TRUDEAU’S DARKEST HOUR launched in Parliament on October 21

Trudeaus-Darkest-Hour-cover4-362x560At the invitation of Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Québécois, Guy Bouthillier and Édouard Cloutier presented their new anthology Trudeau’s Darkest Hour, War Measures in Time of Peace October 1970 in the Parliament buildings on Thursday October 21. For Guy Bouthillier, it was an important symbolic gesture forty years after the fact to present this book of texts and speeches by some twenty-five eminent English Canadians about the decision made in the Parliament of Canada on October 16, 1970  to suspend the Constitution and all civil liberties and to send 12,500 troops into Quebec.

Édouard Cloutier pointed out that in October 1970, more troops were deployed in Quebec than in Dieppe, a major military operation carried out in 1942. He also saluted the memory of Tommy Douglas, former leader of the New Democratic Party who, from the very start, refused to support the Trudeau Government when it invoked the War Measures Act. As former Trudeau minister Eric Kierans wrote, “He showed political courage of the highest order.”

Guy Bouthillier and Édouard Cloutier both thanked Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe for inviting them to present the book to parliamentarians. They added that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Order Trudeau’s Darkest Hour now.

Read Guy Bouthillier’s article in Counterpunch War Measures in Time of Peace October 1970

212 pages: Paperback $19.95 ISBN 978-1-926824-04-8

Fall 2010 – Portraits of Quebec’s Eastern Townships; 1970 War Measures Revisited; Discrimination in the NHL; You could lose an eye…

Baraka Books launched four new titles in fall 2010.

Roads to Richmond, Portraits of Quebec’s Eastern Townships
Nick Fonda (September 2010)
ISBN 978-1-926824-00-0; 188 pp; illustrations by Denis Palmer; $19.95

Roads to Richmond cover low res

Advance Praise
“Nick Fonda has captured the essence of one of the most unique areas within Canada. This book is full of specific insights into a specific place. It possesses both truth and charm, which is a rare combination in today’s world. It will both enlighten and entertain. Buy it. Read it. Think and ponder universal truths.” – Alistair MacLeod, prize-winning author of No Great Mischief

This unusual, sometimes quirky, road book works like a mosaic. Its inlaid stones are the brief histories, candid snapshots, curious anecdotes, insightful observations, sobering reflections, and stories to make you smile. But the big picture is a moving portrait of a little known but historical corner of Canada—Quebec’s Eastern Townships. Nick Fonda masterfully puts you behind the wheel—sometimes in the train’s engine—and lets you meander through the Townships to meet people who make it a unique place where Canada’s famous two solitudes have grown entwined. With new and thoughtful illustrations, Denis Palmer captures Nick Fonda’s insight into a part of the world that deserves to be better known.


Trudeau’s Darkest Hour, War Measures in Time of Peace, October 1970
Edited by Guy Bouthillier and Édouard Cloutier (September 2010)
ISBN 978-1-926824-04-8; 212 pp; $19.95

Trudeau's Darkest Hours

Trudeau’s Darkest Hours

Forty years ago in the middle of the night the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau proclaimed the War Measures Act following two political kidnappings by the FLQ. It thereby suspended the Constitution and all civil liberties, deployed 12,500 troops in Quebec—7,500 in Montreal alone— arrested 465 people without charges and detained them incommunicado without bail and without the right to legal assistance. It also entered and searched more than 10,000 homes without warrant.

In this rigourously researched and brilliantly presented anthology, Canadian political leaders, thinkers, journalists, and writers explain how the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau deceived the people of Canada and denied justice when it proclaimed war measures in peacetime for the first time in history.

Tommy Douglas called it “overkill on a gargantuan scale.” Trudeau’s own ministers Don Jamieson and Eric Kierans said their case was not “compelling,” that they made a “terrible mistake,” and that their “common sense went out the window.” Peter C. Newman tells how Trudeau floated a “meticulously concocted lie” about a revolutionary provisional government in Quebec.

