Book to the PM

Published April 4, 2021 by A.J.B. Johnston

It’s not every day that I send a book to Canada’s Prime Minister.

In fact, it’s the first (and likely last) time.

The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is asking its members to send one of their books to show the PM just how large and talented its membership is—along with a letter that asks his government to make changes to the copyright act so that Canadian authors are once again fairly compensated when their works are copied by educational institutions. Universities have been the worst offenders over the past decade with their photocopied course packs. Royalty compensation used to be there in those instances but the Harper government amended the copyright act to allow for royalty-free educational copying. A great many authors lost a significant portion of their annual incomes with that change. TWUC and its members are hopeful that the Trudeau government will reinstate copyright protection for writers and other creators.

As for the book that I sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it was The Hat, a novel that presents the story of the Acadian Deportation in a fresh, 21st-century way. Readers are not told—until the Afterword— where and when the action is taking place, nor by whom or to whom. Everything that happens is seen through the eyes of two central characters, 14-year-old Marie and 10-year-old Charles. The sister and brother show determination and perseverance as they deal with an unforeseen and difficult situation. Though based on a tragedy, the story is uplifting and inspiring.

I thought that The Hat might be on interest to the three Trudeau children. Realistically, I doubt that their father has a lot of time right now to be reading books for pleasure. But maybe after the kids have finished The Hat they will pass it on to him and their mother.

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