depend upon such progress. Without it, librarians will be hampered in their efforts to oppose the censoring, filtering and diverting of information, and they will be hampered in their ability to critique workplace conditions that might interfere with those important professional duties. The Canadian Library Association (CLA) states “that libraries and the principles of intellectual freedom and free universal access to information are key components of an open and democratic society.”1 Its Statement on Intellectual Freedom underscores how “all persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation’s Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly.” It adds that “libraries have a basic responsibility

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for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.”2 While the CLA has no special statement on intellectual freedom for the academic library, we can look to the larger and older American Library Association (ALA) for guiding words to inform our practices. For example, the ALA says that “a strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community.” As such, the ALA outlines how and where intellectual freedom principles fit into academic libraries, “thereby raising consciousness of the intellectual freedom context within which academic librarians work.”3 This helpful information is encoded in the ALA’s 2000 statement entitled “Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.” Its key directives are summarized below: • Collections, services and policies should serve the entire academic community and contain materials that represent diverse and controversial views on subjects. • Patron confidentiality is inviolable. • The preservation and replacement of library materials should be balanced; controversial materials should not be removed from collections. • Libraries should monitor the efforts of special interest groups who try to negatively influence a collection through systematic theft or mutilation. • When negotiating technology licensing agreements, librarians should press for terms that maximize access to databases.

• Access to the Internet should be convenient and unfiltered. • Library exhibits should reflect freedom of information and creative expression. • Library meeting rooms, research carrels, exhibit spaces, etc., should be available regardless of the scholarship pursued or subject discussed. • Whenever possible, free library services should encourage inquiry. • The service philosophy should afford equal access to information. • The library should ensure due process for dealing with people who seek to remove or add library resources, exhibits or services. The surest way to ensure that such practice is fully realized on campuses is for the librarians themselves to benefit from and practise intellectual freedom inside their institutional culture. Within the academic library sector, model collective agreement language includes the right and responsibility of academic freedom. But even with good language, academic freedom can be thwarted. Attaining and sustaining model language as we witness job protections being diluted in the twenty-first-century labour force was a major theme of the CAUT 2009 Librarians Conference. The CAUT asserts that “academic freedom is the life blood of the modern university. It is the right to teach, learn, study and publish free of orthodoxy or threat of reprisal and discrimination. It includes the right to criticize the university and the right to participate in its governance. Tenure provides a foundation for academic freedom by ensuring that academic staff cannot be dismissed without just cause and rigorous due process.”4 CAMPUS LIBRARY CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


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2010 Book Profile

Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights By Ezra Levant (McClelland & Stewart, 2009) Reviewed by Franklin Carter ON FEBRUARY 13, 2006, the Western Standard rolled off the printing presses in Edmonton. The magazine carried a story about the furor over a Danish newspaper’s publication of 12 cartoons of Mohammed. The Western Standard hit the newsstands as Muslims—angered by this “blasphemy”—rioted across Asia. To illustrate its story, the Western Standard reprinted eight of the cartoons. The publisher, Ezra Levant, defended the act as a routine editorial decision. But a few Muslims in Alberta accused the magazine of inciting hatred against them and complained to the provincial human rights commission. Over the next 29 months, Levant fought to prevent being subjected to a fine, a gag order and a forced apology. He prevailed—one man dropped

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“University and college librarians play an integral role in the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge,” the CAUT adds. “They have an important responsibility to instruct faculty and staff in the availability and use of library resources that are essential to the academic mission of their institutions” and that “academic librarians are full partners with faculty members in the scholarly and intellectual functions of universities and colleges. Librarians have the right to participate fully in the academic mission of their institutions.”5 Quality higher education on our campuses relies partly on academic freedom for academic librarians—and

his complaint and the commission dismissed another—but Levant had to spend $100,000 to pay his legal bills. He won a pyrrhic victory. Levant tells his story in Shakedown. He also argues that human rights commissions jeopardize Canadians’ speech and press rights. The commissions do not always dismiss nuisance complaints; they do not adequately protect the rights of the accused; and disputes often grind on for years. To avoid getting caught in time-consuming and costly dispute resolutions, Canadians must avoid offending potential complainants. Canadians must censor themselves. Shakedown is a provocative book. It argues for legal reforms to better protect free expression. And Canadians are paying attention to the message. In 2009, Shakedown became a bestseller in Canada.* on those willing to protect it. In “Who Defends Intellectual Freedom for Librarians?” published in Academe Online in September 2009, John Buschman writes: “Academic and intellectual freedom in the library workplace is, primarily, a rhetorical value and an object lesson to those who take academic freedom for granted or misunderstand it. It is a reality only for those librarians fortunate enough to be faculty members—and to be taken seriously as such.” 6 * Toni Samek is a professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta and serves on CAUT’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.

Shakedown by Ezra Levant (McClelland & Stewart, 2009)

1 CLA Mission, Values, and Operating Principles http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm? Section=Mission_ Values_andamp_Operating_Principles&Template=/CM/ HTMLDisplay cfm&ContentID=3076

2 CLA Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Position_ Statements&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay. cfm&ContentID=3047

3 ALA Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statement spols/statementsif/interpretations/intellectual.cfm

4 CAUT Issues and Campaigns: Academic Freedom http://www.caut.ca/pages.asp?page=140

5 CAUT Issues and Campaigns: Librarians and Libraries http://www.caut.ca/pages.asp?page=219

6 John Buschman: Who Defends Academic Freedom for Librarians? http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2009/ SO/Feat/busc.htm

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Free Expression Victories of 2009 By Julie Payne

pants to expand their advocacy work and strengthen the network’s impact through a week of seminars, training, resource exchange and collaboration. Attendees remarked that they met with media organizations from Russia and the Philippines and networked with organizations such as the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in Africa.

