Category Archives: Canada

Gatineau police face ethics complaint after arresting journalist

gatinu police

Gatineau police face ethics complaint after arresting journalist
“We cannot tolerate this in a nation of laws. For me, this is an attack on democracy,” said Vania Atudorei

Published on: March 28, 2018 |

A Montreal CEGEP teacher says she’s filed an ethics complaint against the Gatineau police department after it arrested a Radio-Canada journalist.

“We cannot tolerate this in a nation of laws. For me, this is an attack on democracy. Tomorrow, it could be another journalist if we say nothing,” said Vania Atudorei, who teaches microbiology at Gérald-Godin CEGEP and describes the conduct of the Gatineau force as “third world.”

“I have friends at the United Nations who heard the news, it’s gone international, and they asked me: ‘Is it true that in Canada the police arrest journalists?’ ”

Atudorei says that the journalist in question, Antoine Trépanier, was her former student and she respects his integrity. She adds that her complaint is being studied by the province’s police ethics commission

Trépanier was arrested by Gatineau police on March 13 after Yvonne Dubé, who was at the centre of a journalistic investigation, filed a complaint against him for criminal harassment. Dubé is the director of the Big Brothers and Sisters organization in the Outaouais region.

Gatineau police chief Mario Harel has admitted that his personnel “did not adequately evaluate the situation” before placing Trépanier under arrest.

Quebec’s office of criminal prosecutions decided after the arrest that no criminal act had been committed.

Atudorei believes the officer who arrested the reporter didn’t make the necessary checks prior to acting, and hopes her complaint will result in a sanction being levied against them by the ethics board.

“When we make mistakes in our professional life, errors, there are consequences, no? … I’m not targeting an individual, I’m targeting a procedure and I’m targeting a dysfunction in our public services.”


Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest


Journalist faces unprecedented criminal charges over coverage of Muskrat Falls protest
When Justin Brake made the move that would ultimately result in criminal charges against him, the journalist did not see himself as breaking the law.

He thought it would protect him.

A journalist with Newfoundland online news outlet The Independent, Mr. Brake was in the midst of an intensive stint of reporting on the tensions inflamed by Muskrat Falls, the controversial Labrador-based hydroelectric project, on the day he filmed protesters cutting through a locked gate. When they flooded onto the project site in spite of an injunction blocking trespassers, Mr. Brake followed and continued to film.

While other media remained at the gate, Mr. Brake embedded himself with a largely Indigenous group of protesters (which he refers to as “land protectors”) while they occupied workers’ accommodations. He live streamed their protest for several days.

As a result of his work, Mr. Brake now finds himself at the lonely centre of a rare legal scenario thought to be unprecedented in Canada. More than a year after covering the protest, Mr. Brake is fighting both civil and criminal charges for violating the injunction that protesters ignored. He is thought to be the only journalist ever to have been charged both civilly and criminally for reporting on a matter of public interest in this country.

“To lay criminal charges against journalists is a very rare thing to do,” said Paul Schabas, a Toronto-based lawyer with expertise in media and constitutional law. “Here it strikes me as particularly extraordinary given that they are also proceeding with a civil remedy,” said Mr. Schabas, who is not involved with Mr. Brake’s case. “What’s the need to also pile on a criminal charge?”

Newfoundland provincial court judge Wynne Anne Trahey said earlier this month that the criminal charge is “intended to address matters of public interest” while the civil proceedings “resolve issues between competing parties.” Her comments were part of a ruling that rejected Mr. Brake’s legal request to have the criminal charges stayed.

Open this photo in gallery
Journalist Justin Brake in the APTN bureau in Halifax.


The journalist, who now works in Halifax for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, is awaiting another judge’s decision, which could come any day, on a separate appeal to have the civil charges tossed out. But the likelihood that Mr. Brake will be forced to defend his 2016 decision to favour journalism over an injunction seems increasingly firm.

While much is at stake for Mr. Brake personally – the young father faces jail time plus increasing legal bills – media advocates and legal experts argue that his case, which happens to be unfolding in courtrooms on the geographical margins of the country, ought to be setting off alarm bells nationwide.

“A case where a journalist is effectively charged with a criminal offence for what appears to be doing their job is something that should concern everybody,” said Mr. Shabas.

Duncan Pike, co-director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, said Mr. Brake’s case is “incredibly dangerous for press freedom in Canada.”

