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Truro author to hold book signing after all

The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest
The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest

After the cancellation of a book signing for Truro author Joan Baxter's “The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest,” Pictou County store owner Carrie Stewart was disappointed and wanted to do something.

In light of the cancellation Saturday at the Coles in Highland Square Mall, Stewart decided to host a book-signing at her business, The Art of Divination, in Stellarton on Dec. 16.

"I'm against bullying. What came across with the cancellation felt like bullying. I wanted to give (Baxter) a venue to share her opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion," said Stewart.

Although she was disappointed in what happened with Coles, Stewart said she isn't against Northern Pulp, and doesn't want to see anyone's jobs jeopardized.

She added, "My biggest ideal is that (Northern Pulp) would meet provincial environmental guidelines in cleaning up their effluent."

Kathy Cloutier, communications director for Northern Pulp, said the company and its employees responded to the planned book signing at Coles with a letter-writing campaign.

Employees and retirees associated with Northern Pulp signed an emailed letter that objected to the event, threatening to no longer patronize the business if Coles carried through with the book signing.

"I understand there have been comments that there has been some aggression potentially toward the Coles staff locally, and that is something that Northern Pulp's management would not condone, and certainly not encourage," said Cloutier. "We have a lot of employees who frequent the mall and who were offended over this book."

The email from Northern Pulp described Baxter's book as "one person profiting off negativity toward Northern Pulp and its past and present workforce that have raised families, put children through university and continues as a generational employer."

The letter ended with "should management (local or headquarters) follow through with this book signing promotion, I will NO longer be a patron of Coles in New Glasgow or any other Coles/Chapters locations."

Staff from the Coles store at the Highland Square Mall offered no comment, suggesting The News could contact Indigo for further information.

Kate Gregory, senior manager of public relations with Indigo, the company that owns Coles, stated that "a number of events leading up to the signing in New Glasgow" led the company to its decision to cancel the event.

"Our commitment to this experience may have been compromised. This was not due to pressure from the mill," she wrote.

Indigo has been in touch with Baxter, and has proposed a larger off-site event at a later date with Indigo as the bookseller. Gregory noted that Indigo has hosted two signings for the book, in Dartmouth and Truro.

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