Year-end reports often focus on the free expression battles we face, the journalists we’ve lost and the challenges of the future. This year, we’re going

In terms of better legislation, there were some surprises. Brazil struck down an archaic press law. And on November 12, 2009, the British government formally decriminalized defamation, repealing the criminal offences of sedition and seditious libel, defamatory libel and obscene libel in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

to take a different tack and look instead at some of the victories, steps forward and freedoms gained in 2009. GOOD NEWS AT HOME In Canada, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) kicked off the year with the creation of a new fellowship for Latin American journalists and, in September 2009, we welcomed the first Scotiabank/CJFE Fellow to his home for four months at Massey College at the University of Toronto. Eric Lemus is a Salvadoran journalist who divides his time between LaPagina.com, a new online project, and BBC Mundo. We hope that this program will help build bridges between Canadian journalists and our colleagues in Latin America. Over the summer, we experienced once again the great generosity of Canadians when CJFE worked on two very different fundraising campaigns as part of our Journalists in Distress program. One campaign raised funds to help the family of an Afghan journalist who had been killed, and the other helped bring an aspiring young journalist from Zimbabwe to Canada to pursue his master’s degree in journalism at Carleton University. Most of the donors had never met these journalists, but they opened their hearts and wallets to help them.

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ERIC LEMUS Photo by Lidija Sabados

A different kind of victory was won by the hacktivists at Citizen Lab. This year, among other achievements, they uncovered the workings of a cyber ring which they labelled “GhostNet.” The cyber ring’s main targets appear to be governments, news media and social activists connected to Tibet. The Citizen Lab team, based in Toronto, documented a cyber espionage network of more than 1,295 infected computers in 103 countries. This kind of discovery is the result of their hard work and vigilance. They now track online censorship in 71 countries.

ON THE WORLD STAGE In June 2009, IFEX—the global free expression network (which is managed by CJFE and based in Canada)—held the world’s biggest freedom of expression conference in Norway. It was a huge success with more than 500 writers, journalists, artists and activists in attendance. The event enabled partici-

In 2009, we welcomed the longawaited release of Burmese journalist U Win Tin who had been jailed for 19 years. In Iran, journalists Roxana Sabieri and Maziar Bahari were released, thanks in part to sustained international campaigns on their behalf. And in Afghanistan, Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, the young journalism student who was first sentenced to death and then to 20 years in prison for downloading an article about the rights of women in Islam, was pardoned and released. Of course, for every success we celebrate, we remember the many journalists still in prison in Burma and Iran and kidnapped in Pakistan and Somalia. We remember how far we are from securing full free expression rights for citizens in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea and China. But we also need to recognize the common thread that runs through all of these successes: when we work together, we are stronger and we can achieve real change. * Julie Payne is the manager of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression in Toronto.


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Min Sook Lee’s Sedition

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By Charles Foran

in Sook Lee is a filmmaker in Toronto. Although born in Korea, Lee, now 31, grew up “in the convenience store” her parents owned in the Annex neighbourhood of downtown Toronto. Her documentaries include El Contrato, Hogtown, Tiger Spirit and Toxic Baby. The last-named film explores hazards in baby products. In 2007, PEN Canada used a grant from the Ontario Arts Foundation to commission Lee to make a documentary that would explore young people’s experiences of free expression. Sedition, Lee’s engrossing 15-minute film about two spoken word artists, has now been distributed along with a curriculumbased study guide to teachers around Ontario. Sedition has also played at film festivals in Canada and abroad. C.F. How did you discover Boonaa Mohammed and Rafeef Ziadah, the spoken word artists featured in the film? M.S.L. What’s great about this project is that PEN Canada was open to all kinds of ideas. What they wanted was something concerning writers who raise issues of freedom of expression in their work. What does it mean to be outspoken? To break boundaries, barriers, using words? I knew Boonaa and Rafeef from issue-oriented events around Toronto. Rafeef is really active in human rights issues and Boonaa was then involved in the youth cabinet at city hall. As a filmmaker, I was attracted to their performance styles. Both show huge charisma on stage and marry that with deep personal politics. They are equally compelling on screen, on stage and in person. C.F. Was capturing the energy of spoken word hard? M.S.L. One thing I didn’t do was film them performing live. It was a short shoot, and neither had performances scheduled during the period. Instead, I invited them to recite their poetry in a studio setting. Because there was no live material, aside from a little footage of Boonaa in concert, I had to think about a lyrical, poetic way to convey what they do. There were ways to shoot and cut images that underscore key points in the poems. I was trying to create something that would work alongside their live performances. C.F. You’ve said elsewhere that your agenda in Sedition was political education, but done by “engaging issues by the heart.” Is this different when a film is being made for young viewers? M.S.L. In my opinion, no. The political is always personal. When I think about what politics means to me, it’s not ideological. It’s about personal stories, individual humanity. That’s the

BOONAA MOHAMMED in Sedition by Min Sook Lee

root of how you get people engaged in what we call “political issues.” Real people, real stories, real truths. Kids see through a lot of the bullshit of political messaging. They have radar. If you want to reach youths who are bombarded with mixed messages every day, you do so by being honest. Both Boonaa and Rafeef have that rawness and that integrity. When Boonaa has that line where he says “I’m not that stupid” about black youths and dropout rates in high schools, he is naming a truth that these kids know from their own lives. Boonaa is more Torontocentric in his political concerns; Rafeef is more international. Tel Aviv, Palestine: these places are another planet for most young people. I thought they were a very interesting marriage. Boonaa, on the surface, was loud and unpredictable. Rafeef’s story was quieter, but there was a depth, a substance, that was just as compelling. Put together, they make those international headlines easier to relate to lives in the city. And that is our reality in Toronto and in Canada. We have people of every language and background in our school systems, and you can’t ever erase your cultural memory. Sometimes there is pressure put on immigrant kids to integrate, a pressure that amounts to a kind of cultural lobotomy. Well, who does belong here in the city, and what is appropriate? * Charles Foran is vice-president of PEN Canada and an author. PEN Canada is an association of writers and supporters who defend freedom of expression. Sedition is available for educational use through McNabb Connolly distributors or for personal use from PEN Canada at www.pencanada.ca.

