Michael Coren

As part of its full-court press to get the CRTC to approve a better spot for it on the dial and give it access to direct subsidies from Canadian cable TV users, Sun News Network is begging anti-choice groups and their supporters to write the national broadcast regulator to support the far-right vanity broadcaster’s application.

“Sun News is the strongest voice for the pro-life cause on television in Canada. Bar none,” said Sun News commentator Brian Lilley in an interview with an anti-choice website called LifeSiteNews.com as part of the so-called news network’s plea to get letters written to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on its behalf.

“No one on television in this country gives as much airtime to pro-lifers,” Lilley told the website, which seems to be opposed to all forms of female reproductive choice as well as having a clearly homophobic agenda. “We shouldn’t let that voice be silenced.”

Lilley also claimed Sun News Network is fair to the “other side of the debate,” a risible assertion given the offensive and bullying interview style routinely adopted by the broadcaster’s commentators when dealing with people whose views they oppose.

Kory Teneycke, the former senior spokesperson in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office who now serves as a vice-president of the extremist broadcaster, told the anti-choice site that “we need to demonstrate a groundswell of support for Sun News, and the readers of LifeSiteNews can help.”

The site noted that one Sun News Network commentator, Michael Coren, hosts a weekly program with leaders of the so-called Campaign Life Coalition and referred favourably to commentaries on abortion by program host Ezra Levant, who is better known for his hateful rants against groups like people of Roma origin and supporters of the Idle No More movement.

The LifeSiteNews story repeats the Sun News Network’s questionable claim its desire for a public subsidy to cover its start-up loss of $17 million this year is a life or death proposition for its operations.

The subsidy Sun News Network is seeking now would add up to about $4 a year from all cable subscribers, or about $18 million a year initially.

Sun News and corporate owner Quebecor Inc. want the CRTC to grant it “mandatory carriage,” which means you couldn’t keep it off your TV dial no matter how many times Levant insults your mother’s virtue because it would be included in basic cable coverage everywhere in Canada.

The LifeSiteNews story does contain useful information, however, advising readers who wish to make a submission to the national broadcast regulator about the Sun News Network application to send it by Feb. 20 in a letter citing reference number 2012-0687-1 to CRTC, Ottawa, Ont., K1A 0N2. The letter should start or end with either “I request to appear at the public hearing” or “I do not want to appear at the public hearing.”

This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, Alberta Diary.

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe...