So I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on on the side: an online version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on Canada’s residential schools. The TRC report is a vital resource that weaves together survivors’ testimony and historical records into a thorough, authoritative account of how the government and the churches used residential schools as a means of destroying Indigenous families, languages, and cultures. It’s a part of history many Canadians know very little about.
I started reading the full report in print, but the book was too huge to carry around, and I felt bad about sharing inaccessible photos of text on social media. It’s only online as huge PDF files—not terribly accessible either. There are e-book versions to buy or borrow from the library, but I don’t have an e-book reader. And while the #ReadtheTRCreport YouTube playlist is a fantastic project, I’m not really into video or audio myself. Hence, this project.
If you’re interested, here’s the boring technical details. Basically, I use a command-line program to strip the text out, then lots and lots of regular expressions (basically search-and-replace on steroids) to mark up paragraphs, footnotes, blockquotes, etc. nano’s Justify and Indent features are handy for formatting. It still requires a lot of proofreading alongside the original PDF.
Currently, the site is hosted on GitHub Pages, a free, built-in service. I will probably move it to its own platform eventually. Nothing too fancy. I want to keep it as lightweight as possible, so even people in the middle of nowhere with crappy Internet connections can download and read it.
It’s the last Council meeting till October, and as you’d expect, the agenda is packed. There’s a ton of shelter- and housing-related items, the aftermath of this spring’s floods, banning penguins, terrible motions from Cllrs Ford and Mammoliti, and more. Watch the livestream or follow my tweets.
I’m back, bitches! On a site where I can say “bitches”! I’ll try not to go overboard. Here’s everything worth caring about on this month’s City Council agenda. Watch the livestream or follow my tweets.
I’m incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to contribute to a great publication. Torontoist’s editors (and I mean copy editors too! ilu guise) have improved my writing immensely. And a shout-out to the many Torontoist Flickr pool photographers whose work has enriched my articles.
However, I deserve to be paid fairly. And Torontoist doesn’t have the budget for that.1
I’ll be reaching out to other publications that may be a good home for my municipal politics coverage. In the meanwhile, my City Council previews (and everything else) will appear here.
As you know from Who Pays Writers, Torontoist pays freelancers $15 per article. I believe a fair amount would be about $150-300 per article (depending on length and work involved) and $20 per hour of liveblogging. ↩