“Canadians are very complacent with the state of our freedoms and think that these things don’t happen in Canada – that reporters don’t get arrested for their coverage,” Mr. Pike said, adding: “He was there as a journalist, doing his job.”

With his focus on indigenous rights, Mr. Brake had spent weeks in isolated Happy Valley – Goose Bay interviewing locals, uncovering fault lines and getting a pulse on the remote community’s opposition to the Muskrat Falls dam, which included worries about methylmercury contamination.

On the day that protesters cut the lock on a gate to the work site, Mr. Brake, armed with two iPhones, felt he could not stay behind.

“You have to follow that story,” Mr. Brake said, recalling his decision in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail. “This was me recognizing a major story and making a decision to cover it. I didn’t think anybody would try to apply that injunction to me, recognizing that I was there as a reporter … I took comfort in knowing that we have press freedom enshrined in our constitution and this was a story.”

Born in Newfoundland and raised in Ottawa, Mr. Brake said his aim is to “practice journalism as responsibly as I can.” A key element of doing that involves covering Indigenous issues and ensuring marginalized voices are heard (during a two-year stretch, he said he worked without pay as an editor for The Independent as part of an effort to keep the publication afloat).

Mr. Brake, who does not identify as Indigenous but recently learned he has some Mi’kmaq ancestry, is an advocate for media reform. He has not been shy on social media about criticizing mainstream media when he deems coverage to lack balance.

“I’ve done journalism that is unconventional,” Mr. Brake said. “But I don’t think I’ve been necessarily an activist.”

In defending himself on charges, though, Mr. Brake finds himself advocating for a broader cause.

“I fear that journalists watching my case unfold might be influenced, might be deterred from following such stories,” he said. “Regardless of whether or not I’m convicted in the end, the chill effect is huge.”

Investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis says confidential sources ‘worth fighting for’ The Radio-Canada reporter has been ordered to reveal her sources by Quebec Superior Court


Association of North of American Ethnic Journalists and Writes support journalist Marie-Maude Denis for protecting her source on Quebec corruption case.

Investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis says confidential sources ‘worth fighting for’
The Radio-Canada reporter has been ordered to reveal her sources by Quebec Superior Court

One of Quebec’s most prominent investigative journalists plans to appeal a Superior Court decision compelling her to reveal her sources.

Marie-Maude Denis has worked with Radio-Canada’s investigative program, Enquête, for years.

Denis reported on corruption within the construction industry, which sparked the Charbonneau Commission and led to the resignations of Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, as well as Montreal mayors Gérald Tremblay and Michael Applebaum.

In 2012, Denis reported a story involving deputy premier and Liberal MNA Nathalie Normandeau, alleging ties to the construction industry.

Normandeau was later arrested by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, UPAC, alongside Former Liberal cabinet minister Marc-Yvan Côté in 2016. They now face several corruption-related charges.
However, lawyers for the defence are alleging that media reports — such as those by Denis and Enquête — mean that it’s impossible for their clients to get a fair trial.

In addition, defence lawyer Jacques Larochelle is arguing that the leaks to the media that sparked the reports came from within the UPAC, in an attempt to purposefully incriminate Normandeau and Côté.

Now, Denis has been asked to testify and divulge her sources — something she claims would violate her journalistic integrity.

Denis spoke to CBC Montreal’s Daybreak the day after a Quebec Superior Court judge ordered her to testify.

She shared her reaction to the order, her concerns regarding the repercussions of such a request and how far she’ll go to defend her sources.

Here are excerpts from that interview, which have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Were you upset when this ruling came down on Thursday?
MMD: You know, it’s something that we always have to fight as journalists.

We don’t have that many tools as journalists, especially as investigative journalists, to convince sources to trust us. We don’t pay sources. Many of them don’t have an advantage to speak to us, and they take very, very big risks.

So, the minimum I think as a journalist that I should be able to promise to a source is that I won’t be forced to reveal their identity.

This story had to do with collusion and funding for the Liberal government. Can you explain?
MMD: The story was about a water treatment plant in Boisbriand, and some apparently illegal financing for the Liberal party around this project. And so we aired this story in 2012 and now, six years later, there’s a debate about who gave me those confidential sources.

Marc-Yvan Côté and Nathalie Normandeau’s argument is that there’s a conspiracy high in the police or the justice system to leak some confidential information to journalists in order to have a parallel trial in the public opinion about them.

