Freedom to Read Week

Freedom to Read Week runs from February 23 until March 3 this year. It's organized nationally by the Book and Periodical Council  but celebrated across Canada and around the world. PEN Canada, a group that assists writers facing censorship and persecution, also supports the week. Individual events are held at independent bookstores and libraries to draw attention to the issue of censorship, specifically banned books.

Even in Canada, books have been banned at borders, in classrooms and from libraries. Everything from Margret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale to benign children's books has been challenged in Canadian libraries. Here is an updated list of challenged books and magazines from the Freedom to Read Week organizers.

Historically the Canadian government has been caught up in censorship controversies. Some of the most infamous include the conflict between Vancouver bookstore Little Sister's and Toronto's Glad Day in getting their books across the border. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Canadian Customs shipped the GBLTQ content back to the stores with claims of "obscenity". Both stores had to take legal action on multiple occasions to reclaim their confiscated inventory. It wasn't until 2000 that the Supreme Court ruled that Customs could not withhold material that was "obscene" but that it had to be ruled to violate obscenity laws in court.

This year, organizers of the week are encouraging citizens to free a banned book, by obtaining a copy of a book off the banned list and planting it somewhere in their community.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.