There are actually two different questions in the title of this post. The first is: why is this book necessary? The origins of its argument about Canadian defence procurement can be traced all the way back to the late 1970s. Shortly after I was hired by McMaster University in 1976 to teach in the political science department, the Liberal government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau decided to buy a new fighter aircraft for Air Command (as the Royal Canadian Air Force was known back then). One of my new colleagues, Michael M.
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I bought my second sailboat, the first one big enough to sleep on, in 2003 when I was living in Halifax working as an editor at The Chronicle Herald.
It was a 1982 Tanzer 7.5, a beat-up 24-foot fibreglass boat, and when I bought it, it was sitting on the hard, as sailors say, in Chester, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, an hour from Halifax.
Inspiration for a book comes from unexpected places, and from every era in an author’s life. I’ll share two parallel examples with you.
When I first had the idea to write Hawk, I knew I would have to go to the Oil Sands and see it with my own eyes. I'd done a lot of online research and had already decided that my protagonist would come from the remote First Nations Community of Fort Chipewyan, down-steam of the oil sands industry where according to Mr. Google there was a lot of sickness, including cancer, thought by some to be related to toxins from the industry.
Ukkusiksalik is the traditional name of a region in the northwestern corner of Hudson Bay. No one lives there today, but for the Inuit it has a special significance because it was a land of plenty for their ancestors, a bountiful hunting ground where one could always find food. In difficult times and in times of hunger, people came from the north and the south and from inland to the west to find sustenance in Ukkusiksalik. As a result, it is a landscape of stories.