Marie-Maude Denis
Denis said protecting the identity of journalistic sources is ‘a principle that we have to defend’ as reporters in Canada. (CBC)

Radio-Canada wasted no time in saying that it will be appealing this ruling.
MMD: It was a great relief to see that our bosses — they didn’t even think for a second. It was just so obvious to them.

Because this principle of protecting journalistic sources is very important, and it goes far beyond what we do at Radio-Canada. It’s a principle that we have to defend as Canadian journalists in this country. And we’re the first ones to be called to fight it.

Of course, we know that this is going to go far, and is going to be tested probably up to the Supreme Court of Canada. But it’s such an important principle that we really think that we have to fight for.

I’m very grateful that I work for a company like Radio-Canada, a public broadcaster who defends these values and principles. I can think of journalists and smaller outlets that wouldn’t have the means to take on such a big legal battle.

How far are you willing to go? Would you go to jail over something like this?
MMD: I don’t think it’s proper to say something right now. We’ll just take every step and just cross that bridge whenever we get to the river.

But you know, I’m a journalist in my heart. When I say that I will protect the source, I will protect my sources. That’s what I can tell you.

Advocates call for empathetic police practices after Fredericton woman left stranded by jail staff


Advocates call for empathetic police practices after Fredericton woman left stranded by jail staff

Serena Woods had to hitch a ride from a gas station outside Miramichi to Moncton, then to Fredericton, after correctional staff left her at the side of the road over the Family Day weekend. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)


Read Story Transcript

New Brunswick’s ombudsman is questioning why a woman was recently left stranded by correctional staff outside a gas station with no way of getting home.

Serena Woods was in police custody for panhandling and spent the night in a Fredericton holding cell because she couldn’t pay $200 in fines. The following day, she was transported to the New Brunswick Women’s Correctional Centre in Miramichi and almost immediately released.

Woods was then left at a nearby gas station 200 km away from her home, with less than $20 in her pocket and no way of getting home.

“I had nobody to come pick me up, they just drove me to … the gas station and pointed in the direction of which way I should hitchhike,” she told CBC News.

Serena Woods was left to find her own way home from jail


00:00 01:18


Though certainly no stranger to living life on the margins, Serena Woods of Fredericton says there was no need of the way she was treated by Fredericton police, and sheriffs at the women’s prison in Miramichi. When she was found to have an outstanding small fine she couldn’t pay.Fredericton police drove her all the way to Miramichi to be jailed. After being turned over to sheriffs, they then decided she’s “served her time,” and would be released. 1:18

Ombudsman Charles Murray says officials should have responded to the distress Woods was in and could have reached out to government or volunteer agencies that could have helped.

“People need to just take off their hats as employees and put on their hats as New Brunswickers, or as human beings, and say, ‘What can we do now?'” he tells The Current‘s guest host Laura Lynch.

He’s considering an investigation into the incident and says the province needs to do better to ensure the safety and proper treatment of people in custody.

Going beyond protocol

Murray says it’s not being soft on crime to treat people with humanity “in a way that reflects our values as a society.”

“It’s not about the criminal. It’s about who we are as a people.”

He applauds the truckers who offered Woods a ride home late at night.

“It’s not their job to transport this woman but they saw a person in need. And they stepped up,” he tells Lynch.

“The disappointing thing in this case is that the people we employ as a province to look after these people didn’t see their duty in the same way.”

‘Everyone forgets the bad things that happen to people, well I don’t forget,’ said trucker Victor Poirier, who gave Serena Woods a ride to Fredericton from Moncton. (CBC )

In a statement sent to The Current, the New Brunswick’s Ministry of Justice and Public Safety said: “Upon completion of sentence staff within the facilities work with inmates on discharge planning. We can not keep them an extra day or extra time, this is true whether they are in jail one night or two years.”

In addition, they said correctional staff can offer assistance connecting the inmate with family of community resources and “if an inmate cannot develop a transportation plan, the correctional facility will transport him or her to a central transportation location within the community, for instance to a bus station.”

While standard protocol was being followed to transfer Woods to Miramachi, Murray argues Woods could have been spared the distress of being left outside far from home if someone made a phone call to the facility to discuss how to handle her situation.

“Had that call been made, the people in Miramachi would have quickly confirmed she will now get credit for that time served and be released immediately,” he says, adding that he intends to follow up with the department about why that call wasn’t made.

