Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Martel on Harper’s reading habits

This Magazine Staff

Best-selling author Yann Martel was so unimpressed with the reception he and other artists received in the House of Commons recently that he’s come up with a web-based response:

For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written. I will faithfully report on every new book, every inscription, every letter, and any response I might get from the Prime Minister, on this website.

The site includes a story of Martel’s experience being invited to help mark the 50th anniversary of the Canada Council for the Arts. It’s a bit of a rambling note, but the point is clear enough: the Harper government is not acting like a friend to artists. Harper’s lack of attention to the 50 artists invited to mark the occasion, and the poor showing of MPs at a reception the night before, are especially irksome to Martel.
Will his gifts of books to Harper’s office help expand the Prime Minister’s horizons? I’m not holding my breath, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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