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Book Profile

Murder Without Borders:

Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places By Terry Gould (Random House Canada, 2009)

A

Reviewed by Richard Swift

s a writer and editor covering international stories, I have been on occasion exposed to a small modicum of danger—on the West Bank and during the war in the Horn of Africa, for example. But unlike the journalists described in Terry Gould’s Murder Without Borders, I have never been a target. I can’t imagine coping with the terror of knowing that some people are bent on eliminating you just for doing your job. They know where you live, who your friends and family are, your daily routines and the kinds of stories you work on. They also have “protection” because they are allied with local (and sometimes national) political figures and the police. They can act with impunity. With little consequence, they can have someone eliminated who is a threat or even just a nuisance. Gould does a good job of telling the

FOR A CHRONOLOGY OF BOOK BANNINGS AND BURNINGS IN WORLD HISTORY

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Murder Without Borders by Terry Gould (Random House Canada, 2009)

stories of seven journalists who paid with their lives for refusing to back down in such circumstances. They came from several countries: Colombia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Russia and Iraq. With one exception (the Moscowbased Anna Politkovskaya), you have probably never heard of them. They toiled on the margins of journalism, sometimes setting up their own newspapers and newsletters to make sure the word got out. They were poor and committed. But they weren’t saints: a couple were egomaniacs, another was an outrageous “ladies’ man,” another was a porn addict, and one was willing to engage in dubious activities in the grey economy to support his publication. They lived messy, difficult lives. But they were all stubborn and difficult to bribe or intimidate. Gould sets out to discover what made

them tick. He weaves their personal and family stories with the often brutal histories of the places where they practised their craft. He draws well such settings as the Khulna region of Bangladesh where the Sundarban forests are threatened by illegal loggers and shrimpers, and the sprawling city of Togliatti—what used to be “Socialism’s Detroit”—where the Russian mob has a stranglehold on car production. In Togliatti, Valery Ivanov and Alexei Sidorov set up their own paper—The Observer—to unmask the rip-offs of the newly privatized car industry. Similarly, Guillermo Bravo Vega in the Colombian jungle town of Neiva set up his Eco Impacto because the mainstream media refused to print his stories on the network of narco-traffickers, right-wing death squads and their political protectors. It seems there is something to the notion that freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. Most (but not all) of Gould’s journalists had left-wing leanings. All shared an outrage at how the ordinary person was being bilked and victimized. These journalists were “embedded” in an entirely different sense than the well-paid war correspondents of the foreign press were embedded; they were embedded in their communities and worked to tell the untold stories of those communities with truth and conviction. They paid with their lives. They all knew the rewards of compliance and the dangers of dissent. As Guillermo Bravo Vega was warned: “Retract your document. Silver if you do. Lead if you don’t.” * Richard Swift is a former editor of the New Internationalist magazine.


Challenged Books and Magazines The list below features some titles that have been challenged in Canada. Challenges often do not result in bans, but sometimes they do. For more information about these titles and our challenged publications list, please visit www.freedomtoread.ca.

Adult Fiction

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess Different Seasons by Stephen King The Diviners by Margaret Laurence Embracing Skeletons by Peter Turnbull Faun and Games by Piers Anthony In the Heat of the Night by John Ball Jokes Men Only Tell Other Men by Yuk Yuk’s Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro Man Sitting in a Corridor by Marguerite Duras Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck The New York City Bartender’s Joke Book by Jimmy Pritchard The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez Takes One to Know One by Kate Allen The Turner Diaries by William Pierce Twenty-Seven Bones by Jonathan Nasaw The Wars by Timothy Findley The Young in One Another’s Arms by Jane Rule

Adult Non-Fiction

Banksters and Prairie Boys by Monier M. Rahall Black Looks by bell hooks Color Psychology and Color Therapy by Faber Birren Final Exit by Derek Humphry Gay Ideas by Richard Mohr Hitler’s War by David Irving The Homoerotic Photograph by Allen Ellenzweig Jane magazine Lethal Marriage by Nick Pron Outlaw Representation by Richard Meyer Paul Kagame and Rwanda by Colin M. Waugh Pornography by Andrea Dworkin Rolling Stone magazine Scrambled Brains by Pierre LeBlanc and Robin Konstabaris Suffer Little Children by Dereck O’Brien Vue Weekly Waging War From Canada by Mike Pearson Wallpaper magazine Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin Written in the Flesh by Edward Shorter

Young Adult and Children’s Books

The Adventures of Tintin: The Blue Lotus by Hergé And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell Ani Croche by Bertrand Gauthier Asha’s Mums by Rosamund Elwin and Michele Paulse Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block CHALLENGED CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Seal Books, 1998)

The Handmaid’s Tale BY MARGARET ATWOOD In 2008, Robert Edwards challenged the use of this novel in his son’s high school in Toronto. The novel, which won a Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 1985, depicts a theocracy that oppresses women in a future North America. Edwards said that the profanity in the book, the scenes of sexual brutality and the anti-Christian theme probably violated the Toronto District School Board’s policy of promoting respect and tolerance. Edwards’s son was assigned another novel—Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World—to study. The school board created a committee to review The Handmaid’s Tale. The committee recommended that the novel continue to be used as an option in English classes and that the novel was “most appropriate for study in Grades 11 and 12.” In 2009, Director of Education Gerry Connelly accepted both recommendations.