New Brunswick Ombudsman Charles Murray argues treating people ‘with humanity that reflects our values as a society’ is not an example of being soft on crime. (CBC)

Murray tells Lynch the government needs to create a culture that fosters empathy — a culture, he says, “where people feel that they have empowerment to do the right thing — to do the thing as human beings that they feel should be done — and that the department will back them when they do that.”

Punishing the poor

Radio-Canada reporter won’t face harassment charge


Radio-Canada reporter won’t face harassment charge

Big Brothers Big Sisters director complained to police about journalist Antoine Trépanier

Green party names veteran journalist Jo-Ann Roberts as deputy leader

Jo-Ann Roberts

Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable


March 16 -2018

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers ( Canada _ USA ) is disappointed by  Gatineau, Quebec   Police unacceptable action of arresting Radio Canada Journalist Antoine Trépanier .

We call on Quebec prosecutor to dismiss the case immediately.   

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and Writers ( Canada _ USA )

Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable

Antoine Trépanier was arrested this week after a harassment complaint from an investigation suspect


Journalists are standing behind an Ottawa reporter arrested after a criminal harassment complaint from the subject of a story he had been writing.

A Radio-Canada investigation, with a team including reporter Antoine Trépanier, revealed that the executive director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in Gatineau, Que., falsely portrayed herself as a lawyer and practised law without a licence.

Yvonne Dubé told Radio-Canada she knew nothing about the case and insisted she never represented anyone as a lawyer.

​Trépanier had talked to Dubé over the phone Monday, eventually offering a formal interview request for the story before it was published earlier this week.

After initially accepting the interview, she declined it at the last moment. She instead spoke by phone.

Arrested Tuesday evening

The next day, ​Trépanier sent an email reiterating the offer for an interview.

Subsequently, Dubé contacted Gatineau police and made a complaint of criminal harassment against Trépanier.

Trépanier was arrested Tuesday evening and he signed a promise to appear in court.

The Crown has not yet decided if charges will proceed.

antoine trepanier gatineau radio canada reporter

Trépanier, left, waits outside a Gatineau police station after the criminal harassment complaint was levied against him this week. (CBC)

Radio-Canada stands behind the work of its journalist, both ethically and legally.

“Journalists should be free to contact anybody they want. People can say, ‘No, I don’t want to answer,'” said Yvan Cloutier, director of French services for Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau.

“People have the right not to answer our questions, but to complain to police and for police to put you under arrest because you’ve asked questions, this is abnormal and we can’t accept that.”

Cloutier said he doesn’t know exactly what Dubé told police, so it’s tough to comment on the police decision to arrest the reporter.

He said he had never seen anything like this in his 30 years in journalism.

Advocates for journalists called the arrest troubling.

“It’s extremely concerning that the Radio-Canada reporter was arrested just for doing their job,” said Duncan Pike, co-director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. “It certainly undermines press freedom and puts a chill on the kind of public interest reporting that Canadians rely on everyday.”

He said the case is rare and reporters need to be able to do their job.

Stéphane Giroux, president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, said that from what he knows, police acted too soon.

“Gatineau police claim they’re doing their job by the book and I’m sure they are, however, police have a lot of discretionary power.… I think police should have taken the time to further investigate,” he said.

‘We have the obligation to listen’

Gatineau police held a media briefing early Friday afternoon, where the force’s director, Mario Harel, said “we have the obligation to listen to the victims … regardless if [the accused] is a journalist, a politician, a star or an ordinary citizen.”

When asked about what Trépanier did to necessitate an arrest, Harel said he couldn’t get into specifics, and could only speak to what happens when someone files a complaint at the police department.

“If there are criminal details in the complaint, the officer has the obligation to protect the public and the victims, and to act accordingly,” he said.

Doug Ford New leader of Ontario conservative Party -but party divided

doug ford

Doug Ford New leader of Ontario conservative Party -but party divided – Christine Elliot does not accept her defeat .Doug Ford says Kathleen Wynne’s ‘days are numbered’ in 1st appearance as Ontario PC Party Leader
By Jessica Patton Global News
WATCH: After narrowly winning on Saturday, the new leader of the Ontario PC Party Doug Ford walked the St. Patrick’s Day parade route in Toronto.

– A A +
Hours after being named the new Ontario PC Party leader, Doug Ford says he is focused on defeating Kathleen Wynne and only wishes rival Christine Elliot the best, despite the candidate voicing concern over irregularities in the voting.

