The Province (Vancouver), Monday, 5 July,
Free-trade foe's a hit
by Jeani Read
'Twas the night before Canada Day.
In the Vancouver Public Library downtown people were
gathering for the book launch of one of the most
interesting author's of the library's Celebrity Authors
series: David Orchard.
Quite a lot of people were gathering. There were
about twice as many people as seats, with more arriving
to stand, lean over the mezzanine railing, perch along
the broad baseboards or swipe additional chairs from
David Orchard, as ever, was proving to be quite a
But David Orchard — author?
I bet you thought he was just one of those
rabble-rousing anti-free-trade activists, the head of a
motley group of — well, honestly, just regular people —
called Citizens Concerned About Free Trade. Not an
author at all. Certainly not a celebrity author, since
he and his followers are so very clearly just-folks.
And since he has never really got to be a really
high-profile popular guy (some people find some of the
things he says so darn irritating).
But yes, now he's saying those irritating things in
print. In the interval between free-trade elections —
the one in 1988 and the one I think we can safely assume
is coming up — Orchard has written a book, The Fight for
Canada (Stoddart, $17.95).
It's already into its second printing. Orchard says
American anti-free-trader Ralph Nader has offered to
write the foreword to an American edition, which is in
the works. The book has enjoyed well-attended launches
in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Ottawa and Montreal.
"The Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa was
packed," Orchard smiles at the nice irony. The Vancouver
launch was last Wednesday, and Orchard will be at the
Victoria Public LIbrary tomorrow and at The Bookstore in
Nanaimo July 7.
The cover of The Fight for Canada pretty well sums up
the tone of the book: It's a detail of the American
flag, showing the white stars of the states — with one
star replaced by a Canadian maple leaf.
The Americans have been trying to expand into the
north since 1613, Orchard says in his book, and there
have been many close calls. But "we haven't capitulated
for four centuries. There's no need to capitulate today,
If you've ever heard Orchard speak, you'll know he
prefaces his remarks with a long and fascinating history
of Canada based on these takeover attempts, which used a
Variety Pak arsenal of guns, trade and trickery.
The Fight for Canada adds detail to the theme, and
then analyses the history and effects of the current
free-trade deal with the U.S., the likely effects of the
North American Free Trade Agreement and the dynamics —
and defeats — of Meech Lake and the Charlottetown
One of the main reasons the book exists, apart from
providing a unique perspective on Canada's history, is
to inspire people to work toward the abrogation of the
FTA and prevention of NAFTA. Orchard, among others,
believes they spell the death of Canada.
He argues that the only sure solution is a temporary
electoral coalition of the NDP and Liberals against the
Impossible? It's been done many times before in
countries facing mortal threat — and we even have a
beautiful historical precedent here at home: A coalition
of passionate political opponents, after all, allowed
the creation of Canada in the first place.
Interested? Call 683-FREE.