BPC Bulletin: Ontario School Board Removes More Than 4,700 Books from Shelves; Burns or Recycles Many

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

 

In southwestern Ontario, a Roman Catholic francophone school board removed more than 4,700 books about Indigenous people from library shelves in 30 schools in 2019. The school board also destroyed an unknown number of books.

The Conseil scolaire catholique Providence, which oversees 23 primary schools and seven secondary schools, burned 30 books in a “flame purification” ceremony. School officials then used the ashes as fertilizer to plant a tree.

School officials intended the book burning as a gesture of reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous people (First Nations, Inuit and Metis).

“We bury the ashes of racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the hope that we will grow up in an inclusive country where all can live in prosperity and security,” says a video prepared for students about the book burning, Radio-Canada reported.

School officials subsequently destroyed or recycled other books.

This act of censorship — one of the worst in recent Canadian history — began in 2019 but caught the  attention of journalists only in September 2021.

THE LIST OF AFFECTED TITLES

A detailed list of book titles that the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence removed, burned or recycled appears on Google Drive. The list is 165 pages long:

Liste de livres CscProvidence.pdf - Google Drive

A PDF version is available too. Email Franklin Carter for a copy.

REPORTAGE IN ENGLISH

In the National Post, Tyler Dawson reports:

Book burning at Ontario francophone schools as 'gesture of reconciliation' denounced | National Post

In BlogTO, Becky Robertson reports:
https://www.blogto.com/city/2021/09/what-need-know-book-burning-ontario/

In the Post Millennial, Alex Anas Ahmed reports:

https://thepostmillennial.com/ontario-schools-book-burning-reconciliation

News in 24 reports:
https://news.in-24.com/news/159255.html

COMMENTARY IN ENGLISH

In Spiked, Brendan O’Neill comments:
https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/09/09/woke-book-burning/

REPORTAGE IN FRENCH

Thomas Gerbet of Radio-Canada broke the news story. His reportage appears in three parts.

September 7, 2021:

http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1817537/livres-autochtones-bibliotheques-ecoles-tintin-asterix-ontario-canada

September 8, 2021:

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1822333/livres-suzy-kies-gardienne-savoir-parti-liberal-autochtones

September 8, 2021:

 

The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.

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