March 10, 2009

Public Speaking

Book Tour:
A Canadian History of Agent Orange and the War at Home

The village of Enniskillen, a sleepy cluster of a few dozen houses in New Brunswick’s Queens County, has never been invaded by a foreign power. But during the 1950s to 1970s, the village was ground zero for a different kind of offensive, this one launched by the American and Canadian military against its own people with the deadly dioxin Agent Orange. Between 1956 and 1984 the Canadian military and its private subcontractors sprayed more than 1 million litres of rainbow herbicides around New Brunswick. The American military was invited to test Agent Purple and other toxins on Canadian soil after the chemicals had been banned by the U.S. Congress.

This is the story of a war coming home; a story of the military and economic currents that allowed Agent Orange to blow through trees and into rivers in New Brunswick. More than anything, it’s a story of soldiers, civilians and local residents who blew back against the government and companies who poisoned them.

“Chris Arsenault’s tenacious reporting uncovers an important, and untold, chapter in Canada’s history. This book shows how Agent Orange and its toxic friends continue to poison people and ecosystems around the world—and frequently, in our own back yard. In telling this story, Arsenault has shown the diligence of a historian, the righteousness of a crusader, and best of all, the legwork of a private eye. It’s a humane and engaging combination.” — Graham F. Scott, Editor This Magazine

“Chris Arsenault is a crack young Canadian investigative journalist who in his very brief career has already broken several important stories. This book is an impeccably researched study of a little known tragedy about the use of Agent Orange of Vietnam infamy at the Canadian Forces Base at Gagetown, New Brunswick. This is investigative journalism at its best.” — Cy Gonick, publisher Canadian Dimension, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Manitoba

“In Blowback Arsenault lifts the curtain on a shocking and shameful period in Canada’s history. Exploring the intersection of militarism, imperialism, and the subversion of democracy in favour of corporate interests, Blowback is also the story of ordinary people challenging elite interests, told in their own voices. A powerful example of the promise of investigative journalism, Blowback is a people’s story of resistance to a war machine both at home and abroad.” — Alex Khasnabish, Assistant Professor, Mount Saint Vincent University

Chapter One: Bringing the War Home
Chapter Two: Agent Orange in Canada
Chapter Three: U.S. Spraying in Canada
Chapter Four: How It All Comes Out
Chapter Five: The Legal Front
Timeline of Events


Chris Arsenault holds the 2008/09 Phil Lind Fellowship at the University of British Columbia’s Dept of History. A former contributor to CBC Radio, the Halifax Chronicle Herald, THIS Magazine and numerous other publications, Arsenault is currently Canadian correspondent for Inter Press Service, a United Nations affiliate based in New York. Arsenault has reported from Cuba, Colombia, Vietnam, northern Alberta and Chiapas, Mexico and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, York University, Laurentian, St. Fx. and the Universidad Anáhuac in Mexico City.

A former service sector organizer with the Canadian Confederation of Unions (CCU), Arsenault’s journalistic and academic work focuses on corporate globalization, the extractive industries, foreign policy and social movements. Arsenault plays drums for the folk fusion band, The Clementines ( and he presently lives in Vancouver.

Spring Book Tour: Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Fredericton, Oromocto, Char

Toronto: Evening Presentation
24/04/09 19:00
Tinto, 89 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON
Co-sponsor: Tinto

Ottawa: Reading and Signing
1/04/09 19:00
Octopus Books, 116 Third Avenue, Ottawa, ON
Co-sponsor: Octopus Books

Charlottetown: signing
20/04/09 19:00
Indigo, 465 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI
Co-sponsor: Chapters

Moncton: signing
18/04/09 14:00
Chapters, 499 Paul Drive, Moncton, NB
Co-sponsor: Chapters

Oromocto: Signing
18/04/09 11:00
Sharla Books, Oromocto Mall, Oromocto, NB
Co-sponsor: Sharla Books

Fredericton: Launch and Presentation
16/04/09 19:00
Renaissance College, 811 Charlotte Street, Fredericton, NB
Co-sponsor: Conservation Council

Fredericton: Signing
16/04/09 14:00
Westminster Books, 445 King Street, Fredericton NB
Co-sponsor: Westminster Books

Halifax: Reading and Presentation
14/04/09 19:00
Dalhouse Student Union Building, 6136 University Avenue, Halifax, NS

