will review rules after uproar over
Copps vows to pull
plug on grants for joke
by Joel-Denis Bellavance
- Sheila Copps, the
Heritage Minister, says she will
tighten the rules of a federal
publishing aid program to ensure
taxpayers will never again subsidize
the publication of questionable books
such as a recently-published collection
of jokes on dumb blondes.
Last year a Montreal publisher,
Edimag Inc., received a $98,090 grant
from Heritage Canada and subsequently
published a book on the best 500 jokes
on dumb blondes.
Edimag received the grant under the
Book Publishing Industry Development
program, which hands out $31.3-million
"This was a very dumb, dumb grant,"
said Ms. Copps before entering a
two-day caucus meeting in Ottawa at
which Liberals are discussing their
Women's groups reacted angrily last
week after learning that federal money
helped a publisher produce such a
Joan Grant-Cummings, head of
the National Action Committee on the
Status of Women, called it a "slap in
the face" because her group is facing
an uncertain future as a result of cuts
to its federal grant.
Women's groups are begging for
$6,000 here and $30,000 there, and this
is from a government that is Liberal
and is supposed to advance social
equality," she said.
Ms. Copps said she asked her
department for a review of the policy a
few months before the book hits the
"I have asked a number months ago
for a review of the policy, to make
sure that assistance is targeted to
Canadian literature and not dumb blonde
jokes," she said.