Pink Triangle Services executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel is upset with Xtra’s reporting and has claimed an article published Sept 25 is an attack on her character.
In a Facebook message sent to this reporter, Van Den Heuvel said the article – about the exit of several PTS board members and proposed bylaw amendments in advance of the Sept 25 annual general meeting – is unfair and inaccurate.
“I remember saying a lot during our interview and I feel that you selected some quotes that, standing alone, are a bit out of context,” Van Den Heuvel wrote.
Xtra’s hour-long interview with Van Den Heuvel, conducted Sept 20 with this reporter and senior Xtra reporter Andrea Houston (see audio file below), touched on a number of topics. However, the article in question was exclusively about the resignation of several board members and the controversial bylaw amendments. Xtra selected quotes relevant to that issue.
Van Den Heuvel took issue with this sentence: "The executive director and remaining PTS board members want to give PTS executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel the power to offer recommendations on the budget and manage the creation and review of the PTS strategic plan with the aid of the board of directors."
However, this information was accessed from the proposed PTS bylaw amendments, which were attached to the article and discussed at the AGM. Van Den Heuvel says Xtra’s interpretation was “inaccurate” because “the ED of PTS and of almost any not-for-profit has the authority to make recommendations on the budget, this already exists with PTS.”
“We were writing it in to make it explicit," Van Den Heuvel continued.
She said this “further coloured the perspective that I am out to get more power, a perspective that I feel was manufactured by Xtra and those that you interviewed.”
In fact, in the interview Van Den Heuvel encourages Xtra to speak with board members upset with her leadership, including former president Denis Schryburt. Several community members have also said they believe Van Den Heuvel is attempting a power grab, including Capital Pride grand marshal T Eileen Murphy, who called the structure “a dictatorship” at the failed Sept 25 AGM.
The quotes in question are a response to this discussion and fair comment in a story about structural changes at the community organization.
However, despite the fact Van Den Heuvel was given the chance to respond to each accusation in the article, she said the article is “unbalanced.”
Van Den Heuvel requested a copy of the interview and declined to comment for this article unless Xtra agreed to write it using a question-and-answer format. “My terms were clear,” Van Den Heuvel wrote in an Oct 24 email.
The story in question was accessible on Xtra’s website for almost three weeks before Van Den Heuvel requested the transcript.
Van Den Heuvel has frequently declined to comment – or failed to return calls – for Xtra articles. After agreeing to an interview with Xtra reporter Laura Zahody on July 26, Van Den Heuvel did not show up at the scheduled time, nor did she respond to Zahody’s repeated requests to reschedule.