Columnist Christie Blatchford’s controversial new book, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare Of Fear And Anarchy, And How The Law Failed All Of Us, is about the First Nations occupation of Douglas Creek Estates.
Protesters prevented you from speaking the University of Waterloo.
I was, yeah, and I’ve been invited back. My fear is that we’ll go from one ridiculous extreme to the other. The first time I went to Waterloo, three people with bicycle locks chaining them together managed to completely shut down my speech. This time the university, I think embarrassed by what happened, is overly well-prepared and I’m sure there’ll be all but, you know, a paramilitary organization in there to protect me, which I’m sure isn’t necessary either. So we’ll see what happens.
You refer to the book as “this sucker.” Can you explain your feelings about writing it?
It was hard. The only other book I’ve really written was about Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Because I was in Kandahar then, I wasn’t in Caledonia. So it meant I had to read a lot more newspapers, local papers, I had to read more documents, I had to make sure that I even knew what the weather was on certain days. All the people I interviewed, probably close to 50 people, it took a lot of work just transcribing the tapes, and then I had to write it very quickly.
What did you do when you were done?
I went out to dinner with my friends Moose and Pat and had a glass of wine. Mostly it was so great not to have to work every night until midnight. I didn’t have to go back up to my prison. By then I had already started the renovation of my house, and a massive diet, so I had two other ways in play already to punish myself. What a dope, eh?
You once suggested your paper should have a full-time aboriginal issues reporter. Is that still needed?
I think it’s a great idea. But tackling the aboriginal story in this country is so complicated and so f----d up that it would consume you completely. I was out at Yellow Quill, this northern reserve in Saskatchewan. It was so depressing and so corrupt and so hopeless, I don’t know where you’d start. Someone should do it, but I just don’t think it’s going to be me. I don’t have the heart.