Earlier this week, Avaaz, an American special interest group funded by U.S. billionaire George Soros, circulated a petition opposing the television licence for Sun TV News — Quebecor’s proposed all-news channel for English Canada.
I, like many Canadians, learned of this petition when author and “A-list” cultural nationalist Margaret Atwood announced she had signed it.
Despite the fact Sun News has not broadcast a minute of content, the petition states this is an attempt to bring “American-style hate media” to Canada, and it will broadcast “hate-filled propaganda.”
Really? Last time I checked, hate speech was illegal in our country.
It also picked up on the slur from Sun TV News’ competitors, calling the channel “Fox News North.” Fox, and its parent company Newscorp, are not owners of this channel, nor are they involved in its development.
It is as Canadian as the maple leaf — a joint venture between two Quebecor companies: TVA and Sun Media.
Based in Manhattan, Avaaz (“voice” in Persian), is so ignorant of Canada they said energy company “Suncor,” not Quebecor, was behind the application. An embarrassing error, but even worse were the lies contained in the petition.
The petition, and the ignorant U.S. fringe group behind it, would make a great “Talking to Americans” segment with Rick Mercer, if they weren’t so serious. These professional Yankee agitators are clearly trying to influence the television news options available to Canadians.
That being said, over 45,000 people have signed this petition. It is safe to assume many, if not most, are Americans.
Atwood is not the only A-list “celebrity” that has signed. Dwight Shroot (from The Office), Boba Fett (of Star Wars), Snuffaluffagus (Sesame Street) and Homer Simpson are also signatories. Clearly the CRTC should take note of such distinguished individuals lending their name to this smear job.
This is not the first time Atwood has put her political agenda ahead of principles and patriotism. In the 2008 election campaign she was asked if she would vote for the separatist Bloc Quebecois if she lived in Quebec, she said: “Yes. Absolutely. What is the alternative?”
How about voting for someone who doesn’t advocate the breakup of the country?
The final lie most of the media stories, petitions and general ankle-biting from our competitors promote is about money. Sun TV News is not, nor has it ever, asked for “mandatory carriage” by cable or satellite companies.
As the critics correctly point out, this would be tantamount to a tax on everyone with cable or satellite service. It is what CBC News Network has, but not what we are asking for.
We are simply asking for the channel to be “offered” by the distributors. This is meant to allow any Canadian who wants to get the channel to be able to call their cable or satellite company and subscribe to it. It does not mean it is a part of the basic cable or satellite package, nor does it dictate what (if any) package it would be a part of. We believe those should be private negotiations between Sun TV News and each individual cable and satellite provider.
If the so-called journalists and commentators writing on this issue had read our application they would have seen we project 17% market penetration in year one, growing to 45% in year five. If we were assuming mandatory carriage, instead of mandatory access it would start (and stay) at 100%.
All of these lies, half-truths and slander underline the need for Sun TV News. Canadians deserve better from their media, and we are committed to providing it.
— Teneycke is Vice-President of Development for Quebecor Media