Editor’s Note: Cancel Culture is Killing TIG

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Publicly funded advertising has been cut off to me, and as a result I will not be able to sustain The Islands Grapevine (TIG).

My visitdenmanisland.ca website job was taken from me without cause, and I was removed from the board of DenmanWorks Economic Enhancement Society without explanation. 

Why? Because there were some opinions published in TIG that some people didn’t agree with.

This is what’s happening. This is what a few people who control publicly funded ad dollars are doing to this free weekly paper that supports our communities and advertises local businesses. This is what they’re doing in the name of “community.”

The print version of TIG is now unsustainable and faces being shuttered. A small group of people with their hands on the levers of publicly funded advertising budgets, themselves paid by tax funded dollars, have decided that they alone have control of where those dollars are spent. And having cut TIG off for nearly a year now, it has pushed this thirty-two year old island institution and my livelihood, AND the jobs of the people who work here, to the brink. They’ve even been on social media saying it’s their intention to do so.

Before the pandemic, you could freely express views and submit them to TIG and nobody would bat an eyelid. Somehow we hit an issue so radioactive, so divisive, that it became, “I believe in freedom of speech, except for this subject.” The thing is, in doing so, some people granted themselves a license to treat anybody who disagrees with them as a bad person. 

Believe me, I know of what I speak. Letters critical of my handling of editorial oversight were submitted to TIG. The only ones our readership haven’t seen were the ones specifically marked “not for publication.” I printed the rest to show I wasn’t censoring different viewpoints. The neutrality of the paper has been misperceived, and some of the dissenting views turned out to be true.

It’s a prime example of how censorship is problematic, why censorship is dangerous, and more dangerous than a few letters of dissent in a free local publication with a circulation of 1250 homes. Have I been wasting my time standing up for a principle that I thought was an accepted liberal democratic standard?

So many of you have expressed support for TIG privately. but the small group of people who control publicly funded ad dollars, who are paid by our tax dollars, are starving me out and killing my business. And they’ll celebrate TIG’s demise. Three times we tried to resolve this issue privately, and each time we have been rebuffed. The vast private support has sadly become meaningless. Unless the residents of our communities push back publicly, the printed version of the paper is dead.

I lay it at your feet, dear readers. The Islands Grapevine is your paper. If you want to save it, do something by saying something. You can write us a letter for publication, and/or you can write to those responsible for the public funding of local agencies.

CVRD General Manager of Community Services, Doug Demarzo ddemarzo@comoxvalleyrd.ca

CVRD Area A Director Daniel Arbour

reachme@danielarbour.ca 

DenmanWorks Chair Anthony Gregson 

denmanresource@gmail.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Damn Fine eulogy Mike. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. I have raised the matter with CVRD & DIBB, perhaps Ill take a swing at AG.. But that would likely be a waste of my time.

    • Hello Wes. Thanks for the compliment of the eulogy. Johnny was a character that I think you’d have appreciated. Thanks also for your support. I see you on the DIBB doing like you do and feel stronger in this fight because of it. Cheers. M.

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