Ford made his first public appearance, at Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, since being announced as leader. He was all smiles as he walked along Bloor Street shaking hands with parade-goers, many congratulating him on his win.

Ford was announced as leader late Saturday night, seven hours later than the winner was originally scheduled to be heard at a convention centre in Markham, Ont. Party President Jag Badwal said Ford narrowly eked out the win over former provincial legislator Christine Elliott on the third ballot. Elliott finished 153 points behind Ford on the final ballot.

READ MORE: Doug Ford declared Ontario PC Party leader after chaotic convention

Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney placed third, while social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen finished last.

Language barrier: Why some of Canada’s diverse filmmakers are shut out of funding

Language barrier: Why some of Canada’s diverse filmmakers are shut out of funding

Ava won prize for best 1st feature film but wasn’t eligible for financing because it’s in Farsi

By Nigel Hunt, CBC News Posted: Mar 10, 2018 4:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 10, 2018 4:00 AM ET

Ava has been nominated for eight Canadian Screen Awards including best actress for Mahour Jabbari, right. But the Farsi-language film didn't qualify for funding from Telefilm Canada, which only finances films made in English, French or Indigenous languages.

Ava has been nominated for eight Canadian Screen Awards including best actress for Mahour Jabbari, right. But the Farsi-language film didn’t qualify for funding from Telefilm Canada, which only finances films made in English, French or Indigenous languages. (Sweet Delight Pictures)

A small film called Ava — the story of a teenage Iranian girl facing pressures from family and society — is the biggest movie at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards. It has eight nominations and one special win already: it was announced in late January that Ava had won the Best First Feature Award, sponsored by Telefilm Canada.

Telefilm is the country’s main film funding agency, helping Canadian filmmakers get their movies made. Last fiscal year, Telefilm allocated more than $100 million to the production and promotion of Canadian films.

But Ava was not eligible for Telefilm funding.

That’s because writer-director Sadaf Foroughi is a Canadian citizen but decided to make Ava in Farsi, her native language, and film it in Iran.

The co-production with Iran and Qatar qualified as a Canadian film under the federal government’s rules, since key creative roles are filled by Canadians. But Telefilm only finances films made in English, French or Indigenous languages.As a result, Foroughi had to rely on smaller grants from arts councils, which meant making her film on a shoestring budget, and sometimes not having enough money left over to feed herself.

“I had lots of difficulties,” she told CBC News. “Sometimes I ate less to keep all the money, because I knew that I didn’t have any other funds.”

Films in Mandarin, Korean also shut out

Foroughi is not the only diverse Canadian filmmaker facing this language barrier.

Last year, Old Stone by director Johnny Ma won the same Best First Feature award sponsored by Telefilm. It was nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards, but it also wasn’t eligible for Telefilm funding because it was made in Mandarin.

Albert Shin was born in Canada of South Korean descent, and decided to make his debut feature film, In Her Place, in Korean. His film played the Toronto International Film Festival, and garnered seven Canadian Screen Award nominations in 2015.

In Her Place

Albert Shin’s debut feature film In Her Place, starring Gil Hae-yeon as a pregnant teenager who is convinced to give up her baby for adoption, was made in Korean. (TimeLapse Pictures)

Even though it also qualifies as a Canadian film, it too was ineligible for funding from Telefilm because of language, a situation Shin calls “frustrating.”

He feels a film can be “uniquely Canadian” due to the artistic sensibility of its writer and director, even when it is set outside of Canada and filmed in a language other than English, French or an Indigenous language.

A ‘very difficult choice’

The executive director of Telefilm Canada says the agency receives four to five times more requests from filmmakers than it can afford to fund.

“It’s a very difficult choice to make,” said Carolle Brabant, who is stepping down this month after eight years in the job, adding, “We would love to, if only we had more money to do so.”

Brabant said there has been some discussion around changing the eligibility requirements, but “we’re not ready yet.”

Chair of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Martin Katz pointed out that Indigenous language films used to be ineligible, as well. That rule was changed a few years ago.

“If we look at a film like Ava, which is such a beautiful film in Farsi, and it’s really about issues that young women all over the world are facing at the same time, I think we look at that and step back and ask ourselves the question ‘Why are our rules like that? Why are our rules not different?'”


