Capital Xtra was turfed by an unidentified officer at Canadian Forces Base Kingston when the newspaper’s distributor attempted to leave a stack of issues at the base’s mini-mall just east of the city.
The plaza is known as a CANEX facility, which houses several stores, including a barber shop, a salon, a McDonald’s restaurant and a Tim Hortons. The issues had been placed inside the western entrance of the complex for several months over winter.
The officer allegedly suggested that the newspaper and its contents were not welcome on the base, and the distributor on the scene didn’t argue, says Marc Lafleur, the president of the Quebec-based Capital Xtra distributor M&M Diffusion.
“Sometimes what happens is you get isolated cases — especially with that kind of product,” Lafleur says. “The reason is some people, or some part of the population, are not for that — which is their prerogative.”
Lafleur says that Capital Xtra isn’t the only magazine to be rejected from public spaces, but he admitted that many people who complain treat Ottawa’s gay and lesbian newspaper differently.
“With Capital Xtra, they take it more seriously,” he says.
Daniel Madryga, a representative from the base, says that he was completely unaware of any incident. He added that given the circumstances, the unidentified officer must have acted of his own accord.
“It would not be anyone speaking on behalf of anyone in authority,” says Madryga, who indicated that the only time a Capital Xtra distributor would be approached would be by a military police officer asking if they had clearance to be on the base.
Madryga regrets that homophobic behaviour exists at CFB Kingston.
“Everyone has their own issues, homophobic or otherwise. It’s kind of unfortunate, but that’s the way it is,” he says. “Some of the issues aren’t perhaps as comfortable for some people in the military as perhaps others, but at the same time, there is absolutely no restriction on gays or lesbians in the military.”
Madryga supports the presence of all magazines on the base.
“Playboy and Penthouse are available in the CANEX, and some people may get wrapped around the axle about that,” he says. “If someone doesn’t like that, don’t pick it up.”
Lafleur planned to try distributing issues of Capital Xtra at the base again and pursue the issue further only if a problem arose again.
Most of Capital Xtra’s 20,000 issues are available in the National Capital Region, but there are about 25 drop spots in and around Kingston.