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To Kill a Mockingbird BY HARPER LEE In 2009, this novel about racial strife in Alabama faced two challenges in Ontario. First, a parent in Brampton complained to the principal of St. Edmund Campion Secondary School. She didn’t want her son in Grade 10 reading a book with the word nigger in it. Principal Kevin McGuire withdrew the book from Grade 10 English classes. Then, in Toronto, a parent objected to the novel’s use at Malvern Collegiate Institute but did not file a formal complaint. The novel stayed in English classes. To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961. In Canada, the novel is a staple of high school English literature courses. But it has faced challenges in schools in St. John, N.B. (1991), Hamilton, Ont. (1993) and southwestern Nova Scotia (2002). To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2002)

Lady Chatterley’s Lover BY D.H. LAWRENCE In 1959, police in Montreal raided three newsstands to confiscate copies of a new unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The novel, which was originally published in 1928, tells the story of a sexual affair between a British lady and her gamekeeper. In Montreal, the police charged the newsdealers—Larry Brodie, Joseph Dansky and George Rubin—with possession of obscene material. The dispute went to court. In 1960, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the police had been justified in seizing the novel because it was obscene. In 1961, an appellate court agreed. In 1962, however, the lawyers for the defence—F.R. Scott and Manuel Shacter—persuaded the Supreme Court of Canada to reject the earlier verdicts. By a vote of five to four, the high court decided that the novel was “a serious work of fiction” that Canadians could legally read. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (Bantam Classics, 1983)

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Young Adult and Children’s Books CONTINUED The Beast of Monsieur Racine by Tomi Ungerer Black Like Kyra, White Like Me by Judith Vigna Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson Bumface by Morris Gleitzman Cat on the Hill by Michael Foreman Catch That Cat! by Monika Beisner The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Fear Street series by R.L. Stine The First Time by Charles Montpetit (ed.) Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine Green Arrow: Quiver by Kevin Smith et al. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling How Did I Begin? by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm The Importance of Muhammad by Marilyn Oliver The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks J’ai besoin de personne by Reynald Cantin Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George Little Bird’s ABC by Piet Grobler The Little Black Book for Girlz Matthew and the Midnight Flood by Allen Morgan Moonkid and Liberty by Paul Kropp Noah’s Cats and the Devil’s Fire by Arielle North Olson Outrageously Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor La première fois by Charles Montpetit (ed.) Qu’est-ce que vous faites là? by Dominique Jolin Le secret d’Ève by Reynald Cantin Snow White in New York by Fiona French Street Art: The Spray Files by Louis Bou Three Wishes by Deborah Ellis Trouble on Tarragon Island by Nikki Tate The Waiting Dog by Carolyn and Andrea Beck We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier Ziggy, Piggy and the Three Little Pigs by Frank Asch


Freedom to Read Week Activities and Events Across Canada 2009 Two thousand and nine was our twenty-fifth anniversary. People across Canada participated in a variety of events, each celebrating Freedom to Read Week in its unique way. You’ll find great ideas throughout this section for planning your own event to celebrate freedom of expression in Canada. Book and Periodical Council Toronto, Ontario Freedom to Read Week Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration Toronto supporters of Freedom to Read Week gathered at the Gladstone Hotel for an evening of scintillating dialogue with special guests Derek Finkle, Janine Fuller, Ken Setterington and Russell Smith.

Ten Ways You Can CELEBRATE FREEDOM TO READ WEEK HOST AN EVENT THAT LETS PEOPLE READ FROM THEIR FAVOURITE CHALLENGED BOOKS. HOLD A CONTEST TO SEE WHO CAN READ THE MOST CHALLENGED BOOKS.

British Columbia Library Association: Intellectual Freedom Committee Vancouver, British Columbia Freedom to Read Week Meet-Up At a gathering to support freedom of expression, attendees made buttons, discussed current events and listened to local authors read from banned and challenged books.

Brock University Library St. Catharines, Ontario The library used its Twitter account to announce a secret word that won a lucky patron a Freedom to Read Week prize. The library also created an educational display of banned and challenged books.

Burlington Public Library Burlington, Ontario Beans ‘n’ Banned Books A staff panel reviewed a variety of books, explored why they were challenged or banned, and then called upon attendees to help release challenged books into the community.

The Calgary Freedom to Read Committee Calgary, Alberta The committee presented its annual Freedom of Expression Award to teacher and author Garry Ryan at an evening event.

Calgary Public Library Calgary, Alberta The library opened its annual Free to Read Essay Contest to junior high school students in Calgary and encouraged them to write about intellectual freedom and banned books.

ORGANIZE A DISCUSSION ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ISSUES. MOUNT A DISPLAY IN YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY OR COMMUNITY CENTRE. ORGANIZE A WORKSHOP ABOUT WRITING DIFFICULT OR CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS. CREATE AN ART EXHIBIT THAT CELEBRATES FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. START AN ESSAY-WRITING CONTEST IN YOUR SCHOOL. INVITE LOCAL AUTHORS TO TALK ABOUT THE FREEDOM TO READ. ENCOURAGE YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER TO RECOGNIZE FREEDOM TO READ WEEK.

VISIT www.freedomtoread.ca FOR MORE GREAT IDEAS.

City of Calgary Calgary, Alberta The Calgary Freedom to Read Committee presented the official book of Calgary’s Freedom to Read Week—The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman—to City Council.

Concordia University College Library and GELA Edmonton, Alberta Those Free Little Words: Freestyle Talk About Canada’s Freedom to Read Week Award-winning scholar Toni Samek delivered a public lecture about censorship. FTRW EVENTS CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

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FTRW EVENTS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33

Confederation College

Louise Riley Library

Thunder Bay, Ontario Is Censorship Alive and Well? The student commons held an open and provocative debate on censorship versus intellectual freedom.

