Tzeporah Berman, rejected as "ineligible writer", questions government's targeting of environmentalists
"I would hope that it's not at all for political reasons, because I have been very outspoken on the Enbridge pipelines and the expansion of the pipelines," Berman said in an interview with the CBC's On the Island host Gregor Craigie.
"One would expect Canada Council to be an arms length body, but at the same time I kind of feel like after the last year, where Minister Joe Oliver was calling any concerned citizen a 'radical extremist' and this kind of very heavy-handed approach by the Harper government, I feel like nothing surprises me at this point."
Berman said that her book, This Crazy Time, was critically well-received, and that she seemed to fulfill all the requirements expected for funding. Canada Council public relations officer Mireille Allaire later commented to the Vancouver Observer:
"There is no government interference in the Canada Council’s peer assessment process. We are arms length and the jury of peers evaluating each application makes independent assessments and recommendations. Peer assessment is at the core of who we are as an organization. We are very transparent in our process, and although we don’t comment publicly on specific applications, we do take the time to explain our juries’ decisions to the applicants themselves.
There are a number of reasons why someone can be denied funding or be deemed ineligible for funding, and this is tied to program guidelines. Out of about 15,000 applications received annually, approximately 6,000 applicants are successful in obtaining funding.
The reality is that not everyone can be funded. Our juries have difficult decisions to make."