* Quebecor's conservative channel set to start next year
* Quebecor says Canadian broadcasting needs shaking up
By David Ljunggren and Euan Rocha
OTTAWA/TORONTO, June 15 In a bid to shake up
Canadian broadcasting, media company Quebecor Inc QRBb.TO
says it will launch a 24-hour conservative news and comment
channel that many observers are already dubbing "Fox News
Quebecor said on Tuesday it has applied for a three-year
license for the proposed English-language Sun TV News channel
and if successful, would start broadcasting on Jan. 1, 2011.
Quebecor Chief Executive Pierre Karl Peladeau said Sun TV
News would provide much-needed competition for all-news
channels operated by public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting
Corp and by CTV, part owned by telecoms giant BCE Inc (BCE.TO)
(BCE.N) and newspaper publisher Torstar Corp (TSb.TO).
"Far too many Canadians are tuning out completely or
changing their dials to American all-news channels ... It's not
good for Canadian democracy and it's not good for Canada
itself," Peladeau told a news conference in Toronto.
"Quebecor sees an untapped market opportunity in English
Canadian TV news ... It is time to shake up the current players
of the Canadian broadcasting system."
Quebecor owns the right-wing Sun chain of tabloid
newspapers. In French-speaking Quebec, it owns the Journal de
Montreal paper, TVA television and the LCN all-news channel.
The launch of Sun TV News will certainly please the
governing Conservative Party, which complains regularly about
what it sees as biased reporting by the CBC. It will be run by
Kory Teneycke, former chief spokesman for Prime Minister
"We're taking on the mainstream media. We're taking on
smug, condescending, often irrelevant journalism, we're taking
on political correctness," said Teneycke, promising a mix of
hard news reporting and opinion journalism.
Peladeau did not answer directly when asked whether he had
discussed the proposed new channel with Harper and did not give
a figure for how much Quebecor would invest.
"We will invest what we think is appropriate to make this
company, or this specific business profitable," he said.
Critics say the channel will turn into the Canadian version
of Fox News, the successful U.S. take-no-prisoners right-wing
channel run by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA.O).
One of the slogans on the Sun TV News website is "Join the
fight" and Teneycke said the channel would be "unapologetically
patriotic" and "controversially Canadian".
Don Newman, a respected former CBC anchor, wrote in a blog
that the Conservatives did not need "a right-wing news channel
urging them to be more rabid and stirring up the party's
Veteran CTV journalist Craig Oliver, speaking last week,
said Peladeau was "very, very conservative, not to say
extremely right wing".
Teneycke dismissed such criticism as self-serving.
"I think that there are those who say they won't like it
and they are not going to watch it. This is a democracy and
that is fine," he said. "There are others who are saying 'I
don't like this and my neighbor shouldn't be allowed to watch
it'. I think that crosses a big line."
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)