Calgary, Alberta The Banned Book Blast The library invited teens to discuss intellectual freedom and censorship in Canada and to read passages from their favourite banned or challenged books.

Edmonton Public Library

Lumby United Church

Edmonton, Alberta Banned Books Café People were invited to read passages from their favourite banned and challenged books, share ideas and thoughts about censorship, and discuss the meaning of Freedom to Read Week.

Forest Heights Community Library Kitchener, Ontario Altered Books Display For the second year, the Grade 12 visual arts class at Forest Heights Collegiate Institute created an exhibit of sculptures made from discarded books. Their fascinating and inventive creations drew attention to issues of intellectual freedom.

Gambo Public Library Gambo, Newfoundland and Labrador Envelopes containing messages about freedom of expression were hidden around the library and were exchanged for prizes when found and turned in to a librarian.

Literary Arts Windsor Windsor, Ontario An Evening of Degenerate Art The event featured live music and readings from works banned in Nazi Germany. People celebrated the arts and freedom of expression.

London Public Library London, Ontario Persecuted Writers During Freedom to Read Week Elsi Angulo, a former Colombian district attorney involved in human rights struggles, spoke about her experiences and described how she lost her fear of writing freely.

Lumby, British Columbia The Fifth Annual Freedom to Read Used Book Sale encouraged patrons to pick out and pick up the challenged books in the collection by giving them away for free!

Lumby United Church Lumby, British Columbia The Wondercafé This live event, featuring Mitzi Fortin, encouraged community dialogue about the Charter right to freedom of expression.

Matheson Learning Commons St. Catharines, Ontario Forbidden Knowledge: Censorship and the Arts Art professor Linda Steer led a discussion about art and literature that has been banned for religious, moral or political reasons.

McNally Robinson Booksellers and the Saskatoon Public Library Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Say It Out Loud Authors John Barton, Anthony Bidulka and Louise Halfe spoke about the dangers of censorship and read from challenged books that express rebellious ideas or opinions.

Meadow Lake Library Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan Freedom to Read Week Debate Students at Carpenter High School debated the pros and cons of book censorship.

Olds Municipal Library

SOME COOL TITLES

FROM 2009

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Banned Book Blast Banned Together Beans ‘n’ Banned Books An Evening of Degenerate Art The Honest Pen: Writing the Uncomfortable Plug Your Ears Say It Out Loud Those Free Little Words

Olds, Alberta Attendees were asked to pick a book from the challenged book list and discuss their choice. Then the floor was opened to discussion about the challenges to the book and what others thought about them.

Pages Books and Magazines Toronto, Ontario This Is Not a Reading Series celebrated Freedom to Read Week with the Canadian premiere of The Taqwacores, Michael Muhammad Knight’s controversial novel about the Muslim-punk movement.


Pelham Public Library Fonthill, Ontario Banned Book Challenge The third annual Banned Book Challenge encouraged patrons to commit to reading a number of challenged or banned books between February 22 and June 30.

PEN Canada and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Edmonton, Alberta Banned Together: Alberta’s Finest Read the Censors’ Favourites A plethora of great Canadian authors gathered to read aloud from thought-provoking books for young readers and to encourage discussion of children’s access to literature.

PEN Canada and IBBY Toronto, Ontario Banned Together: Canada’s Finest Read the Censors’ Favourites Acclaimed Canadian authors, editors and publishers gathered to read outrageously entertaining, informative and thoughtprovoking books for young readers and celebrate the twentyfifth anniversary of Freedom to Read Week.

PEN Canada Toronto, Ontario Closer to the Land: Freedom of Expression and the Environment A passionate panel of environmental activists including Ken McGoogan, Trevor Herriot, Taras Grescoe and Sarah Harmer discussed the censorship and oppression of environmentalists.

Saint John Public Library Saint John, New Brunswick Plug Your Ears: A Selection of Readings From Challenged Books Following a reading of the Freedom to Read declaration, Plug Your Ears featured impassioned readings of banned and challenged books as well as a discussion of the history and significance of Freedom to Read Week. A thought-provoking display and the awarding of prizes for a freedom to read quiz added to the festivities.

Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership Calgary, Alberta The foundation hosted its annual casual reading, celebrated the freedom to read and invited attendees to consider the significance of Freedom to Read Week.

Spring Garden Memorial Library Halifax, Nova Scotia The Work of J.M. Coetzee Alice Brittan, an English professor at Dalhousie University, discussed the work of J.M. Coetzee, who has written about banned literature and has been a banned author himself.

Tree of Wisdom by Brent Cave (Altered Books Display, Forest Heights Collegiate Institute)

University of British Columbia Bookstore Vancouver, British Columbia Two authors who are not afraid to write about controversial issues—Edeet Ravel and Carmen Rodriguez—marked this important week by speaking to attendees about freedom of expression and censorship issues within Canada.

Winnipeg Public Library: Millennium Library Winnipeg, Manitoba Noon-hour readings of banned and challenged books by notable persons occurred each day during Freedom to Read Week.

Writers Guild of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta Author Curtis Gillespie and editor Craille Maguire Gillies set out to explore self-censorship and censorship in the author-editor relationship.

Writers Guild of Alberta and the University of Calgary Creative Writing Research Group Calgary, Alberta The Honest Pen: Writing the Uncomfortable In the spirit of Freedom to Read Week, authors Suzette Mayr and Rosemary Nixon set out to explore the writing process and why authors hold back or censor themselves on the page. Grappling with things that make some writers squirm, such as sex scenes and emotionally charged memories, Mayr and Nixon helped workshop attendees confront personally difficult topics and build confidence when writing about uncomfortable or controversial subjects.

