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The Ideologues in charge of Canadian Publishing

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I've been peripherally aware of Canadian publishing, or "canlit" as some call it for decades now, and how it operates. A friend of mine has published a couple of books, but not in Canada. I once asked him why not, and his answer was that Canadian publishers aren't interested in anything popular. They're interested in stories which are told from a far left perspective about the triumph of this or that identity group member in the face of evil racism, sexism and whateverism. He said it was much the same in terms of government grants. You can't get one for writing something ordinary people will actually read. It's got to be about the awakening of a black lesbian in rural Manitoba and her fight against the racist patriarchy etc.

This column lays bare just how infested with leftist ideology Canadian publishing is, from the university courses to publishers carefully screening manuscripts to make sure nothing offensive to anyone is included, to government grants requiring all works meet goals of enhancing diversity. Basically, if you want to publish something which goes against leftist groupthink you not only won't get government support but publishers will flee in horror.

Why does this matter? Because this all impacts Canada's culture and values, and it's a harsh, intolerent, groupthink mentality of the far left.

Those of you with short attention spans should pass.

"As part of the feedback process, I was told that MPub students should be striving toward a “higher level of social conscience: one where we don’t just ask what the publisher’s responsibility is to hold itself to account, but rather where our collective responsibility as a society is to hold the publisher to account.” My own view is that publishers should operate with their customer in mind. But my professors repeatedly emphasized the manner by which such a mindset could hurt the “collective.” In one feedback note, I was told that “appealing to ‘market logic’ or ‘business decisions,’ or any other facade is to do an injustice to our future.” The word “diversity” was flung about liberally."


There are a small number of large Canadian publishers that produce mass market books, and would survive without government funding. But the majority of publishers in Canada are small. Especially in the case of those publishers specializing in poetry and literary fiction, government subsidies represent the lion’s share of income. Indeed, the revenue streams these publishers get from the Canada Council and its provincial counterparts often dwarf actual sales revenue. And so I cannot just blame the academy for what has happened to this industry: A tendency toward social-justice groupthink and bureaucratically imposed notions of diversity has been baked directly into the defined funding requirements that keep most Canadian publishers solvent.


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