Margaret Atwood, Robert Fulford, Robert Stanfield, Reg Whitaker, Jack Granatstein, John Conway, Thomas Berger, Ramsay Cook, Desmond Morton, Hugh Segal, David Macdonald, and others provide testimony, insight, and wisdom to understand the past and guide us in the future.


Discrimination in the NHL, Quebec Hockey Players Sidelined
by Bob Sirois (October 2010)
ISBN 978-1-926824-01-7; 220 pp; $22.95

Quebec Hockey Players Sidelined

Quebec Hockey Players Sidelined

Ever since Maurice Richard dazzled hockey fans, fighting his way to hockey’s summits, the issue of discrimination against Quebec hockey players has simmered on. NHL veteran Bob Sirois now demonstrates that unless Quebec hockey players are superstars they are less likely to be drafted than other players in Canada. They can also expect shorter careers and less pay, while some teams just don’t want them. Using statistics covering forty years, Sirois shatters those tenacious myths such as “Quebecers are smaller,” “they play poor defensive hockey” or “they are the best goalies.” His solutions: an NHL team for Quebec City and a Quebec national junior team for international events. Bob Sirois’ search for the truth can only enhance our great sport.

“I agree with Bob Sirois’ conclusions. The many statistics are interesting and troubling. With firsthand experience, I can say that it reflects reality exactly.”— Michel Bergeron, Former NHL coach (NY Rangers, Quebec Nordiques)

“This seems to be strong material and worth serious study by the NHL.”— Stu Hackel, New York Times


You could lose an eye, My first 80 years in Montreal
by David Reich (November 2010)
ISBN 978-1-926824-03-1; 200 pp; $22.95

My first 80 years In Montreal

My first 80 years In Montreal

“You Could Lose an Eye” is the expression David Reich’s mother often used for those she loved. It is the story of a family’s transition from the wretched oppression they left behind when they arrived in Quebec, where they had only to learn new languages and adapt to a new political, economic and not always welcoming social culture. It recounts the laughter and the tears, the triumphs and the failures as Ma established her dynasty, as Pa built his business and as their firstborn carved an architectural career. All was possible for those who took root in a free world. They were the fortunate ones who were allowed to aspire and succeed, and to keep alive the memories of those who were denied entry and paid the ultimate price for being Jews.

An inspiring, sometimes heart-rending, life story told by a man whose tongue is always in his cheek. With photos and illustrations.

BARACK OBAMA AND THE JIM CROW MEDIA in the Media: Montreal Review of Books; The DEFENDERS online (NAACP); Montreal Gazette; KPFA Berkeley

The MONTREAL REVIEW OF BOOKS, summer edition, leads off with a long interview with Ishmael Reed as well as a video-taped interview recorded while he was in Montreal in April.

Jill Nelson, prize-winning journalist and novelist calls the book brilliant. She talks with Ishmael Reed about Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media in the NAACP’s organ  The DEFENDERS online.

The Montreal Gazette writes:The new book levels the charge that American mainstream media, dominated by white conservative-minded pundits, have set on a mission to “break” the country’s first black president whose progressive ideals and objectives are anathema to the entrenched white moneyed establishment, which owns big media and manipulates it to inflame paranoid and racist sentiment among the white middle and underclass.

MONTREAL – Ishmael Reed has a nice way with words, but isn’t much given to verbal niceties, like pussyfooting around the N-word. He puts it right up front, on the cover of his latest volume of bristling essays on the state of American society. Its zinger title in full is “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers.” It’s a bit of a jolt for some sensibilities. He did a promotional appearance on a local radio station on a recent visit to Montreal and the host declined on grounds of propriety to speak the subtitle on air. But then Reed has made a career now going on half a century of jolting conventional sensibilities, from back in the mid-’60s day when he co-founded seminal “underground” paper The East Village Other. He’s 72 now and a venerable figure in American letters, but an accumulation of years, accomplishment and honours haven’t softened his punch.

Hundreds attend Montreal and Toronto launches of Ishmael Reed’s Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media

Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media by Ishmael Reed was launched in Montreal on April 14 before a crowd of some 120 people — some were turned away because the Saint-Denis café was too packed. Before Ishmael Reed addressed the crowd, Montreal rapper Jenny Salgado made a very moving presentation of Michèle Lalonde’s famous 1960s poem Speak White. Jenny Salgado.

