Clockwise from upper left: Mulroney, Peladeau, Teneycke, Harper
What we know is not promising.
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who lied about his business dealings with convicted influence-peddler Karlheinz Schrieber, who took $300,000 in cash from Schrieber without declaring it, and who then demanded 2.1 million tax-payer dollars in compensation for a slander now known not to be slander, is on the board of directors of the Sun News parent company, Quebecor. More recently, Mulroney has also improperly lobbied cabinet ministers on behalf of Quebecor.
Pierre Peladeau, CEO of Quebecor, is an “ultra-conservative” whose Sun News division is in the doldrums and hasn’t turned a profit for some time. He is attempting to have the CRTC convert his money-losing Sun TV of Toronto into a Category 1 — or “must carry” — cable news station, which means that cable service providers across the country must make it available to subscribers and to pay for it even if they don’t want it and their subscribers don’t watch it. In other words, Peladeau wants to turn his unprofitable news division into a cash cow by way of a right wing news channel for which there is no demonstrable demand and whose income is guaranteed to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year from cable subscribers who may want nothing to do with it.
Stephen Harper is apparently in on the scheme. We know that he secretly met with Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes in March 2009 and that he subsequently met with Peladeau, who’s also had access to at least three other high ranking cabinet ministers. This fact alone is staggering in its implications. A sitting prime minister evidently using his position to facilitate the creation of a right wing news channel to serve as the propaganda arm of his government — and do so, moreover, at public expense. Are there even words to describe this? Perhaps one: Cheney-esque.
Kory Teneycke, former communications director for Stephen Harper, is now vice president of development for Quebecor Media. Teneycke was also present at the March 2009 meeting of Harper with Murdoch and Ailes. This completes the circle. Teneycke is . . . Well, just consider these remarks on his Facebook page, as reported by Bruce Cheadle of the Canadian Press:
He lauds Glenn Beck, Fox’s anti-government conspiracy theorist, and makes note of a National Enquirer headline about “Obama Cheating Scandal.”
“The Enquirer has a remarkably strong track record on these stories of late… Tiger Woods and John Edwards. We shall see …” writes Teneycke.
And his edgy, controversial humour shines through: “To the pot heads who keep sending me crazy, profane emails: I hope (imprisoned pot activist) Marc Emery enjoys group showers as much as he enjoys pot. Three cheers for the DEA.”
Wow. “Lauds Glenn Beck,” promotes an “Obama Cheating Scandal” from the National Enquirer, and — in a particularly crude and mean-spirited comment — says of Canadian Marc Emery, now in U.S. custody, “I hope he enjoys group showers.” Geez, I wonder what that’s code for? This is a man with a lot of power and money and influence. This is how he talks about fellow citizens who have nothing like his advantages? Disgusting. (Note that Emery paid both provincial and federal taxes on his marijuana seed business totalling $600,000 before the Harper government turned him over to the DEA in May.)
Finally, Teneycke is now claiming that the association of Sun TV News with Fox News is just “critics throwing stones.” That’s a bald-faced lie. Teneycke himself has apparently been saying for years that Canada needs a Fox News, a sentiment that has been echoed up and down the line by other conservatives. Senior Sun News columnist Peter Worthington recently drew the same analogy between Sun TV News and Fox News. Sun TV News is to be Canada’s Fox News, and that’s evidently been the plan of all of these players all along.