The Strathcona County Library has taken an ad out in the local paper promoting a book entitled How To Blow Up a Pipeline, by Swedish author Andreas Malm. who’s known as a Marxist.
The book was featured along with others in the library’s ad as a recommended “gift pick” chosen by “Adult Service” staff members.
This comes on the heels of activist David Suzuki’s stark warning that pipelines will be “blowing up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” last weekend at a protest in Victoria.
Suzuki has been heavily criticized for his comment including from BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
“Statements like that are not helpful,” said Farnworth, adding they are likely to “alarm people or cause concern.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called Suzuki’s comments “totally irresponsible” during a press conference.
“It’s absolutely an implicit or winking incitement to violence. It’s like in the gangster movies where they say, you know, nice little pipeline you’ve got there, be a terrible thing of something happened to it,” said Kenney.
One user said the library showed “poor judgement” for highlighting the book in the published ad.
“While the title implies violence, the text of the book is not about how to build a homemade explosive device for use in blowing up a pipeline,” said the reader in an email.
“Rather, it focuses on ways and means to support anti-pipeline protests in the most effective manner.”
The reader said he doesn’t disagree with the book being available on a shelf at the library but does oppose the “unmitigated gall and poor judgement of the library staff to place a full-page ad in a newspaper promoting a book that is in direct contravention to the very underlying foundation of Alberta’s economic success, i.e. pipelines.
“In a time when we, as Albertans, feel attacked by a multitude of outside sources both within our own country and abroad, for our oil and gas production, it is beyond the pale that a local library would, without any thought to the political consequence, join the fray by promoting a book that is clearly anti-pipeline,” they said.
“It is even more absurd when one considers it’s their own province that is the most resource-rich in the country and is the single highest contributor of wealth towards national equalization payments.
The reader is calling on the Strathcona County Library to issue a public apology.
“Alternatively, the Adult Services staff could all be replaced with individuals who are more politically astute, people with the ability to show discretion and remain neutral when dealing with highly political and contentious subject matter.”
Library spokeswoman Sally Neal said it was just a case of unfortunate timing.
“Our ‘Staff Picks’ page was not timed to coincide with David Suzuki’s comments. Our deadline for submission was Friday, November 19 while David Suzuki’s comments were made on Saturday November 20,” said Neal.
“I acknowledge that this was unfortunate timing. However, the two circumstances are not related. We do not support violence of any kind, for any reason.”
Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
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