Monday, August 8, 2016

Why a Hamilton city councillor formed a book club for his residents - CBC

by Samantha Craggs
Originally published: August 3, 2016

Matthew Green hosts meetings for The Illegal, which he says is relevant with new Syrian refugees.

On the surface, it sounds unorthodox — a politician running a book club?

'It brings the community together to have difficult conversations about displaced people, migrants, race, religion and gender. That's all incumbent on civic leaders.'
- Matthew Green, city councillor
But in Hamilton's Ward 3, that's exactly what's happening. And everyone is reading The Illegal by Hamilton's Lawrence Hill.

Matthew Green, city councillor, says the book resonates in his ward, with its large population of new Canadians, including some of the nearly 1,000 government-assisted Syrian refugees who have arrived in Hamilton since late last year. So he's holding four book club events in an effort to build empathy and a sense of community.

It's not necessarily the job of a politician. Typically, they deal with weightier matters — tax increases, infrastructure, $1 billion transit decisions.