Senator says Maclean's should lose $1.5 million in federal funding over “Too Asian?” article

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      A Canadian senator is urging the federal government to pull $1.5 million in public funding from Maclean's magazine.

      Senator Vivienne Poy of Toronto has sent a letter to Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore, calling the magazine's controversial “Too Asian?” article "offensive material" and a "legitimate reason" to revoke the publication's federal funding.

      In her letter dated December 16, Poy notes that the city councils of Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto have all passed motions condemning the piece.

      The November 10 article, since retitled "The Enrollment Controversy", has been described as "offensive and full of stereotypes" by the Chinese Canadian National Council, which has demanded an "unqualified public apology" from Maclean's.

      Poy, a former University of Toronto chancellor, points out that the magazine has also garnered complaints that it has exhibited an "anti-Islamic bias".

      "It has offended large portions of the Canadian population through its divisive journalism, which is increasingly unprofessional," Poy wrote in her letter. "As such, given Maclean's propensity for speculation, editorializing, and courting controversy merely for the sake of publicity, it should no longer be deemed worthy of public funding by Canadian Heritage."

      Poy's letter observes Maclean's receives "substantial funding" from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

      The Canada Periodical Fund's list of 2010-11 recipients shows Maclean's is due to receive $1.5 million in funding.

      (The only other magazines listed as $1.5-million recipients are Canadian House & Home, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, and Reader's Digest.)

      Poy notes that publications that contain "offensive content", such as that "denigrating to an identifiable group", are ineligible for financial assistance from the Canada Periodical Fund.

      Maclean's—which is owned by Rogers Publishing, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications—defended its story in a November 25 commentary.

      "Some of the comments we have seen on the Internet and in other media have suggested that by publishing this article, Maclean’s views Canadian universities as 'Too Asian,' or that we hold a negative view of Asian students," the magazine stated.

      "Nothing could be further from the truth."

      In a November 27 commentary on Straight.com, Henry Yu, an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia, asserted that Maclean's published response to the public outcry was a "nonapologetic nonapology".

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.

      Comments

      36 Comments

      KiDDAA Magazine

      Dec 18, 2010 at 5:55pm

      This would hardly be the first time that Macleans offended any group or religion. They went after Muslims with an article written by a Jewish writer named Stein, how could that be unbiased. There articles never seem to tow any line but the usual, right winged line in politics. I have read some good articles in Macleans but its quite obvious they are slanted to the right. Have not seen many articles on Indo Canadians but then again maybe or not the editor has a bias. Far from revolutionary or deserving of funding by Canada. I do support Canadian magazines and media after all we get mostly American slants.

      Ryan Clayton

      Dec 18, 2010 at 6:29pm

      Okay, I think this is finally going too far. I do think the original article, "Too Asian," crossed a few lines, and an appropriate public outcry highlighted that and brought attention to stereotyping in general. The response from Macleans, while maybe not an "unqualified apology," did point out that the editors were aware of the response and taking it into consideration. We have addressed the problem.

      Threatening to remove their funding is dangerous. Journalism is founded on the principles of free speech, and if the threat is a loss of funding and business, that effectively kills the ability to speak freely for fear of going out of business. We don't need to agree with Macleans every time. In fact I often disagree with many articles in the magazine. However, they deserve the right to publish their articles just as we have the right to criticize and write and respond right back. I certainly will.

      Ken Lawson

      Dec 18, 2010 at 6:44pm

      Funding to MacLeans must be increased to 3.0 million, this woman Senator Poy should be booted out the Senate before it is abolished, Do you know how this woman got into Canada in the first place. She has a big mouth and does not put Canada first, I have seen her act on Senate Committee's via CPAC live streaming, the only other one that is just as bad is this Liberal appointment of Larry Campbell. Once again "NO Foreign Students" in Canada from HK/China. These people are just using Canada, and people like Vivan Poy have not waken up to reality.

      dhcongrave

      Dec 18, 2010 at 7:58pm

      I would like to add to Ryan's comments, aside from being PC censorship, this now seems to be a competition of which politician can earn a Canadian Nobel prize on Political Correctness. Vancouver, Toronto what about all the provincial governments that should be showing their PCness by condemning any perceived insult or disparagement against ANY identifiable group. All these politicians are just looking for the vote from the identifiable minorities and are certainly not morally superior. The ordinary, run of the mill Canadian just knows that to express almost any opinion exposes them to possible criticism for not being political correct and prefers to keep quiet. Canada is living in a self made Orwellian society where a small group of self perceived purity determines what is correct and what is not.
      Dave

      Taxpayer

      Dec 18, 2010 at 8:10pm

      As a taxpayer and voter, especially during tough economic times, I get to tell government how to spend our money, particularly if it has been allocated to frivolous programs that lack substantive policy guidelines and rely only on a ministers discretion. The Canadian Periodical Fund amounts to nothing more than a slush fund for Heritage Minister James Moore. I find it equally despicable that government supports Rogers subsidiaries in ways that are unnecessary, when the parent company should be able to support them without making taxpayers pay for their own a business and profit.

      15 9Rating: +6

      Ken Lawson

      Dec 18, 2010 at 11:24pm

      Dave you do not how correct you are, but we must speak at all polls next time Federal, Provincial and Municipal and get this people out of Politics, question them on their views before you vote.

      TheMan

      Dec 19, 2010 at 1:06am

      How about firing Vivienne Poy and not giving her the senator pension she'll be getting. That will save over 1.5 million, and Maclean's can still have thier funding.

      Political correctness has gone way too far, and it's time to tell them to shut up!

      James Smith

      Dec 19, 2010 at 2:14am

      It's news to me that Macleans'is subsidized. So that means taxpayer money including mine gone to waste, plus the cost of my subscription.