Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does the government want to treat small mags and readers like cockroaches?

Jon Barton, the editor of The Malahat Review and one of the people spearheading a protest group on Facebook about a funding floor in the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) has written a strongly worded opinion piece for the Globe and Mail. The new measure, to come into effect April 2010 would restrict support to magazines with more than 5,000 annual paid circulation; this would effectively shut out many of Canada's small literary and arts publications. (Magazines Canada is in talks with the the Department of Canadian Heritage, asking that there be a targetted support program for small arts & literary magazines.)

Barton said, in part:
The value of cultural magazines shouldn't be calculated solely on the basis of circulation, nor should their funding ...Mixing metaphors slightly, small cultural magazines in Canada have had to emulate that amazing insect with the indestructible chassis, the cockroach; certainly, they've survived many changes of government and always will, though they'd prefer to be birds of paradise (my metaphor's really mixed now!).

But the question is: Does the Minister of Canadian Heritage and his cabinet colleagues – all well-intentioned, committed Canadians who want the best for us – wish to be perceived as treating the writers and readers of this country like cockroaches?


Anonymous Mike said...

I received a response from Heritage about my concerns with the 5000 circ minimum - in the response I received I was told in very clear language that they feel that the Canada Council is fulfilling the needs of small arts and lit magazines, and there isn't need to duplicate effort from Heritage...

1:24 pm  

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