How fortuitous it is that it's a Liberal senator who's demanding an end to Maclean's government subsidy in the wake of its offensive "Too Asian" investigation of university enrolment.
Especially since Vivienne Poy is not just any Liberal senator.
Summoned to the Senate by Jean Chrétien, Ms. Poy happens to be the sister-in law of Adrienne Clarkson who, among other gigs, was a CBC journalist before Mr. Chrétien appointed her Governor-General. And, as we know because he served as Viceregal Consort, Ms. Clarkson is married to John Ralston Saul, who was recently elected International President of PEN, the global champion of free expression.
Can you imagine the reaction if anyone even remotely connected to the Harper government had made the outrageous suggestion of using the government's postal subsidy to influence the content of a news magazine? At minimum, cries of censorship would be heard across the land. And, depending on the personal beliefs and background of the censorious Conservative, who knows what other bugaboos would be raised about the dark proclivities of the current government?
Still, while her motivations are deplorable, Ms. Poy has performed a valuable service. In today's media environment, what possible argument is there for the government to subsidize a general interest magazine like Maclean's? Especially a magazine whose owner-Rogers-has very deep pockets indeed.
No less an authority than Maclean's national editor, Andrew Coyne, recently made this very point in an online exchange with his colleague, columnist Paul Wells. So, over to you, James Moore. And if the Heritage Minister does not see a better use for the $1.5 million flowing from his budget to Maclean's, perhaps Mr. Coyne's intervention will remind Finance Minister Jim Flaherty of some of the basic principles of a true conservative.