Thursday, August 14, 2008

More On Heritage Canada And Catholic Insight: This Time Its Conspiratorial!

Blazing Cat Fur has been doing a fair job covering the kerfuffle over the Questionable Content Complaint raised against Catholic Insight magazine. Her latest has a few scans of letters from Heritage Canada informing CI that it has been put on a watch list for questionable content, and that issues of it will have to be submitted to the Department of Canadian Heritage for vetting. If CI fails to comply, it may lose its PAP (Publication Assistance Program) subsidy, a sum of money handed out to Canadian magazines to help pay their mail-out costs.

However, BCF has a severe case of the SoCon Conspiracy Theories. You know: Heritage Canada is picking on Christian publications while letting the gays and the Islamists off the hook. Let me quickly deflate a few of her issues: the case of Father de Valk and Catholic Insight I believe a double standard may be at play, that not all animals are equal in the eyes of Heritage Canada, but more on that later. Based on what I have learned to date Heritage Canada has placed Father de Valk on their "watch list" for the same material by and large, that was used as evidence in the recently dismissed Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint raised against him. Father de Valk is in effect both guilty and innocent depending on which Kangaroo is in charge.

It is absolutely true that material which was not considered adequate evidence for convicting de Valk of the HRC complaint levelled against him is now being used as material in his QC complaint.

And that's just because the bar for having your PAP subsidy taken away really is just "being offensive", where this is defined as follows:

[The Magazine]...contain(s) material considered to be hate propaganda, sexual exploitation, excessive or gratuitous violence, denigration of an identifiable group or an any other way offensive.

Note the last phrase especially: "[in]...any other way offensive". Since the HRC ruling in the de Valk case basically stated that CI was offensive, but not offensive enough to meet the commission's standard for hate speech, then the decision is pretty good grounds for arguing that CI is in some way offensive. And of course that the mere fact that a HRC complaint was levelled against CI is in itself evidence that at least some people found its content to be in some way offensive.

Tough shit Father de Valk! Bye Bye free stamps!

In the same way, I have worked material into my QC complaint against Maclean's magazine from the various HRC complaints (that failed) against it. The argument will be: though not offensive enough to trigger an HRC sanction, the material is definitely offensive and therefore Kenneth Whyte ought to pay for his own stamps.

Secondly, BCF tries to draw a comparison between CI and Inside Out Toronto, a gay and lesbian film festival also sponsored by Heritage Canada. Well, yes, but Inside Out is not a publication and therefore not receiving a PAP subsidy. Catholic Insight is being judged specifically on its fitness to receive a PAP subsidy and not some other variety of Heritage Canada funding. This is just a silly attempt on BCF's part to muddy the waters.


buckets said...

I also note that this is old news. Note the date of this letter posted at BCF, which begins by apologizing for a delay in responding.

So this has been ongoing for at least a year.

bigcitylib said...

Yeah I noticed that too. Or, more precisely, wondered why you would be interested in the letter at your drafts site and finally noticed the date. Funny that De Valk is more than willing to comply with this imposition, and yet fought the HRC thing tooth and nail. I'll have to ponder what that means.

Ti-Guy said...

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! 60,00$ for a two-year subscription to Catholic Insight? Harpers Magazine is cheaper than that. Of course, with Harpers, you don't get all the sex talk.

Beijing York said...

What I find funny is that these same freedom of speech proponents who are crying foul about CI being denied a subsidy under the "offensive" clause in the Postal Assistance Program are the same gang who are supportive of the introduction of a similar clause to the Film and Television Tax Credit Program.

Blazingcatfur said...

BCL, there is nothing conspirational about pointing out the obvious hypocrisy and double standards of Heritage Canada. They monitor de Valk yet give free reign to the porn industry whether in Fab Magazine or the InsideOut Festival.

Buckets what difference does it make that the news of Heritage Canada monitoring Catholic Insight only came to light now? It's still happening that has been confirmed directly with Heritage Canada. I do not see your point, be advised that I was made aware of this matter by an interested 3rd party, not by Catholic Insight, who may have good reason for not having gone public with this information.

Beijing I suggest you re-read my post and the others that link to mine, with the exception of Deb Gyapong the belief that state funding is bad policy is almost universal, this viewpoint is shared by most commenters as well.

As I stated elsehwere, my point is not whether funding is right or wrong in this instance, but that a different standard is being required of Fr, de Valk than is demanded of others.

Would a complaint against say Fab change that? I doubt it would even be considered.

bigcitylib said...


"They" in this case are almost certainly different people in two different departments of Heritage Canada administering two different funding mechanisms according to two different sets of provisions.

Certainly "they" is not Scott Shortcliffe of the PAP program. He would not, I imagine, have had anything to with the Inside Out festival. So he could not be applying the PAP rules according to a double standard. Similarly, the Heritage Canada Person on the Inside Out file would not be applying PAP rules at all, but another set of criteria. And therefore the CI case is not evidence that this person is applying whatever criteria they are using according to a double standard. The CI case is irrelevant.

Ti-Guy said...

but that a different standard is being required of Fr, de Valk than is demanded of others.

And it was demonstrated that you are incorrect. Now correct your post and apologise.

Just kidding. Keep poking around the gay porn sites, BCA. You're providing a valuable service to your readership.

Blazingcatfur said...

You are arguing a very meagre point BCL, I doubt the guidelines are dramatically different between departments.

bigcitylib said...

Doubting or hoping? Call me when you find out.

buckets said...

Buckets what difference does it make that the news of Heritage Canada monitoring Catholic Insight only came to light now?

Doesn't really make much difference, I suppose. I noticed the date and mentioned it.

Did the document come to you with the author's name blanked? or is that your doing?

buckets said...

be advised that I was made aware of this matter by an interested 3rd party, not by Catholic Insight, who may have good reason for not having gone public with this information.

OK. But the copy of the letter of complaint that you've posted is clearly made from Insight's. (Note the high-lighting in the cc section.)

Betweenthelines said...

I would like to know a few things:

a) Why did Heritage Canada not advise the complainant of its decision to monitor CI? Looks like HC decided in July 2007 to monitor CI, but as of Nov 2007 it still had not been communicated to the complainant. This seems to benefit CI.
b) If this is so upsetting to Fr. De Valk, then why was he crowing in a Dec 20, 2007 Lifesite article that the HC complaint had been resolved in his favour?
c) Has BCA actually read any of CI's objectionable material? This stuff is not just theological arguments, but viscious anti-gay propaganda that cherry picks data to smear queers. This stuff definitely contravenes HC's PAP guidelines. Don't citizens have the right to call their government to account for how it administers public programs?
d) Is Archbishop Collins of Toronto aware that 4 regular contributors to CI have also posted material on the white supremacist website, Canadian Heritage Alliance? Does the Archbishop think that CI's links to white supremacists represent good optics? Or is the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" the norm in the Archdiocese?