Sunday, February 22, 2009

Freedom to Read

This is Freedom to Read week (Feb. 22-28). I've been preparing for a panel discussion on freedom of expression and the environment organized by PEN Canada, HarperCollins and the Toronto Public Library this Friday, Feb. 27. The other panelists are Sarah Harmer, Ken McGoogan and Taras Grescoe. It'll be hosted by the CBC's Matt Galloway and held at Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., Toronto, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, click here.

The Globe & Mail invited me to write a short piece on this subject for their online Books section. From time to time I hear about environmentalist writers in other countries being silenced, but I didn't feel qualified to comment on their stories. At the same time, writers are not really being silenced here in Canada so I wasn't sure how to approach the topic without sounding like I was stretching to make a point. Attending a talk by writer and anti-nuclear activist Jim Harding (Canada's Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System) a couple of Monday's back, however, I got an idea. I decided I would try to write about the subtle ways that dissent is shut out of the public forum in Canada. Anyway, you can see for yourself. Here is a link to the article, which the editors titled "Read no evil".

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