Halifax: Signing
14/04/09 13:00
Frog Hollow Books, 5657 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS
Co-sponsor: Frog Hollow Books

Halifax: Signing
13/04/09 18:00
Chapters, 188 Chain Lake Drive, Bayers Lake, Halifax, NS
Co-sponsor: Chapters

24/03/09 13:00
University of Victoria, SSM Building Room B164

Vancouver Launch
Date: March 19, 2009
Time: 5-7pm
19/03/09 17:00
Meekison Arts Student Space (MASS), Buchanan D Block, RM 140, 1866 Main Mall, UBC


Prior to 2006, most engagements focused on a few major themes: The Zapatista movement and the role of international solidarity, viable economic alternatives to neo-liberalism and service sector union organizing and the future of organized labor.

Venues have included: formal university classes (Dalhousie, Queen's, Western, University of Toronto, University of Anahuc- Mexico City and others), union halls, community centers, Churches and other facilities.

I am happy to speak on anything I have written about.
Contact for more information

Past Engagements

January 25, 2006 International Development Speaker Series, Dalhousie
Marion McCain Social Sciences Building, Halifax, NS

December 3, 2005 Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network (ARSN) AGM
Tatamagouche Centre, NS

October 28, 2005- How Union Matter in the New Economy Conference
Ramada Inn, Toronto, ON
Organized by the Center for Research on Work and Society (CRSW)

May 28, 2005 - Guelph, ON
Guelph University
Organized by OPIRG Guelph

April 7, 2005 - Halifax
Dalhousie University FASS Building, 7pm
Screening: ‘The Take’
Followed by discussion about the links between Argentina and Chiapas

March 10, 2005 - York University
Labour Studies Class Presentation (closed door)

March 9, 2005 - York University
12pm, Student-Worker Resource Centre (CRSW)
Brown bag lunch discussion with slides
Organized by York University Staff Association (CCU)

March 8, 2005 - University of Toronto
McCleannan Building Rm 134
Labour Geographies (closed door)

December 16, 2004 - Victoria, BC
Fernwood Community Centre
Organized with Building Bridges

December 10, 2004 - Vancouver, BC
Simon Fraser University,
Harbour Front Centre
Organized by Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group

December 8th, 2004 - Nelson BC
Exact time and Location TBA

December 6th, 2004 - Lethbridge Alberta
University of Lethbridge
Organized with Alberta Public Interest research Group Lethbridge

December 3, 2004 - Calgary Alberta
7pm Unitarian Church meeting room
1703 1st NW

December 2, 2004 - Edmonton Alberta
5:00pm in the Alumni Room in the
Students Union Building

November 26, 2004 - Winnipeg, Manitoba
7pm Mondragon Cafe

November 22, 2004 - Thunderbay
10:55 am High school class, closed to general public
7pm Lakehead University

November 21, 2004 - Thunderbay
7pm Unitarian Church downtown

November 18th, 2004 - Sudbury,
7pm Sudbury Arts Council
124 Cedar St. Suite 102
Organized with Autonomy and Solidarity
3pm, Sociology class, Laurention University
Closed to the Public
12am, Student centre, Laurention

November 17th, 2004 - North Bay
7pm Nipissing University, room: A133.

Tuesday, November 16th, Sault Ste Marie
7pm Algoma University Auditorium
Organized with Algoma Solidarity and Action (ASA)

November 11, 2004 - Montreal
5:30 pm, McGill University
Shatner Building Room 433 A
3480 McTavish Street
Organized with STAC Montreal

November 8th, 2004 - Guelph Ontario
7pm Bullring café, Guelph University
3pm Guelph University, number 1200 Thronborough
Intro to Women’s studies Class
Organized with OPIRG Guelph

November 1st, 2004 - Waterloo Ontario
5:30 pm Waterloo University, Student Life centre
Room 3103
Organized with OPIRG Waterloo

October 28, 2004 - Kingston Ontario
7:30 pm Sleepless Goat café
91 Princess Street
Organized with the Goat and OPIRG Kingston

October 20, 2004 - Fredricton
When: 7pm, Wednesday, October 20th
Where: MULRONEY HALL room 101 at St. Thomas University.

August 9th, 2004- Mexico City
University of Anahuc
International Media Relations
International Relations 3rd Year, Closed Door.

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