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G E T

I N V O L V E D

Get Involved

IDEAS FOR EDUCATORS

THE GET INVOLVED SECTION IS BASED ON THE ARTICLES that appear in the preceding pages of Freedom to Read. The objectives of this section are to • highlight freedom of thought and freedom of expression as universal human rights; • examine the educational value of controversial texts; • emphasize tolerance of other people’s viewpoints as a vital principle of democratic education. The target group for this section includes high school, college and university students who discuss language and literature, politics, society, history, law and other courses about intellectual freedom. The Get Involved

activities are designed for classroom instruction and discussion. Get Involved is also intended for citizens outside the classroom who wish to plan community events. This section includes ideas for publicizing challenged books and magazines in Canada, organizing events that draw attention to freedom of expression and generating publicity for local events. We encourage you to use these ideas to Get Involved during Freedom to Read Week and all year round. We sincerely hope your efforts have an impact in your classroom and your community!

• Write a Review of a Challenged Book In 2009, Madison Galloway, a Grade 9 student at Vincent Massey Junior High School in Calgary, Alberta, wrote the following review of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. The acclaimed fantasy novel had been challenged in several school districts across Canada in 2007. You too can read and review a challenged book. See if you can get your review published in a local newspaper or even in Freedom to Read!

Your Bobcat Daemon at Your Side By Madison Galloway FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A YEAR, I pulled out The Golden Compass to prepare for this book review. I thought I could refresh my memory by skimming through the pages. However, after only five minutes, I found myself completely lost in the story. When I looked up from the book an hour and a half later, it hit me. The Golden Compass is not a book you can skim. It demands that you pay careful attention to everything you read or you will become lost. Every word in this book adds to the story and if you miss one page, one paragraph, even one sentence, you will skim past the true brilliance of this book. It is like a complex puzzle and if you lose a piece—and each piece is equally essential—you’ll miss the whole picture. With a fresh

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view of the whole puzzle, I can give The Golden Compass a rating of four out of five stars. I found the book had good dialogue with witty comments and brilliant meanings, though some of the dialogue goes on too long. Pullman’s characters are mysterious and entertaining in ways that always keep you wondering about what they mean and how they came to be the way they are. For example, a mysterious character is the Bear, Iorek Byrnison. He was banished from his old home and is now working in a small town for people who had stolen his armour. He is a very complex and unpredictable character whom Pullman displays brilliantly. The Golden Compass is a gripping story about a young girl from London. Lyra was raised in Jordan College with

ANSWERS TO INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM QUIZ (page 40) 1g;

2e;

3a;

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4h;

5f;

6c;

7b;

8d

scholars. In this world, people can see their souls, which take the form of animals, known as Daemons, who feel their emotions and their pain and vice versa. Lyra’s Daemon is Pantalaimon, which is a shape-shifting animal. As the story progresses, you see Lyra being thrown into a struggle where some people are trying to break this tie between children and their Daemons. Turns out that Lyra is a living prophecy and the one who will decide the fates of all those fighting. Helping her along her journey are her friends, her Daemon and a golden compass. The golden compass is something that, if you read it properly, tells the truth about everything. Just like the book itself, reading the compass is extremely complex, for each symbol has several different meanings. Most people who can read it must use big complex books. Lyra comes into possession of this rare compass and learns how to read it on her own. Using this extraordinary talent, she finds her way to stop the “Gobblers,” a group of people stealing


children and taking them to the north for experiments. The main reason I was so intrigued by this book was the Daemons. Each person bonds with his or her creature; the two have never been separated. The story appears to take place in the same world in which we live—though the lack of electronics suggests it could be the 1800s—but the Daemons are clearly a twist on reality. Even in a fantasy world with talking bears and flying witches, this is a world that you recognize and

you can imagine yourself there. For instance, a fantasy world with no gravity where people can walk up walls is not a familiar world—you can imagine what that would be like but having never experienced it, you would never know what it actually feels like. The world in The Golden Compass never seems far from our world. You can see yourself walking down a street going to the market with your bobcat Daemon at your side. I found this book to be very entertain-

ing, though a difficult read. The language throughout reads like Old English. In some parts of the book, I would stop myself and say, “What an extraordinary way of thinking about that!” There are many thoughts and ideas that make this book unique. If you are looking for a harder, more exciting read, I would recommend this book. Though it may take some time to get used to how the book is written, you will be rewarded with a new way of thinking about many issues.

• WOW! Canadian Comic Books WE HOPE THAT BRAD MACKAY’S ARTICLE ON COMIC BOOK censorship in Canada will spark lots of ideas for teachers. Here are a few ideas that we thought of. 1. COMICS: TWO OPPOSING VIEWS Research these two Canadians from the 1940s who held opposing views on comics. The artist Adrian Dingle played a key role in the development of Canadian comics. He went on to a career as an especially skilled illustrator of Canadian books and as a respected and successful landscape painter. Davie Fulton was a long-time Conservative member of Parliament who believed that comics were a terrible influence on young people. He spearheaded legislation to halt their spread. Why did these two men think the way they did about comic books? Compare their views. 2. A SPECIAL COMIC BOOK CHARACTER Artistic students might like to study Adrian Dingle’s Penguin —a comic book character of the 1940s—and try to replicate Dingle’s style of drawing or create a style of their own to accompany Dingle’s text. You can see all 56 pages of The Penguin online. See below “YOU’LL KNOW ME for details. ONLY AS THE PENGUIN! Which pages do you think THOSE WHO PEER UNDER would have worried Davie THE MASK DON’T Fulton the most? Could it be LIVE LONG.” the page with this line? ‘ 3. UNDERGROUND COMIX IN THE 1960S AND ’70S ADRIAN DINGLE, WOW COMICS, NO. 16, 1943 In the 1960s and ’70s, Canada Customs turned back the underground comix of artists such as Robert Crumb and Will Eisner. The authorities also targeted Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers because of its gleeful promotion of marijuana use and rambunctious antiestablishment behaviour.

