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Canada’s Largest Bookstore Refuses to Stock Bestselling Book on Freedom Convoy Trucker Protest

Canada’s largest brick and mortar bookstore has refused to include on its shelves a book about the recent Freedom Convoy trucker occupation protests in Ottawa. 
Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: July 20, 2022
Indigo has blacklisted a book by Andrew Lawton on the Freedom Convoy from its brick and mortar stores.
Canada’s largest bookstore, Chapters Indigo, in a 2015 file photo. Indigo is refusing to shelve a book on the recent Freedom Convoy trucker occupation protests despite it being written by a well accredited journalist and published by a major firm. (Image: via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Canada’s largest brick and mortar bookstore has refused to include on its shelves a book about the recent Freedom Convoy trucker occupation protests in Ottawa. 

The move is especially curious because the title is written by a respected journalist who has written columns for Canada’s establishment media and published by a company whose founder was one of the founding editors of one of the largest newspapers in the country.

The book in question is The Freedom Convoy: The Inside Story of Three Weeks That Shook the World written by True North Canada journalist Andrew Lawton and published by Sutherland House.

The 190-page title is described by the publisher as combining Lawton’s “own on-the-ground reporting and countless hours of interviews with the Freedom Convoy’s organizers and volunteers to tell, for the first time, the whole story of the convoy.”

Lawton formerly hosted a radio show on Corus Entertainment’s 980 CFPL, was a candidate for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in 2018, has enjoyed publication in newspapers as large as The Washington Post, and appeared as a commentator on CBC, CTV, and BBC World.

In a July 19 article published by the Postmedia syndicate, Sutherland House founder and Publishing Executive Kenneth Whyte explained that they contacted Chapters Indigo, Canada’s largest and most mainstream bookstore, “As it usually does with all its books, but the company was not interested in putting it on its shelves,” the article explained.

Instead, Indigo was only willing to make the book available on its website.

Whyte, who was a founding editor for Postmedia keystone National Post, said, “We have a good relationship with Indigo…So, this was surprising.”

The Freedom Convoy trucker occupation protest shook North America and the rest of the world as a vanguard of semi truck drivers, incensed by a mandate imposed by the ruling Liberal Party requiring vaccine passports to conduct cross-border trucking, parked in the downtown of capital city Ottawa for weeks in protest.

The protest was so successful that it served as inspiration for the current bout of farmer’s protests rocking the Netherlands as citizens face off against the government’s attempt to install the United Nations Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals under the pretext of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada’s protests were completely peaceful, but were eventually dispersed when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to install a regime of semi-martial law that led to the truckers eventually being scattered via police force usually seen in totalitarian countries.

Whyte explained that Lawton’s book was topping best seller lists, including Amazon’s, before the June 24 release date. But when they reached out again to Indigo to see if they’d reconsider, “They still weren’t interested.”

Indigo declined to provide a reason for their decision, but Whyte speculates it’s because the company has “a problem with the subject matter or the perceived politics in the book.”

In a statement given to Postmedia, an Indigo spokesperson gave up the ghost when they said, “We believe that access to books fuels discussion and can bring about change.”

Indigo nonetheless claimed that the reason to decline the title a position in stores was because of limited shelf space. 

Indigo’s brick and mortar outlets are roughly the size of the average Walmart or Target.

Lawton’s book topped a number of establishment-left best seller lists, such as reaching #1 in Non-Fiction in the Toronto Star’s Best Selling Books in Canada list on July 13 and #1 in Non-Fiction on the Globe and Mail’s July 16 Bestsellers list.

The 44-year-old Lawton expressed his disapproval of Indigo’s stance on July 19 on Twitter, “I’m humbled by how much support there has been for my book…Disappointing that a company I grew up buying books from doesn’t think their customers are interested in it.”

Whyte told Postmedia that this is the first time Sutherland House has had a book blacklisted by Indigo and that the company carries many of his titles.

“I’m pretty sure we’re losing sales because it’s not in the bookstore,” he added, noting that they’re keeping the author busy with public relations events to promote the title in the meantime.

For Canadian purchasers who wish to bypass Indigo’s online services and support the author, Sutherland House currently sells the book directly on its website for $21.99 CAD. 

As of time of writing, there are still 7 signed copies available at no additional upcharge. 

The book can also be purchased from Amazon Canada in both paperback and Kindle edition.