Canada Council Shenanigans: CAE Story Rejected, Small Canadian Publishers Need Not Apply + New Book Review + More on Canada Post at the End

 

Canada Council logoEach year the Canada Council presides over the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year’s finalists came from among hundreds of submissions in the non-fiction category. Finalists mainly were books published by one American company and American branch plants in Canada:

Mark L. Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, from the giant American publisher, Harvard University Press.

Ted Bishop’s The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, and Our Relationship with the Written Word, from the Canadian branch plant operation of giant American publishing conglomerate Viking/Penguin/Random House — Viking/Penguin Random House Canada.

Michael Harris’ Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, from the Canadian branch plant operation of giant American publishing conglomerate Viking/Penguin/Random House — Viking/Penguin Random House Canada.

David Halton’s Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada’s Voice at War, from McClelland & Stewart, a subsidiary of American branch plant operation Penguin — Penguin Random House Canada

Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird, Douglas & McIntyre, a subsidiary of Howard White’s BC-based Harbour Publishing

Good on the winning authors. However, Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird appears to be the only actual all-Canadian title this year. His publisher, Howard White, of BC’s Harbour Publishing/Douglas & McIntyre is a true Canadian success story all the way. Having begun as a kitchen table publisher, Howard has built up his company, which is a major operation doing important books. The company has some 600 titles to its credit.

As far as US publishers and their Canadian branch plants taking home all but one of the Governor General book awards, good on them as well. They met the Canada Council’s specs. However, it seems a bit goofy of the council that, at the bottom end of the book publishing “food chain”, small all-Canadian, internationally acclaimed publishers such as CANAV Books get the bum’s rush out of Rideau Hall regarding the Right Honourable David Johnston’s Governor General’s book awards. Here’s the story.

Since 1981 CANAV Books has published 36 important Canadian titles honouring Canada’s aviation heritage. CANAV has established the standard for publishing in its niche. Several of its titles are official best-sellers and all have been reviewed glowingly in the Canadian and international press. Besides my own CANAV titles, I’ve published seven other Canadian authors.

For the first time since 1981, in 2015 I decided to enter a book in the Governor General’s awards competition, non-fiction category. I submitted Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story which, by the initial feedback, meets the mark as an authoritative, finely-produced piece of work covering a major Canadian success story. CAE itself is Canadian to the core. By now it’s “way up there” in the big leagues, having started humbly in a grubby little war surplus hangar in 1947. So … The CAE Story certainly warranted a good look as a real book entered in the the Governor General’s awards.

Months went by with no word from the Canada Council. Finally, in late October 2015 the finalists were announced, Bee Time from Harvard University Press in Massachusetts taking top prize. CANAV had no word about the awards celebration, etc., dead silence until, that is, I received a letter from the council dated May 4, 2016, explaining how The CAE Story did not even qualify as a Canadian book worthy of the Governor General’s consideration.

In its letter the Canada Council explains: “The publishing house does not meet the eligibility criteria established in the program guidelines”, since, “over 25% of titles published by CANAV Books were written by owners, family or employees of the publishing house.” Apparently, The CAE Story is not a real book. Can you imagine? Guidelines … what in the world, eh! Does the Governor General know about his organization’s arbitrary rule freezing out an important niche in Canadian book publishing?

The fix seems to be in at the Canada Council. Instead of encouraging legitimate, homegrown Canadian book publishers, it’s partying with its mainline/A-team US book publishing pals, while small Canadian players summarily get thrown under the bus by draconian fiat. It looks like a bit of a crock up at the Canada Council. The organization needs to get back to the basic business of encouraging (not squishing) legitimate, world-class, Canadian book publishing.

Let’s hope the Governor General might take the Canada Council to the wood shed for a good straightening out. Maybe then we can get the “Canada” back into “Canada Council”, eh.

Meanwhile, the worldwide press and our loyal readership continue to comment. Today, I heard from aerospace professor, writer, blogger (“Passion Aviation: Blogue aéronautique de Pierre Gillard”) and photographer, Pierre Gillard, who reviews The CAE Story:

Infatigable, Larry Milberry s’est lancé dans la rédaction de l’historique du célèbre fabricant de simulateurs de vol CAE. Après les deux ouvrages de référence consacrés au Noorduyn Norseman, voici donc un autre sujet diffusé dans la série « Aviation in Canada » relatif à une entreprise établie au Québec. L’histoire de la compagnie débute à l’aéroport de Saint-Hubert où CAE occupe un hangar situé le long du chemin de la Savane pour y effectuer de la maintenance et du reconditionnement d’appareils électroniques issus de surplus militaires. La compagnie prend ensuite de l’expansion, notamment, en étant associée au développement de tours de transmissions destinées au système de navigation LORAN dans le nord-canadien. Puis les activités commencent à se diversifier dans d’autres secteurs industriels comme la télévision, par exemple, et, simultanément, CAE s’établit dans de nouvelles installations situées à Ville-Saint-Laurent à Montréal. Avec l’acquisition de l’Avro CF100 par l’Aviation royale canadienne débute réellement le développement de l’expertise de CAE dans le milieu des simulateurs de vol. C’est assurément cette activité qui rendra la compagnie célèbre dans le monde entier. L’auteur détaille donc méticuleusement la chronologie des différents projets de simulation, qu’ils soient civils ou militaires. Mais il n’oublie pas en chemin le volet humain de l’aventure de CAE grâce à de nombreuses entrevues et récits de membres du personnel qui viennent rehausser le texte d’histoires vécues et d’anecdotes. Il détaille aussi les nombreuses autres activités, souvent un peu moins connues, de la compagnie que ce soit dans le secteur médical, les centrales nucléaires ou la maintenance d’aéronefs à Winnipeg, par exemple. Même s’il manque l’un ou l’autre contrat dans l’immense énumération détaillée de l’ensemble des projets de simulateurs de vol, ce livre va au-delà des attentes que l’on peut avoir pour ce genre d’ouvrage. Tout comme l’ensemble de l’œuvre de Larry Milberry, “The CAE Story” est un incontournable et deviendra, très certainement, une référence mondiale en ce qui concerne l’histoire des simulateurs de vol.Canav Books, Toronto, ON, 2015, 392 pages, environ 750 photos. ISBN 978-0-921022-44-2.

You can see CANAV’s years-long Canada Post lamentations by scrolling back to various blog items. Have you heard today (June 22) that Canada Post CUPW this summer is threatening another strike? Talk about depressing, eh. Yesterday yet another neighbour brought me my very important First Class mail, which he had received from the letter carrier. Should we really be giving these well-paid public employees another raise so they can regularly deliver our private mail to other people’s houses? To tell you the truth, we’re getting a little tired of Canada Post’s “Get to Know your Neighbours” mail delivery plan. Someone needs to whip this once-wonderful public service back into shape, but to where, to whom do we turn for help?

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5 responses to “Canada Council Shenanigans: CAE Story Rejected, Small Canadian Publishers Need Not Apply + New Book Review + More on Canada Post at the End

  1. Sent this to the Governor General Larry. Let’s see if there is a response.

  2. Larry you obviously haven’t kissed enough political ass. Pucker up. 🙂

  3. very interesting on Globe Swift CF DLD which my father owned 1961 to 1965 then sold to polish gentleman and father bought a Mppney mk 20A the article is not all tre as where it was those years totally I remember two belly flops on two different occasions for hyralic failure at buttonville airport in early sixties and crankshaft filure and emerge landing in farmers corn field near Ottawa and farmer coming out yelling about damage corn,and then ripping wings off and getting it ready to put on trailer to take back to toronto Leddatt aircraft for repairs ,my father in sister were killed leaving buttonville to come back to St Kiffs in 1969 in the mooney and got to about 15000 ft and tail and rudder snapped of of airplane pleasecontact any questions byroom777@yahoo .ca thanks

  4. very interesting on Globe Swift CF DLD which my father owned 1961 to 1965 then sold to polish gentleman and father bought a Mppney mk 20A the article is not all true as where it was those years totally I remember two belly flops on two different occasions for hyralic failure at buttonville airport in early sixties and crankshaftailure and emerge landing in farmers corn field near Ottawa and farmer coming out yelling about damage corn,and then ripping wings off and getting it ready to put on trailer to take back to toronto Leddatt aircraft for repairs ,my father in sister were killed leaving buttonville to come back to St Kiffs in 1969 in the mooney and got to about 15000 ft and tail and rudder snapped of of airplane pleasecontact any questions byroom777@yahoo .ca thanks so sad it took to lives to find that dry rot was cause of my father sisters fait but wth new tail assembli or trust 6 months before and still serious problems

  5. The Canada Council eligibility awards for publishers – listed first suggests that the awards are primarily intended to recognize publishers as business entities, hence no self-published books or books with any links between author and publisher are eligible. If, the awards were intended to bring recognition to the author and the book, then publisher criteria wouldn’t even be listed. There should be separate awards for ‘publishers’ versus authors/books. As well, the books that received awards are in keeping with what’s currently ‘trending.’

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