Older students may research information about these publications and their creators on the World Wide Web. Students might discover that some comix seem tame by today’s standards. Other comix from this era might seem merely tasteless. What influence, if any, do you think underground comix had on Canadians? Was Canada Customs justified in seizing these works? Why or why not? 4. BANDES DESSINÉES QUÉBÉCOISES Comic books in francophone Quebec are known as bandes dessinées québécoises or BDQ. They are abundant, popular and often controversial. One prolific comics creator whom students might like to research is André Poliquin. His series Escadron Delta (Delta Squadron) features the character Lynx, who works for a secret military squad in Quebec. Another of his characters is Tabarnaco, the wrestler. In 2001, Charles Montpetit, Freedom to Read’s correspondent in Quebec, led a successful protest against the removal of 180 comic books from the open shelves in Hull’s public libraries. Titles included Attila, mon amour (Attila, My Love), Margot, reine de la nuit (Margot, Queen of the Night) and Tout ce sang pour Eva (All Blood for Eva). Research these titles. Should comic books be available in public libraries? Why or why not? Why would someone want to remove them? Why would someone fight to keep comic books in the libraries? RESOURCES BOOKS Bell, John. Invaders From the North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Book Universe. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006. Bell, John, Luc Pomerleau and Robert MacMillan. Canuck Comics: A Guide to Comic Books Published in Canada. Montreal: Matrix, 1986. Lent, John A., ed. Pulp Demons: International Dimensions of the WOW! CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

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• Return to Quebec’s Radical Year: 1970

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DURING THE SUMMER OF 2009, PEOPLE IN QUEBEC HEARD THE manifesto of the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) for the first time in 40 years. It was read to a public audience at the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City during a large-scale event called Moulin à paroles, or “chatterbox.” The National Battlefields Commission, which has jurisdiction over the site, and some federalist politicians had tried to stop the reading but, undeterred, the organizers went ahead. Along with the manifesto, three other radical texts triggered an uproar in Quebec, and elsewhere, 40 years ago. All of these texts stir up controversies over censorship and free expression, each in its own way. White Niggers of America: The Precocious Autobiography of a Quebec “Terrorist,” written by Pierre Vallières while he lingered in prison for his FLQ activities, first appeared in French in 1968. McClelland A LANGUAGE IS A & Stewart quickly translated the book DIALECT THAT HAS for English Canada AN ARMY AND A NAVY. and gave it a strik— attributed to Max Weinreich, Russian ing black-and-white linguist, Yiddish scholar and author (1894–1969) cover. The book had tremendous impact, but it might never have been published if one of Canada’s current “Son of Sam” laws had been in place in Quebec. (For more information on these laws, see Marian Hebb’s article on page 10.) Léandre Bergeron’s radical Petit Manuel d’Histoire du Quebéc (The History of Quebec: A Patriote’s Handbook) also became a bestseller. But even before the book’s printing, Bergeron’s publisher, New Canadian Press, ran into a censorship dispute with the Imperial Oil Company of Canada. The book had been designed to feature the drawings of C.W. Jefferys, the foremost illustrator of Canadian history. His images had been used for decades in schoolbooks. But Jefferys’s artwork was owned by Imperial Oil. When the company managers learned of Bergeron’s radical approach to Quebec’s history, they denied permission to use Jefferys’s work. Naturally, the publisher and author were incensed. They

organized a very public campaign which greatly embarrassed Imperial Oil. New Canadian Press used the illustrations anyway, and the artwork eventually made its way to Library and Archives Canada. The censorship or suppression of individual books is bad enough. Perhaps even worse is the attempt to suppress a language entirely. “Speak White”—Michèle Lalonde’s barbed and angry poem—points to what many Québécois believe were sustained attempts in the past to suppress the speaking of French. The English, says Lalonde, told Québécois that they were “an uncultured stammering race.” If you didn’t speak English, you had no power or influence.

WOW! CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37

provides information about comics and lesson plans that can be used in different grades. • The Joe Shuster Awards are named in recognition of the Canadian artist who invented Superman. The Web site for the organization (http://joeshusterawards.com) includes many comic artists’ biographies. • Library and Archives Canada contains an excellent history and many images (including the Penguin). Just type in “Beyond the Funnies” at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca.

Postwar Anti-Comics Campaign. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999. ONLINE • The Comics in Canada: An Illustrated History—produced by CBC television and aired on August 24, 2006—includes short interviews with Adrian Dingle and other artists. It can be seen online at the CBC archives. • Comics in the Classroom (http://comicsintheclassroom.net)

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SPEAK WHITE Speak white It sounds so good when you Speak of Paradise Lost And of the gracious and anonymous profile that trembles In Shakespeare’s sonnets We’re an uncultured stammering race But we are not deaf to the genius of a language Speak with the accent of Milton and Byron and Shelley and Keats Speak white And forgive us our only answer Being the raucous songs of our ancestors And the sorrows of Nelligan* ... (For more on “Speak White,” including the film version, please see the Get Involved activity on page 39.) In 2010, freedom to read committees or libraries might want to display these books and the poem. Students could research the FLQ, and a historian might speak about Quebec’s cultural and political mood in 1970. Local actors or drama students could read some of the striking passages from the texts. Participants might debate whether speaking with an accent can still make you a second-class citizen and thus stifle your freedom of expression—in school, at work or in politics. * Émile Nelligan (1879–1941) was a major Québécois poet.


10 N

• Link Films and Books on Freedom of Expression Ten Tips for Effective Film Shows People concerned about censorship and freedom of expression often show films in their work. There are good reasons for that. Many superb films raise critical issues and provoke excellent discussions. Films can be used to introduce controversial or painful material. They can step back to provide historical background or zoom in on issues that concern a group. Films can work through complicated ideas in a lively or humorous manner or engage viewers emotionally and help people identify with others. And, of course, many films complement censored books and books about freedom of expression. But often people show films without much thought or preparation. Thus a good opportunity gets wasted. Consider using these 10 tips to make film showings better.

