A double-whammy from the Globe and Mail‘s John Barber: due to protectionist media rules brought in during the Mulroney years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s book on hockey
— ghostwritten by G&M columnist Roy MacGregor — will have to be published outside the country. Inline Update: The G&M has retracted the claim that the book was ghostwritten. Thanks to commenter Dwayne for the update.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s upcoming book on the history of professional hockey will be published in the United States rather than Canada because of prohibitions embedded in the government’s own cultural policy.
Simon & Schuster, the U.S.-based company chosen to publish the English-language edition of the Prime Minister’s book, is banned from publishing books in Canada under the Investment Canada Act. But the act does permit foreign-owned companies to distribute titles they have published in their home territories.
A single edition edited and printed in the U.S. will likely appear simultaneously in both markets, so Canadians will not have to wait to buy a copy.
“It’s ironic that he is publishing with a company that is forbidden by his government to have a Canadian publishing program,” Toronto literary agent Denise Bukowksi said. “But if North American rights are contracted in the U.S.A., they can get away with it.”
Three years ago, the Harper government announced a review of the policy, which the government of Brian Mulroney adopted to promote the growth of Canadian publishers at the expense of the multinational companies that then dominated the domestic market. The government has yet to announce changes.
Update: Hmmm. The story gets a bit more confused, as Roy MacGregor is quoted in this story denying any involvement:
Roy MacGregor, who has written 40 books, including the popular Screech Owl series, has talked with the prime minister about the book and describes him as “fanatically” knowledgeable.
MacGregor, who has worked as a ghost writer, says Harper hasn’t employed one.
“I can guarantee you there’s no ghost,” he said. “I’m sure it would come up. The reason it would come up is I know of his stated determination that no matter how long it took, he wanted to be the one that did it. He had research help but it was going to be him plucking away at the computer keys.”
H/T to Colby Cosh for that URL.