Another launch was held at the United Steelworkers Hall in Toronto on April 16 before some 100 people. Ishmael Reed was introduced by Phil Taylor of the Taylor Report and by prize winning author, Professor George Elliott Clark. The launch was organized by the excellent Toronto bookstore A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst Street, Toronto (416) 538-0889.

Montreal and Toronto launches draw hundreds

Montreal and Toronto launches draw hundreds

See interview with Ishmael Reed in the Montreal Mirror, April 8-14.

Montreal Mirror Interview with Ishmael Reed

Praise for Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media

“Brilliant.” Jill Nelson, journalist, novelist, American Book Award winner.

“Amazed at the many fronts on which [Ishmael Reed] has gathered little-reported facts…. I hope his book will lead to more journalistic self-reflection and intellectual honesty. ” — Werner Sollors, Professor of English Literature and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Praise for Ishmael Reed

“With Ishmael Reed, the most persistent myths and prejudice crumble under powerful unrelenting jabs and razor-sharp insight.”Le Devoir, Montreal

“The brightest contributor to American satire since Mark Twain.” — The Nation

“A great writer” — James Baldwin

Ishmael Reed taught at the University of California (Berkeley) for thirty-five years, as well as at Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. He is a member of Harvard’s Signet Society and Yale’s Calhoun Society.

For Ishmael Reed, Barack Obama is being tormented, like Michelangelo’s St. Anthony, but by modern reincarnations of the demonic spirits used to break slaves. They were the “Nigger Breakers”—men like Edward Covey, who was handed the job of breaking Frederick Douglass. Now the media play that role, with their whip being a custom-made yardstick that they never used to measure other politicians.

“Isn’t it ironic,” writes Reed: “A media that scolded the Jim Crow South in the 1960s now finds itself hosting the bird…. In terms of its attempt to build a media that “looks like America,” the media are as white as a KKK picnic.”

Ishmael Reed turns his penetrating gaze on Barack Obama’s election and first year in power—establishing himself as the conscience of a country that was once moved by Martin Luther King’s dream. If, as claimed by some, the United States has gotten beyond race, then how should it really be?

256 pages :
Hardcover $39.95 – ISBN 978-0-9812405-9-6
Paperback $19.95 – ISBN 978-0-9812405-7-2

Orders :
LitDistCo: 1-800-591-6250,

“An Independent Quebec, The Past, the Present and the Future” by Jacques Parizeau in bookstores May 15, 2010

Baraka Books is proud to announce that Jacques Parizeau’s book An Independent Quebec, The Past, the Present and the Future will appear in English in May 2010. The original French book (La souveraineté du Québec, Hier, aujourd’hui et demain) has been on Quebec bestsellers lists since November 2009: 40,000 copies sold in five months!

For the first time in English, Jacques Parizeau shares his views on Quebec’s recent history and future. English-speaking readers will understand why he is so respected in Quebec. The questions he raises and the answers he provides are of interest to Quebecers and Canadians alike. People will see Mr. Parizeau in an entirely new light.

As chief economics advisor to Quebec premiers in the 1960s, Jacques Parizeau was instrumental in bringing about Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. As René Lévesque’s Finance Minister from 1976 through 1984, he showed that sovereigntists could govern Quebec and ensure economic viability. As Premier, he brought Quebec close to sovereignty in the 1995 referendum. In 2010, he still represents an idea shared by millions in Quebec.

Parizeau1Drawing on his rich experience in public service and teaching, Jacques Parizeau explains how the idea of an independent Quebec took root and evolved, examines Quebec’s current economic, political, social and cultural situation, and reviews options for future development.

No stones are left unturned. Why become independent? What is the role of the State and how should it be administered in a global economy? What are the challenges in the 21st century? The financial crisis? The Environment?

What challenges face Quebec sovereigntists and their English Canadian counterparts?