Deepa Mehta’s Water was able to get Telefilm funding because she also shot a version in English — which was never released. (Mongrel Media)

Given that Canada participates in international co-productions all over the world, Katz thinks there should be a way to make those films “part of the Telefilm family.”

One veteran Canadian filmmaker did find a way. Deepa Mehta got around the language rules when she made her Oscar-nominated 2005 film Water in Hindi: she shot an English version at the same time just to qualify for Telefilm funding, even though it was never released.

Films ‘uniquely Canadian’

For those filmmakers caught in the funding gap due to their choice of language, change can’t come soon enough.

“We can make films that take place in different countries but they’re uniquely Canadian because we’re a country that embraces other cultures and other creeds and religions,” Shin said.

Albert Shin

Canadian director Albert Shin shot his first feature at a family farm in South Korea. He wants to see Canada at the vanguard of a ‘post-national’ cinema. (TimeLapse Pictures)

“We can be in the forefront of that — we have the population to do it, we have the stories to do it. This is a unique thing that Canada can bring to the world cinema stage.”

For now, Shin has to keep those ideas on hold. He’s writing his next feature film in English so it will be eligible for Telefilm funding.

Foroughi, however, is already planning her next movie in Farsi.

“[Telefilm] has to believe in us,” she said. “I think we have talent even if the film’s language is in Chinese or Korean or Arabic or Persian, but we are Canadian.”

The Canadian Screen Awards broadcast gala will air on CBC-TV on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

Women’s Day -18 Canadian women writers to read in 2018


18 Canadian women writers to read in 2018

March 8 is International Women’s Day. To celebrate,

Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot is the author of the forthcoming book Heart Berries. (Isaiah Mailhot)

Terese Marie Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band in British Columbia. Her upcoming memoir, Heart Berries, is a poetic look at mental health, love, intergenerational trauma and growing up in her west coast First Nation community. Mailhot is a columnist and is part of the creative writing faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts, as well as the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight is a writer based in Vancouver. (Greg Ehlers/

Chelene Knight grew up as the only mixed East Indian and Black child in her family during the 1980s and 1990s in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In her recent memoir, Dear Current Occupant, published in 2018, she writes a series of letters addressed to the current occupants of the homes she lived in as a kid. Growing up, her family lived in 20 different residences. In the book, she revisits each one as a way to make sense of her own past.

Emmanuelle Chateauneuf

Emmanuelle Chateauneuf is the author of Queen Street, a graphic novel. (Emmanuelle Chateauneuf)

In her debut graphic novel, Queen Street, Emmanuelle Chateauneuf draws from her experiences as a second-generation Canadian to create a touching tale about a woman who leaves her job at a prestigious law firm in the Philippines for love, marriage and motherhood in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. While she deals with poor job prospects in the small town, only able to get gigs serving at Asian restaurants, her daughter struggles to fit in among the fair-haired, pale-skinned girls.

Carrianne Leung

Carrianne Leung’s debut novel The Wondrous Woo was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. (Carrianne Leung)

Carrianne Leung is a fiction writer based in Toronto. In 2014, her first novel, The Wondrous Woo, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award. Her second, That Time I Loved You, explores life’s challenge through the eyes of one young Canadian of Chinese descent living in 1970s Toronto.

Lorina Mapa

Graphic novelist Lorina Mapa’s Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me is a memoir about growing up in the Philippines in the 1980s. (Lorina Mapa)

Quebec artist Lorina Mapa first began illustrating early memories of her father after his sudden death. It was a form of therapy that evolved into her debut graphic memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me. The book chronicles her coming of age in the Philippines as a new wave rock enthusiast and politically active teenager during the 1980s with the People Power Revolution as the backdrop.

Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (Nadra Ginting)

Sharon Bala may have just published her debut novel, The Boat People, in January but she’s been receiving praise for her growing body of work for a while now. The Boat People is about a group of Tamil refugees who arrive off the coast of British Columbia on a ship with the hopes of gaining asylum in Canada. Though fictional, it gives a sobering look into the tumultuous experiences of refugees in North America. The manuscript won the 2015 Percy Janes First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the 2015 NLCU Fresh Fish Award. Now it’s a Canada Reads 2018 finalist.

Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is the author of the novel Scarborough, which appeared on CBC’s best Canadian fiction of 2017 list. (Yeemi Tang)

Catherine Hernandez is a Canadian playwright. Her debut novel Scarborough, was shortlisted for the 2017 Toronto Book Awards. Set in a low-income urban neighborhood, the story follows three kids, who struggle to overcome poverty and abuse, and the community around them.

