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Toronto Star’s Joe Fiorito Takes On the OAC

Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito discusses the Ontario Arts Council‘s withdrawal of funding for Guernica Editions in today’s paper. The full article can be read online: http://www.thestar.com/article/678694

Says Fiorito, “The Ontario Arts Council, which has provided modest funding over the years, has just stopped giving grants to Guernica… That’s not just stupid, it’s offensive.” Fiorito cites the OAC’s assessment that Guernica’s titles “fell below the standard in impact and viability,” wondering whether that means “it’s hard to sell a Guernica book in an airport.”

Guernica Editions recently appealed to its readership to protest the withdrawal of funding: “We have recently learned that the Ontario Arts Council has discontinued all funding for Guernica Editions. This is an unjust decision that threatens to censor the several hundred writers to whom Guernica has given voice over 31 years of publishing, and to suppress important elements of Canada’s culture and identity as a whole. Please write to the OAC and to your local politicians to express your support for Guernica, and to request their help in reversing this decision. Following is a sample letter you may wish to send to the individuals listed below.

To help support Guernica Editions, please write to:

John Brotman
Executive Director
Ontario Arts Council
jbrotman@arts.on.ca

John Degen
Literature Officer
Ontario Arts Council
degen@arts.on.ca

The Honourable Aileen Carroll
Minister of Culture
Province of Ontario
acarroll.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Peter Tabuns
MPP Toronto – Danforth
Culture Critic, New Democratic Party
tabunsp-qp@ndp.on.ca

You can also find contact information for your local MPP here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/member_addresses.do?locale=en

Guernica Editions recommends a letter similar to this:

Dear ____________,

I am writing to request your help in reversing a decision by the Ontario Arts Council to eliminate funding for Guernica Editions. In its 31 years of publishing, Guernica has facilitated dialogue within and among Canada’s diverse communities and led the debate about Canada’s identity. Guernica has published more English translations of Francophone Canadian writers than any other publisher. It has remained the foremost publisher of Italian-Canadian literature in the world, while keeping pace with the changing faces of Canada. Guernica has published more than 800 writers.

The OAC’s decision threatens Guernica’s future as a publisher, rendering this unique body of work unavailable to Ontarians, and to the world, and silencing many voices that would continue to enrich Canada’s cultural landscape. Please intervene in any way possible to convince the OAC to reconsider this decision.

Thank you.

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