Jacques Parizeau holds a PhD in economics from the London School of Economics. Professor of Economics at HEC Montréal, Mr. Parizeau was economic advisor to Quebec premiers Lesage, Johnson and Bertrand during the Quiet Revolution, Minister of Finance under René Lévesque (1976-1984) and Premier of Quebec 1994-1996. He led the YES Committee during the 1995 Quebec referendum.

Praise for the book

On all issues, Jacques Parizeau has interesting things to say. (…) Overall, it is the book of a leading civil servant, a major actor in the Quiet Revolution, and an extraordinary politician. His ideas, whether we share them or not, deserve our respect. There are too many mediocre politicians for us not to welcome the idea that a politician is also a thinker.” — Alain Dubuc, La Presse

What Parizeau brilliantly illustrates is that today ‘no country is too small to develop as long as it is part of large trade space or market.‘” — Louis Cornellier, Le Devoir.

An Independent Quebec, The Past, the Present and the Future
The original French book is entitled La souveraineté du Québec, Hier, aujourd’hui et demain (Les éditions Michel Brûlé – November 2009).

244 pages | available May 15, 2010 | Trade paper | $24.95 | ISBN 978-0-9812405-6-5

Bernier: “A meticulously researched book… remarkably pertinent to issues facing Canada and other Arctic nations.” – Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research

John Andrews of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (Instaar) of the University of Colorado reviewed Marjolaine Saint-Pierre’s book Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, Champion of Canadian Arctic Sovereignty in the February 2010 issue of Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research.

“The author should be congratulated for her meticulous research on the life of Captain Bernier, and the translator also deserves a round of applause for a translation that reads well and easily.”

Polar Record published Cambridge University Press (2010) also reviewed Marjolaine Saint-Pierre’s book on Bernier: “this handsomely produced book has considerable value as a detailed record of Bernier’s life and times. (…) the numerous and well chosen illustration provide wonderful glimpses of the world in which he grew up and spent his youth, the nineteenth century world of wooden sailing ships and busy North Atlantic trade.” – Janice Cavell

From: Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research


By Marjolaine Saint-Pierre, translated by William Barr. Montreal: Baraka Books, 2009 (originally published in French in 2005). 371 pp. $39.95 Canadian (paperback). ISBN 978-0-9812405-1-0.

9780981240541-250x275Given the political and climatic upheavals of the last few decades, the publication of this biography of Bernier is remarkably pertinent to issues facing Canada and other Arctic nations. Joseph- Elzéar Bernier was a French Canadian who was born in the small hamlet of L’Islet-sur-Mer, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in 1852. In this book the author traces the roots of the Bernier family from 1651 when Jacques Bernier landed in Quebec, through the early years of J.-E. Bernier, his subsequent experience as a sailor and captain, and then tracing his passion for Arctic exploration and his importance in ‘‘planting the flag’’ and claiming sovereignty for Canada for what is now its Arctic islands and channels.

This is a meticulously researched book that is richly illustrated by black and white photographs. In addition, it also contains a number of maps that detail the sailing routes and winter harbors that Bernier and the ship Arctic occupied during a number of voyages starting in 1906 and only ending in 1925 when Bernier was 74 years old. It is indeed a remarkable story, and Captain Bernier’s place in Canadian and Arctic exploration should be reaffirmed and reemphasized by this publication.

As a background it should be noted that by an Order of Council in June 1870 Great Britain transferred to the Dominion of Canada all its possessions designated as ‘‘Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territory’’ and a second Order of Council transferred the Arctic islands in 1880 (p. 171). In her discussion of the background to Bernier’s voyages (Chapter 5) Saint-Pierre documents that the object of the Order of Council was to prevent a U.S. claim to these vast, and largely unexplored territories, rather than in a belief that they would have any specific value to Canada. In 1895 the government had divided the Northwest Territories into four districts but this was not immediately followed by any action that would restrict freedom of access to the region by anyone. For example, whalers from the U.S.A. and Britain freely entered the waters with no need for permission of a license.

Captain Bernier’s initial object was to plant the Canadian flag at the North Pole, and he pursued this ambition with great determination starting in 1898. However, the goal of a North Pole expedition was never realized largely because of the vacillations of the Canadian government and the opposition, or reluctance, of Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier.