Carleigh Baker

Carleigh Baker is the author of Bad Endings. (Callan Field)

Carleigh Baker is a Cree-Métis and Icelandic writer whose debut short story collection Bad Endings was shortlisted for the 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. In what began as a form of catharsis after her divorce, Bad Endings explores mental health, strained relationships and family dynamics through humour.

Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng Thom, a writer and social worker, has published a novel, a children’s book and a poetry collection.(Jackson Ezra)

In the last two years, writer and social worker Kai Cheng Thom has released a novel called Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir, which led to her winning the 2017 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. That same year she published a children’s book entitled From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea and released a book of poetry called a place called No Homeland.

Durga Chew-Bose

Durga Chew-Bose, author of “Too Much and Not the Mood.” (Carrie Cheek)

Durga Chew-Bose is an essayist, from Montreal and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Hazlitt and The Guardian. In 2017, she became a published author with her collection of essays Too Much and Not the Mood, a poetic exploration of identity and culture.

Katherine Ashenburg

Katherine Ashenburg is the author of the forthcoming Sofie & Cecilia, her debut novel. (Katherine Ashenburg)

Katherine Ashenburg may be an award-winning nonfiction author with various titles and newspaper columns under her name, but at 73, she’s taking a foray into new territory — fiction. Her first novel, Sofie & Ceciliaexplores the nuances of female friendship in adulthood.

S.K. Ali

S.K. Ali is the author of the YA novel Saints and Misfits, which can be found on the Canada Reads 2018 longlist.(Andrea Stenson)

Up and coming fiction writer S.K. Ali puts faith and devotion at the heart of her stories. Her debut YA novel, Saints and Misfits, longlisted for Canada Reads 2018, is about a teenage Muslim woman’s struggle to understand how a trusted and prominent member of her religious community could commit assault.

Jennifer Houle

Jennifer Houle is the author of The Back Channels. (Jennifer Houle)

Jennifer Houle is a New Brunswick poet. Her debut poetry collection, The Back Channels, explores building a meaningful life in a rapidly changing environment and culture. It won the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick’s Alfred G. Bailey Prize for best poetry manuscript and the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award in 2017. Her writing has also appeared in various literary journals.

Canisia Lubrin

Born in St. Lucia, poet Canisia Lubrin now makes her home in Whitby, Ont. (Anna Keenan)

Canisia Lubrin is a St. Lucia-born poet, living in Canada. Her debut poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis, is informed by her experience growing up in the Caribbean and then moving away, along with the stories her grandmother would tell her as a child. It explores Black identity, displacement and colonialism.

Kate Harris

Kate Harris is the author of the autobiographical book Lands of Lost Borders. (Joanne Ratajczak/Glorious & Free)

Kate Harris is a Rhodes Scholar, explorer and writer published in The Walrus and Canadian Geographic. Harris travelled 10,000 km through 10 countries across the Silk Road with a friend. She wrote about it in her first book, Land of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road. During the 10-month journey, she explored the political, cultural and environmental history of the places and people she encountered.

Liz Howard

Liz Howard is the author of Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, winner of the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize in 2016. (Griffin Poetry Prize)

Liz Howard is a Northern Ontario poet of Anishinaabe descent. Her debut collection of poetry Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in 2015. In 2016, it won the Griffin Poetry Prize in the Canadian category. The collection, inspired by her upbringing in an isolated rural town, explores the demands of life in the contemporary world.

Eva Crocker

Eva Crocker is the author of Barrelling Forward. (Alex Noel)

Eva Crocker of Newfoundland is a fiction writer and an editor at the arts and culture newspaper The Overcast. Her debut short story collection Barrelling Forward, was shortlisted for the 2015 NLCU Fresh Fish Award. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers and won the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award. The book delves into the anxieties of new adulthood in the midst of economic uncertainty.

Djamila Ibrahim

Djamila Ibrahim was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to Canada in 1990. (Dana Jensens)

Djamila Ibrahim, an Ethiopian-born writer, moved to Canada in 1990. Her debut collection of short stories, Things Are Good Now, published in February 2018, delves into the migrant experience, the difficult choices newcomers often have to make and the weight that carries on the human psyche. Her various stories take place in East Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Canada.

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