Before the Screening 1. Think about how a film can offer something that a lecture, book or workshop can’t do as well. 2. Consider your goals. List the top three ideas you hope will be better understood after the film. 3. Check the film’s length to ensure adequate time for discussion. A shorter film, or one screened over two sessions, can often be more useful.

After the Screening 4. When the lights come up, don’t start by asking, “What did you think?” That’s too difficult a question to ask right away. Viewers may feel that you’re asking them to sum up and analyze everything in the film. It’s much better to ask for small observations. 5. Don’t move too quickly from a discussion of the film to “the issues.”

Otherwise why show a film in the first place? 6. Ask viewers to recall one small thing they liked and one thing they didn’t like in the film. 7. Ask people to name one or two things they learned. Start small. 8. Form small groups. Then ask viewers to recall one moment in the film when they felt a strong emotion. Encourage talk about specific emotions. Get people to say, for example, “I felt anxious.” “I felt disturbed.” “I was elated.” When asking about people’s emotions, remember that some participants may be affected in a deeply personal way. 9. Ask students to research a topic addressed in a film. Then have them report on how well the film succeeded. Can they suggest other ways that the producers could have made their film? Could the producers, perhaps, have shown more or less of a character or introduced different material? 10. Ask viewers to discuss how a dramatic film, such as Veronica Guerin, shows the importance of investigative reporting.

Some Films to Consider on Censorship and Freedom of Expression • biographies—either narrative fiction or documentaries—about a person prevented from expressing his ideas or her culture • documentaries about a political or social situation that involves censorship

Canada • Sedition by Min Sook Lee is being used by PEN Canada in schools to highlight the difficulties of speaking about ethnic differences and racism. Get the film from McNabb Connolly distributors or PEN Canada.

TIPS

• Little Sister’s vs. Big Brother by Aerlyn Weissman tells the story of Little Sister’s bookstore in Vancouver and its long fight with Canada Customs over censorship. Get the film from www.movingimages.ca. For back- ground information, see Freedom to Read 2009. • Speak White by Pierre Falardeau and Julien Poulin takes viewers on a wildly provocative ride and illustrates Michèle Lalonde’s poem of the same name. Viewers might read the poem before the film showing, or they might research how other languages (Cree, Italian, Ukrainian) have been sup- pressed in Canadian history. See the film at www.onf.ca/film/Speak_White/.

International Terry Gould’s book Murder Without Borders is reviewed in this issue of Freedom to Read. To learn more about journalists (and one poet!) in violent parts of the world, see the following films. • Shooting the Messenger, directed by Michael Nicholson, looks at the dangers facing today’s war correspondents. See the film at www.aljazeera.com. • War Photographer by Christian Frei profiles the famous photojournalist James Nachtwey. • Veronica Guerin stars Cate Blanchett as the Irish journalist who was murdered in 1996 because she investi gated and wrote about the criminals who controlled the drug trade in Ireland. • Chris Abani is a Nigerian poet who has been imprisoned three times. He recounts his struggle for free speech in a moving presentation at the symposium called TED. See the video at www.TED.com. FREEDOM TO READ 2010

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• Intellectual Freedom Quiz By Franklin Carter

Match the quotation about intellectual freedom in the left-hand column to the correct author in the right-hand column.

Quotation 1

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use …

2 There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.

Author a

Legal scholar Zechariah Chafee, Jr., commented on the American tradition of open debate in a book called Freedom of Speech. The book appeared in 1920.

b

These words appear in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter was enacted into law in 1982.

c

British author Brigid Brophy made this observation in “An Open Letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions” in Britain. The letter, which appeared in the catalogue of the World Book Fair in 1964, attacks the censorship of erotic fiction.

d

The Somali-born intellectual Ayaan Hirsi Ali expressed this opinion in an article called “The Right to Offend” in 2006. The article, which appeared in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, strongly defends freedom of the press.

e

British author Oscar Wilde expressed this opinion in the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1891. The preface explains Wilde’s views about art.

f

F.R. Scott wrote this rhyme when he was trying to end the legal ban on Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Canada. In 1964, these lines appeared in a longer poem called “A Lass in Wonderland.”

g

Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei penned this line in a letter to Christina, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, in 1615. The letter explains his views on the relationship between divine revelation and science.

h

British author George Orwell warned people about the threats to free expression in a short essay called “The Prevention of Literature.” It appeared in a journal called Polemic in 1946.

Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

3

Freedom of speech covers much more than political ideas. It embraces all discussion which enriches human life and helps it to be more wisely led. Thus in our first national statement of the subject by the Continental Congress in 1774, this freedom was declared to include “the advancement of truth, science, morality and arts in general.”

4

In our age, the idea of intellectual liberty is under attack from two directions. On the one side are its theoretical enemies, the apologists of totalitarianism, and on the other its immediate, practical enemies, monopoly and bureaucracy.

5

I went to bat for the Lady Chatte Dressed in my bib and gown. The judges three glared down at me The priests patrolled the town.

6

The crime committed by an “obscene” book is not that it has corrupted someone: the crime is being likely to corrupt someone likely to lay hands on it: two likelihoods with not a certainty to go by.

7 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication …

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It is my conviction that the vulnerable enterprise called democracy cannot exist without free expression, particularly in the media. Journalists must not forgo the obligation of free speech, which people in other hemispheres are denied.

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Answers appear on page 36.


There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray

(1891)

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Freedom to Read 2010  

A project of the Book and Periodical Council, Freedom to Read Week has monitored censorship and freedom of expression issues in Canada since...

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