The name of Captain Bernier is closely associated with his vessel Arctic. This vessel was originally called Gauss, was built in Kiel, Germany, in 1900–1901, and had been used in the Antarctic. Bernier sailed to Germany and took possession of the ship in the spring of 1904. It was 165.5 feet in length with a beam of 37.2 feet; the ship was a three-masted barquentine with an engine that could push her at 7 knots. Given the exploits of this ship it is a tragedy that she was abandoned (see Chapter 23) and was not included in a Canadian Maritime Museum.

For the reader who is interested in the details of the expeditionary cruises, these are documented in Chapters 11 to 16. The chapters are replete with information on the stores that were taken, the track of the ship and ice and weather conditions, the lives of the local Inuit people, including numerous photographs, and how Captain Bernier and the crews coped with the overwintering.

With the steady decrease in ice concentrations in the Arctic Ocean and in the Canadian High Arctic Channels, issues of Arctic sovereignty are now newsworthy and are being discussed at the highest levels of national governments and the United Nations. Whatever the international legal issues that pertain to the conflicting claims of ownership of the various sectors of the Arctic waterways, Canada’s claim to the Arctic islands owes much, if not all, to the vision and persistence of its great French-Canadian polar explorer. Bernier’s position in Canadian Arctic research needs to be elevated; sadly his contribution to exploration is not fully appreciated. The author should be congratulated for her meticulous research on the life of Captain Bernier, and the translator also deserves a round of applause for a translation that reads well and easily.

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)
University of Colorado, 450 UCB
Boulder, Colorado 80309-0450, U.S.A.

“Unconventional tales”: Baraka Books profiled in Montreal Gazette

The Montreal Gazette featured a profile of Baraka Books with a focus on James Jackson’s recently released book The Riot that Never Was, running a photo of the publisher taken right where the three innocent Montrealers were shot dead by troops on May 21, 1832.

Following the footsteps of Daniel Tracey.

You could say that Daniel Tracey was publisher Robin Philpot’s 19th-century forebear. Philpot himself sees it that way. (…)

Tracey was among the anglos who prominently sided with the Patriotes of the 1830s who rebelled against British colonial rule in what was then Lower Canada. In support of the cause, he ran a scrappy Montreal newspaper, The Vindicator, devoted to getting up the nose of the colonial ruling clique, and stood for election as a Patriote candidate.

It explains in part why Philpot’s fledgling English-language publishing house, Baraka Books, was keen to issue The Riot that Never Was, a book that tells the story of that fateful election in May of 1832 with Tracey as its protagonist. Another reason is that it challenges the conventional version of the tale.”

Coming soon is Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media by eminent African American writer Ishmael Reed, which equates attacks on Obama with so-called “nigger breakers,” who in slavery days whipped uppity blacks into submission. In a gentler vein, there will be Roads to Richmond by Eastern Townships writer Nick Fonda, a collection of small town tales from the region.
Rue Saint-Jacques, site of the shooting

Rue Saint-Jacques, site of the shooting

THE RIOT THAT NEVER WAS launched on the site of the shooting; 70 people attend

James Jackson talks about THE RIOT THAT NEVER WAS with Tommy Schnurmacher – Click and listen…

James Jackson’s THE RIOT THAT NEVERS WAS got off to a good start when it was launched on November 17 in the Hôtel XIXe siècle on rue Saint-Jacques. Some 70 people turned up to obtain this important new book about a little-known and tragic event that took place right in front of the hotel in 1832.

launch-The-Riot1-125x125THE RIOT THAT NEVER WAS by James Jackson reveals exactly what happened and what didn’t happen when British troops shot three innocent Montrealers on rue Saint-Jacques on May 21, 1832. He answers the question about that tragic shooting in a manner that will satisfy those who are similarly interested in answering questions such as: What really happened at Kent State on May 4, 1970 when four students were killed by the National Guard? What really happened in Derry, Northern Ireland, on “Bloody Sunday”, January 30, 1972 when fourteen pacifists where shot by British troops?

Until James Jackson came along,  nobody ever really tried to understand exactly what happened in Old Montreal that tragic day of May 21, 1832.

