(Okay, so that’s my messy bookshelf, not Stephen Harper’s.)
Yann Martel is a determined guy. You’d think that after sending 37 books to the Prime Minister with only one very pithy reply, he would have given up. But in a recent interview Martel said he is continuing his “guerrilla book club” with Mr. Harper, even as the award-winning author travels around the world.
Martel is trying to start a dialogue with Harper about the importance of Arts funding. So far though, it’s been a one way conversation and Martel has been met with “dead stony silence.”
This summer, while Canadians were distracted by the Olympics, more cuts by the Tories were made were made and in what seemed to be a polarizing issue in Quebec, artists wasted no time mobilizing and protesting in the streets.
Given the reaction, I’m a little surprised that other Parties aren’t making a bigger deal about the cuts. When I asked the NDP’s Anne Lagace-Dowson about this, she said it was because “it’s a given” that the NDP are going to support the arts. Fair enough. (See here, and here for more.)
In the meantime, we can always hope that Stephen Harper will open up a book from Martel’s suggested reading list, and develop policies that support and promote literature and the Arts in general.
“I think we expect our elites to be well-informed and I don’t think Mr. Harper is well-informed in terms of literature at all. I’m guessing he’s a man who hasn’t read a book of literature since high school… Life is about way more than how we are administered. Life comes down to how we relate, how we think of the universe, how we inform ourselves about life. And one of the key ways to do that is through books.” — Yann Martel
So, if Stephen Harper’s not reading literature, what do you think he is reading these days?
Yann, if you’re reading, drop us a line…