Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Health care authors in Moose Jaw

Ryan Meili answers questions about his book and his prescription for better social health while Gary Engler waits idly by for his turn at a double book launch Tuesday evening.
Gary Engler on left, Ryan Meili on right
By Aaron Stuckel 
Moose Jaw Times Herald
June 12, 2012

Two Moose Javian authors were at Java Express Tuesday evening for a double book launch that featured both fictional and non-fictional insight on Canadian politics as they relate to health and health care.

“There’s a connection between the two books in that one is a work of non-fiction about the health care system and politics and one is a novel sort of about the history of how our health care system came to be,” said Gary Engler, author of The Year We Became Us.

Engler’s fictional novel is set in Moose Jaw in 1962 during the doctor’s strike in Saskatchewan that occurred as the province began it’s move towards Medicare. Through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl with two very different views, the novel is a snapshot of one of Canada’s defining moments.

“American writers have all kinds of novels set during important events of American history. It seems to me that it’s an important thing for Canadians to do the same thing,” said Engler. “The strike of 1962, it seems to me, is one of the pivotal events in Canadian history. Most Canadians today, when asked what makes this country better than the United States, say Medicare.”

Born in 1953, Engler spent the first 13 years of his life in Moose Jaw before the closing of the Robin Hood flourmill sent his family elsewhere. But the impressions left on him during those years have filtered their way into the book, becoming what Engler describes as a “third character” in itself.

“When I grew up, there was a lot of rivalries between kids from different parts of town, to the point where we would have fights just because we were from different sides of town,” he said. “Moose Jaw made things clear to people. There were stark divisions.”

Engler’s take on the history of Medicare and the politics that occurred around that formative time blended nicely with his cohort in the double book launch, Ryan Meili.

For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.

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