As a by-election eventually won by Irish immigrant and newspaper editor Daniel Tracey drew to a close in May 1832, magistrates supporting his opponent, loyalist Stanley Bagg, called in the British troops from the local garrison. Ordered to open fire on a supposed mob, the troops killed three innocent bystanders following what has been qualified ever since as a riot. James Jackson establishes that the riot simply never happened and that there was no mob when soldiers opened fire.

His proof is corroborated by affidavits presented to a packed grand jury that exonerated the soldiers and officers and the magistrates who called in the troops. The grand jury comprised a majority of recently arrived English-speaking Protestant farmers even though the three victims were French Canadian and Catholic. Most troubling is the fact that historians have not questioned the official story.

In this historical whodunit, James Jackson is a one-man commission of inquiry, combining the moral indignation of Émile Zola and the writing talent and historical perspective of Pierre Berton.

A fascinating, methodical investigation into a little-known tragedy reveals that truth can prevail even 180 years after the fact.

Scene of the shooting


Rue Saint-Jacques, looking west where the three bystanders were killed. The first building on the right is the old Bank of Montreal building. The vote was being conducted just to the right of the Bank.

James Jackson holds a DPhil from Oxford University. He taught French and Quebec Literature and History for 25 years at Trinity College Dublin. Twice elected president of the Association for Canadian Studies in Ireland, James Jackson now lives in Montreal.

THE RIOT THAT NEVER WAS, The military shooting of three Montrealers in 1832 and the official cover-up
James Jackson

360 pages, 12 photos, maps

Paper $29.95 ISBN 978-0-9812405-5-8

Orders LitDistCo: 1-800-591-6250

In bookstores: November 30, 2009


Baraka Books – 514-808-8504;

“Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers” by Ishmael Reed – Spring 2010

The Torment of Barack Obama!

 OBAMA_C1-72dpi-182x275Under slavery, “Nigger breakers” had the job of destroying the spirits of tough black men by whatever means necessary. At age 15 Frederick Douglass was sold to Edward Covey who had the mandate to break him. Ishmael Reed makes the case that President Barack Obama is being assailed by 20th century descendants of Covey. In a series of essays written during the 2008 primaries and after Obama’s election, he shows how both Obama’s opponents and some supposed allies use modern reincarnations of those same ugly demons to break him. What’s more, statements and alliances he made during the campaign and in office have made him easy prey.

Ishmael Reed is the author of novels, books of poetry, and plays. He is also a playwright. He has won prizes in all categories. He taught at the University of California at Berkeley for thirty-five years. He has also taught at Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Ishmael Reed is a member of Harvard’s Signet Society and Yale’s Calhoun Society. He lives in Oakland, California.

Ishmael1-125x125Ishmael Reed’s previous books of essays include Airing Dirty Laundry, Writin’ is Fightin’ and Shrovetide in Old New Orleans.

ISBN 978-0-9812405-7-2 | 170 pages | trade paper

Available April 2010

50 People Attend Launch of Joseph-Elzéar Bernier and Other Books published by Baraka

Some 50 people crowded into the Paragraphe Bookstore on McGill College for the launch of Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, Champion of Canadian Arctic Sovereignty on Wednesday, September 30. Author Marjolaine Saint-Pierre and translator William Barr of the Arctic Institute explained to those present how important Bernier had been in the establishment of Canada’s sovereignty in the north. They also made it clear that he is still very relevant and that his story is fascinating.

In addition to the book on Bernier, Baraka Books launched America’s Gift, What the World Owes to the Americas and Their First Inhabitants by Käthe Roth and Denis Vaugeois. Käthe Roth spoke for both authors. See the special post on America’s Gift.

It was also the occasion to formally launch A People’s History of Quebec by Jacques Lacoursière and Robin Philpot. Jacques Lacoursière, also present, pointed out that the book is one of the first attempts to provide English readers with an accessible Quebec history book from the point of a French-language Quebec historian. The book appears to have filled a void since it has been on the Gazette’s Bestseller list for eight straight weeks.

Photo: Author Marjolaine Saint-Pierre and translator William Barr.