Michael Coren's article on me and McClelland & Stewart's publishing policy (ironically entitled "Responsible?") deserves a response, which I hope will receive the same prominence as Mr. Coren's surprising accusations.
I wonder if Mr. Coren himself has been responsible in this case, because from the end of September he must have known that what he was writing about us was based on incorrect facts. The facts are as follows: On September 21 Judy Stoffman wrote a piece in the Toronto Star about me and M&S on the occasion of its ninetieth anniversary. That piece unfortunately included a slip of the tongue-which I instantly corrected and withdrew-where I wrongly mentioned Preston Manning as a person we would not choose to publish.
Because Michael Coren-apparently a great believer in recycling-attacked this mention of Mr. Manning in a CFRB broadcast, on September 27 I took the trouble to send him a copy of my letter clarifying our position to the Toronto Star. Ironically, when we called Books in Canada for advice on where to contact Mr. Coren, they recommended that we send the letter to his office at CFRB, which we did. My information from Books in Canada is that Mr. Coren's article for the November issue came in around that time, but editorial corrections in the light of new information were possible until October 5.
Unless cross-town mail is much slower than we believe, it would seem that he chose not to let the facts get in the way of his inflammatory story.
In case any of your readers were distressed by the news that McClelland & Stewart had apparently changed its publishing policy under the aegis of wild-eye zealots like me and our Publisher, Douglas Gibson (which might, incidentally, have been the subject of an enquiring phone call from a truly responsible journalist), I am happy to provide you with the text of our letter of clarification to the Toronto Star:
"September 27, 1996
The Toronto Star
Judy Stoffman's kind article about me and McClelland & Stewart's Ninetieth Anniversary contained one significant misunderstanding that should be set straight.
"It is true that we would never publish a book by Ernst Zundel. It is not true that we would refuse to publish work by legitimate contributors to the political debate such as Preston Manning.
"The authors published by McClelland & Stewart range from René Lévesque all the way to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and our books include the forthright opinions of the Star's own Richard Gwyn as well as (next year) those of the former Conservative heavyweight, John Crosbie.
"We recognize the vital importance to Canada of a wide range of opinions being published in book form and plan to continue to provide a forum here for well-argued presentations from all sides of the debate, for the next ninety years, at least.
McClelland & Stewart Inc.
Chairman & President"
I hope that this sets out our policy clearly enough for those alarmed by Mr. Coren's article.
Chairman & President
McClelland & Stewart