Readers of a controversial new book by former politician Michael Bryant have been finding a message covertly left by bike activists. The message challenges the author’s account of the events leading to the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard.
Critics view Bryant's memoir, 28 Seconds, as part of a PR campaign to rehabilitate his political career after an August 31, 2009, altercation with Sheppard. Bryant was driving at the time, while Sheppard, who died from the incident, was on his bike.
Bike activists have been entering bookstores in downtown Toronto and placing bookmarks inside every copy of the memoir that they can find. The bookmarks invite readers to visit the website bryantwatch.ca.
"The purpose of the bookmarks is to give the other side of a one-sided story" said Derek Chadbourne, a local bike activist. "We’re not going and burning books or anything - we're just trying to get the other side out there."
"He is blaming everyone for what happened but himself. He blames the car, he blames Darcy, he blames the police for doing a shoddy job, but he won't take responsibly himself," Chadbourne told the Toronto Media Co-op.
On September 1, 2009, police arrested Bryant and charged him with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
The former Attorney General of Ontario then employed the services of Navigator Limited, a public relations firm, to manage his reputation.
In May 2010, the charges against Bryant were dropped by an out of province prosecutor.
Bryant's book, released last month, has led many to believe he is laying the groundwork to re-enter politics.
"We will do our best to make sure he doesn't have a political career again," said Chadbourne.