Roxanne Dubois

Roxanne Dubois is a union activist, reader, and writer based in Toronto. Every Friday, she publishes an email newsletter called vendredi français which shares original writings and francophone content from all over the web.

Read and subscribe at http://www.vendredifrancais.ca or catch her on twitter at @roxannedubois.

Reading through the unprecedented: 2020 reads

Reading through the unprecedented: 2020 reads

Welcome to the end of 2020 where a pandemic made the first half of this year unprecedented, and the rest of it unbelievable, but devastatingly true. Last year, my end-of-year reading compilation was titled 'Reading Balzac in end-times'. So this year, I will avoid any attempt to sum up the dreadful, brutal year that was 2020. Here are my 2020 reads.

Defending public health work

Defending public health work

Public health agencies have carried the weight of this pandemic for many months now. As COVID-19 cases rise across Canada and the Fall reveals clear signs of a second wave, it is important to remember the role and purpose of public health workers at all levels -- local, provincial and national.

What is a union and what is it not?

What is a union and what is it not?

The Alberta majority government has moved a series of bills that, when looked at together, drastically undermine unions in the province. Bill 1, passed in May, makes it illegal to protest 'essential infrastructure'. Bill 32 makes multiple changes to labour law, restricts picketing activities, creates an onerous system where members must opt-in for dues used for 'political activity', and more. Finally, Bill 26 changes the Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act allowing big money to pour into Alberta politics.

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese | Book review

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese | Book review

In this 2012 novel, Saul Indian Horse is a young Indigenous boy who grows up in a residential school in Northern Ontario. Author Richard Wagamese (1955–2017) signed this masterful tale of resistance through sports. The story was made into a beautiful movie, but it's well worth reading the book even if you have seen it.

Un livre un jour, un livre toujours

Un livre un jour, un livre toujours

Il y a quelques années, j'ai eu envie d'approcher la lecture de façon structurée. J'aime lire un peu de tout, mais j'aime aussi me fixer des objectifs pour lire des œuvres que je ne lirais pas autrement. En 2017, je suis tombée sur la collection d'Olivier Barrot *Un livre un jour, un livre toujours*, et j'ai su tout de suite que mon programme était fixé. En ordre chronologique, cette liste de 200 livres fait le tour des grands classiques de la littérature.

The right-wing are being forced to eat their own cuts

The right-wing are being forced to eat their own cuts

Prior to the pandemic, many unions and labour activists were in the thick of pushing back against right-wing governments. In Ontario, the PC government under Doug Ford spent its first two years in office slashing health care and education, imposing public-sector wage constraints, and implementing a radical transformation of public services in Ontario. In Alberta, Jason Kenney was still in early days of pursuing a similar program. Then comes a pandemic, and Canada's right-wing has changed their tune.

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline | Book review

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline | Book review

I knew I wanted to read Cherie Dimaline's new book as soon as it came out. I didn't get to it in 2019, but a number of people have -- it has topped Canadian bestseller charts for months now. /Empire of Wild/ is a compelling, fast-paced thriller that pulls from Métis mythology and symbolism. In this book, prepare to come face-to-face with the legendary figure of the Rogarou.

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson | Book Review

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson | Book Review

World events are off to a seriously concerning start for 2020. I learned of the US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian military officer while in the midst of reading /American Spy/ by Lauren Wilkinson. Her debut novel takes place during the Cold War, when a young FBI agent gets recruited by the CIA for an assignment in communist Burkina Faso. Current global geo-political context aside, I have found in /American Spy/ a fulfilling story written by a promising novelist.

Reading Balzac in end-times: 2019 readings

Reading Balzac in end-times: 2019 readings

My reading in 2019 was marked with the discovery of new Indigenous authors, the completion of some ambitious classics, and reading through a wide range of new authors, in French and English. As is becoming a tradition, I am sharing the bright spots that got me through the year.