Sun News might just get its way

Setting sunBy

I don’t think there’s really any need for a detailed analysis of the following: Sun News Network, the right-wing, free-market, anti-government “news” channel set up by Quebecor and some former Harper staffers is losing money and wants the government to mandate a special tax on cable consumers to guarantee it a revenue source. Apparently the free market isn’t so much fun after all, even for a free-market channel. Much easier just to have the government require everyone to pay for your service, right?

The depressing thing is that I would place the odds of Sun News getting basic cable status at something better than 50%. It’s tried and failed in the past to curry special favour, but I have a hunch that under its current leadership the CRTC is highly vulnerable to, shall we say, persuasion from its political masters. It’s a ridiculous application, but I don’t think it will do to laugh it off as a bad joke. They are completely serious about this. They want the government to require that all Canadian households with cable pay Sun News a monthly fee, so that Sun News can bombard them with the rantings of third-rate hacks who claim that big government is evil and the welfare bums should just suck it up and get a job.

I can’t find a copy of Sun’s latest submissions online yet, but the CRTC consultation notice associated with it notes that there are currently just 10 networks in Canada that have been given the status Sun wants: CBC News in Quebec, Radio-Canada’s RDI in English-Canada, Avis de Recherche in Quebec, the Weather Network, TVA, APTN, CPAC, AMI Audio, Accessible Media, and Canal M. Most of these are minority-language (i.e. French) non-profits, the most obvious exception being the Weather Network. Sun is asking for a special tax of $0.18 per month on all cable subscribers, which would make it the third-highest recipient of mandatory carriage subsidies after APTN and the Weather Network. As of 2013 no other news channels are mandated as part of basic service.

Sun will argue that in the past news stations were incorporated in the mandatory carriage regulation, and therefore that as a new news station Sun should get several years of mandatory carriage time. Think of it as the reverse of grandfathering — because the rule no longer applies to anyone else, Sun deserves a shot at benefiting from it, too.

Basically, it seems as though there are not many people willing and able to pay for Sun News voluntarily, so Sun wants everyone to pay for it involuntarily.


  1. Jim Smith says

    I neglected to finish a sentence in my comment.
    Teneycke is former Director of Communications for Prime Minister Harper’s office.

  2. Jim Smith says

    In 2010 during the launch of Sun TV, Kory Teneycke, their vice president and former director of communications said this in his Sun column entitled Atwood’s U.S. Sellout.

    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.

  3. G. Stewart says

    Oh I see. The Sun news channel wants to continue to broadcast its line-up of crappy shows that are offensive to me as a gay man because of their homophobic, and gay bashing rhetoric, but they want me to pay for it.

    What kind of fool do they take me for?

    If the almighty dollar and the free market is so important to them, then perhaps they should just suck it up, admit that they cater to the haters, and pull the plug on their entire operation. That way, they could devote their energy to other causes close to their heart, like funding anti-abortion groups, denigrating single parents, promoting Neo-Nazi policies and politicians etc.

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