Canadian Magazine Industry News
20 December 2010,     OTTAWA/TORONTO
Canadian senator calls for revocation of Maclean’s federal funding
Liberal senator Vivienne Poy has called for Rogers-published Maclean’s magazine to be stripped of its $1.5 million in federal funding for an article originally titled “Too Asian?” which ran in its 2010 University Rankings issue.

 

 
Poy, in a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore said magazines which contain offensive content can be deemed ineligible for federal support. “It has offended large portions of the Canadian population through its divisive journalism, which is increasingly unprofessional” she said. “As such, given Maclean's propensity for speculation, editorializing and courting controversy for the sake of publicity it should no longer be deemed worthy of public funding by Canadian Heritage.”

The $1.5 million is funding Maclean’s is set to receive from the Canada Periodical Fund. Maclean’s is one of five titles getting $1.5 million — the highest amount of funding available from the program — which is in its inaugural year.

In a statement Friday, Maclean’s said it “disagrees with the Senator’s characterization of our journalism.”

Maclean’s has acknowledged the headline of the article, which was taken from a study included in the piece intended to be provocative but not to cause offense. It has been changed to “The Enrolment Controversy” on Macleans.ca.

The magazine, in the editorial from its December 6 issue said comments on the article have suggested Maclean’s holds a negative view of Asian students, but added nothing could be further from the truth. "We find the trend toward race-based admission policies in some American schools deplorable, as do many of our readers," said Maclean's. "Our article notes that Canadian universities select students regardless of race or creed. That, in our view, is the best and only acceptable approach: merit should be the sole criteria for entrance to higher education in Canada, and universities should always give preference to our best and brightest regardless of cultural background. This position was stated clearly in the article: "Canadian institutions operate as pure meritocracies when it comes to admissions, and admirably so," reporters Stephanie Findlay and Nicholas Köhler wrote.”

Senator Poy’s letter followed a vote by Toronto city council demanding an apology for the article, with similar motions passing in Victoria and Vancouver.

In response to the vote by Toronto council Maclean’s said it is "disappointed in the decision because we disagree with council's characterization of the story. We encourage people to read the article, as well as our subsequent editorial on the topic, and make-up their own minds."

Representatives from Maclean’s declined to comment any further on the story saying its most extensive response can be found in its December 6 editorial.

The 2010 University Rankings issue of Maclean's is available on newsstands now.


— V.M.
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