Read all about it! The Hour misses the mark with Reisman

Heather Reisman; president and CEO of Indigo/Chapters

shes rich, shes powerful, she supports literacy…

40% of Canadian adults are functionally illiterate! Thats crazy. She’s helping to bring this to the government’s attention. However, why we would need a bookstore owner to bring this to the government’s attention says a lot about our government.

The Hour did a fantastic job of representing all of her positive qualities… so we don’t have too. In fact , the last quarter of the  Reisman segment seemed just like a Chapters infomercial. 

Even a small dose of critical questioning was missing from this interview.  

Now, im not here to attack the woman (or The Hour), and anyone can question whether the activities of a CEO outside of her work are material to the conversation, but i think it was not only purposeful but boring to ignore the controversy that Reisman has faced in the past, and that is just plain bad journalism.

I also think that the activities of a CEO ARE material to the conversation. we’ve congratulated other CEOs on here before for their charity and green efforts, there should be equal opportunity to reflect the bad just the same.  Even a brief mention in her bio about her controversial support of the Israeli military would have been sufficient.

I also am not here to pick sides within the Israel-Palestine conversation, but I don’t think it should be completely ignored either. 

The following few sentences were completely copied from another site 


Heather Reisman and (husband) Gerry Schwartz, the majority owners of Chapters Indigo Bookstores, have established a program called the “HESEG Foundation for lone soldiers”. HESEG offers grants of financial support to former ‘lone soldiers’ in the Israeli military to pursue post secondary education in Israel. At its peak, HESEG will distribute $3M per year to provide
scholarships and other support to former ‘lone soldiers’.

Lone soldiers are individuals who have no family in Israel but who decide to join the Israeli military. As Israeli soldiers, they participate in a military that operates checkpoints, that restricts Palestinian freedom of movement, enforces the occupation of Palestinian land, and has a documented history of human rights violations


Why should viewers care about this? Why should The Hour have asked about it? because people don’t necessarily know that when they spend money at Chapters it indirectly funds this foundation. Whether this foundation is right or wrong is another argument, but people should know where their money goes especially when the foundation in question deals with a conflict that affects  so many Canadians deeply and emotionally. This is necessary information and thats what journalists are supposed to give us, information.





This interview also could have given her an opportunity to explain her position, give her side- maybe people are missing something in their critique of her foundation? The Hour is usually good at letting people explain their opinions.

Shes a powerful woman with alot of money, and we have said this before: CEOs must be responsible. What she does is relevant to us and the conversation when it is Chapter’s customer’s money that is giving her the ability to create a foundation like this.

I would not be so critical of this interview if Reisman had been there with something important to talk about, but the discussion on literacy was done after about 4 minutes, and much of the rest of the conversation was fluff. There was an opportunity to have a real discussion, and The Hour missed the boat.

Its funny that Reisman mentioned that her  “2009 Canada Reads” choice is “The Book of Negroes”- A book being defended by Avi Lewis. Why is it funny? Because throughout the interview i was thinking: ‘Avi Lewis would not have let her get off so easy here’

It is also interesting that she said that her stores would never offer books that could “incite society toward the annihilation of one group” (i.e. Mein Kampf) and i think that is honourable… but slightly hypocritical considering her support of the Israeli military.


Its also Israeli Apartheid Week:


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