The editor and publisher of CMG Online, an online-only motorcycle magazine is mounting a Facebook, lobbying and letter-writing campaign to get the provisions of the Canada Periodical Fund changed.
Rob Harris's beef is that the funding earmarked for online development will go disproportionately to print magazines to create online sites that compete with web publications like his. He acknowledges that one part of the fund (Business Innovation) does allow print and web media to apply, but it’s geared to encouraging new media, not helping established magazines like CMG Online..
Harris is asking readers and supporters to write to James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and provides a draft letter on his website and on a Facebook page he's created for the campaign. He has also enlisted the help of his own MP, Dominic Leblanc.
"The government’s Aid to Publishers fund that professes to enable Canadian magazines to “overcome market disadvantages and continue to provide Canadian readers with the content they chose to read” is threatening to kill innovation and quality on the Internet."[he writes in an editorial on the magazine's website]....
"I'm all for competition, but would rather compete on a level playing field where survival and prosperity are the upshot of one’s ability to do a good job and not on one’s ability to attain government handouts. And though I’d like to think that operating a lean machine, with a great staff and a loyal readership will be enough, it’s hard to even remain standing on a playing field that is tilting far from level.
"But if the government does insist on giving handouts then be fair about it. Promote magazines that provide Canadian readers what they want, regardless of the medium that they are presented upon."