Some things just need to be said...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

CanWest takes Swerve at Gay Paper

A battle is brewing in the home town of Canwest and a small but venerable gay community paper in Winnipeg. Swerve has been serving the queer population of Manitoba and the prairies for many years. CanWest a Canadian owned media conglomerate has named its new free daily paper in Calgary Swerve.

The small local queer paper has a press run of 5,500 per month, an annual budget of $90,000 and finds it up against the biggest of the big in Canada. Swerve has stated on their website that they have been trying to get a hold of the Asper family (Winnipeg is their home), to discuss this but to no avail.

They have had contact with CanWest over the matter. A fax sent to Swerve by Canwest apparently offering a couple of possible solutions. One involves money and the other is to share the name. Swerve has used the name for years but never proceeded to get a trademark due to the cost. "

"We have used the name for 10 years in good faith and have established a history of goodwill. And we don't want to give that up," Richard Wood told the Winnipeg Sun. "We don't think because they have money and we don't that that should determine the outcome."

At issue is CanWest's Calgary paper, The Herald introducing their new paper as Swerve. This action is forcing the Winnipeg group to court to protect their use of the name Swerve and their identity. Swerve has until August 8, 2005 to file an opposition to CanWest's use of the name to protect themselves. The end result could be a long, expensive and nasty fight.

It is somewhat ironic that the Asper family, behind the creation of the brand new Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, something that many of us support, is using its huge financial advantage and well-stocked law firm to take on the little guy.

The community should come together and support Swerve and there are some ways you can do that listed below. The Aspers and CanWest Global cannot be allowed to use their power and wealth to tramp on the rights of a small but important community service.

Read this great story by Elanor Brown of the blog, "Opinionated Lesbian" on this David and Goliath story.

See what Antonia Zerbisias, the media watcher from the the centre of the universe, Toronto Star says ... Swerve-on-Swerve.

Support Swerve: If you'd like to send a letter of support, email Swerve at They will be posting some on their site over the coming days.

You can of course also send an email direct to CanWest's Calgary paper, and let them know what you think. Email that other magazine in Calgary and let them know you prefer the original Swerve magazine in Winnipeg. sending a copy of your email to Swerve will help.

Finally if you would like, you can send an email to the finance and chief financial officer of CanWest, John Maguire.

For more queer news check out my other blog, Queer Thoughts.

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