May 12, 1921 – May 6, 2014
Defender of peace, democracy and the natural environment
Farley Mowat has passed away at the age of 92. He lived out his life mainly in Cape Breton, where he spent his summers in retreat from his Port Hope, Ontario home, and which for him was indeed God’s Country. Seventeen million copies of his works were published and his books were translated into 50 languages.
I had the honour to meet him briefly once on the island. It was humbling to hear him express his immediate support for our work (Shunpiking Magazine); this Man of the North knew more of our work than I of his. I had not read any of his works and we had very different views on a number of questions such as the Sea Conservation Society – I regarded Paul Watson as a misanthrope and provocateur.
So what did we talk about? Literature? Natural history? Independent publishing? No, we cursed American imperialism. What united us as Canadians was that both of us had been secretly banned from entering the United States due to our political views, and this was 15 years or more before 9/11. In 1980 I suddenly found out I was barred when I was prevented from transiting from Kennedy to LaGuardia airports in New York enroute from London to Toronto. In 1985, as part of a book tour, Farley was to make a visit to California, but was barred from entering the U.S. by customs officials. It later came to light that he was on a watch list based on files passed to U.S. authorities by the RCMP. 
Deemed “prejudicial to the public interest,” according to the McCarran-Walter Act. How does the U.S. make such a determination? The US directly interferes in the internal affairs of Canada and operates with impunity from the Canadian state. One covert mission of its intelligence agencies within Canada is to compile dossiers on Canadian citizens; no one is exempt, not even a justly acclaimed and peace-loving writer then in his seventies. Such is the separation of politics and arts and literature and “human rights” American style.
My sincere condolences to the family of Farley Mowat, to his many many friends, and to all those in Canada and around the world, who profoundly mourn his loss.
1.News reports about the Canadian government spying on its citizens came to light in 2001. It was reported that the RCMP set up a Public Order Program in the spring of 2001 to exchange secrets on protestors in the lead up to the G8 Summit in Kanaskis, Alberta the next year. The reports stated that the Raging Grannies, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, Amnesty International and the United Church of Canada were targets of surveillance or infiltration.
May 8, 2014