Yesterday saw the announcement that Postmedia is buying the 175 English language print and digital media titles Quebecor currently possesses.
Quebecor Media is owned by the aspiring future king of the country of Quebec, Pierre Karl Peladeau, who is currently running for the leadership of the Parti Quebecois. When Sun Media launched in 2011, it proclaimed itself “unapologetically patriotic” towards Canada. Peladeau has since become an ardent sovereigntist, and is the most recent Quebec figure to jump from the perceived right to the left (or rather leftish, like Mr. Mulcair).
According to Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey, their acquisition of Sun Media is a way to streamline the print and digital media industry. They predict the absorption of these publications will save $8 million annually. Of course, this comes just days after Jean-Francois Lisee (PKP’s rival to be future King of Quebec) called on him to sell his shares of Quebecor Media, which PKP refused to do. At least now there won’t be a conflict of interest regarding the English publications of Sun Media and Peladeau’s leadership bid (not that there would have been anyway). Now only French Canadians risk having their news warped by Peladeau’s hand.
Sun News Network (which includes Ezra Levant’s infamous ranting) will not be sold to Postmedia; only the print and digital assets are part of the transaction. Critics of the transaction fear it may put too much of Canada’s media in one hand; Postmedia already owns big papers like The National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and Montreal Gazette. They’re worried about a “bias” in their news. Fortunately, the Competition Bureau must approve the sale after considering whether or not the merger could decrease the prevention of competition. Commentators on the CBC (your average Canadians) are already denouncing the move. They refer to the sale as running contrary to our democracy, and say that it limits whose agenda will shape the Canadian mind.
I have one question, which may take time to answer: will the new owners moderate the radical, Americanesque, sensationalist conservativism exposed by Sun Media’s publications? Hopefully, they’ll check their facts better than Ezra Levant does.
Granted, Paul Godfrey assures us that Sun newspapers will continue to operate even where Postmedia has other publications. Unless the Post decides to leap to the right with the merger, we’ll still have some reputable news sources to count on.