By Joan Baxter
December 12, 2017 (updated January 1, 2018)
Six weeks ago, when I held the first copy of “The Mill – Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest” in my hands, I would never have believed that the book would ever make any headlines, let alone national ones.
But it has. And what’s more astounding is that it went from almost total obscurity to the national media because of the actions of the very people who tried to suppress its promotion, ensure it remained obscure. Just deserts?
The book and its birth – a short history
But I need to take a breath here, and go back to the beginning. It’s been overwhelming and I’m still trying to make some sense of it all and how it transpired.
Even before the book came out, there were times – late at night – that I lay awake questioning the wisdom of spending more than a year researching and writing a book about a pulp mill in a small town in a small province in eastern Canada. It was an intense (and income-less) time.
Not that it wasn’t a fascinating journey of learning. It was that and more.
It was a great pleasure and privilege to meet and listen to so many interesting people who had been involved in one way or another with the mill over the years. Some had family members working there or had worked for the mill themselves at one point. Their views on the mill were nuanced. On one hand, it provided jobs and supported a lot of service industries in the area and forestry contractors around the province. If it smelled, so be it – that was just the smell of money.
But others felt the county had paid too high a price for the big smelly mill. Over the five decades that it had been in operation, one group of citizens after another had come together to create waves of protest, to try to get one government after another to do its job and protect them from the harmful effects of a large industry. Continue reading What happened when The Mill protested the book “The Mill – Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest”