Harper Government Attempting to Control Information by Richard Komorowski – February 11, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – Quite recently, the CRTC, the federal government body charged with regulating the various communications industries in Canada, decided that independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would have to put a cap on the amount of bandwidth a customer could download each month. In other words, a business or individual with a contract for unlimited internet access would see their contract suddenly illegal.

Naturally, this proposal from the CRTC immediately caught the attention of the media and public. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), when they ordered the CRTC to make this announcement, knew it would draw the anger of virtually the entire Canadian population.  Thus, when PMO Official Spokesman and Industry Minister Tony Clement made his announcement that the government would, if necessary, stop this ruling, the effect was to make the Harper Government appear concerned about the welfare of Canadians.

The chances of this ruling actually coming into full effect are, of course, fairly remote. There would be endless lawsuits and class action suits, which would no doubt throw out the ruling as unconstitutional. However, all this would take time, and serious damage to business and consumers might happen in the meantime.

The end result? The PMO scores ten points for presenting Stephen Harper as a real leader, concerned about his fellow Canadians, and ready to step in against Big Business when the interests of Canadians are at stake.

The Real Reason for the Internet Cap

The PMO’s decision to order the CRTC to come up with this ruling goes much deeper, however. Not only can the Harper Government take credit for standing up for Canadians, but in all the furore, the proposed Internet usage cap safely camouflages what Harper is really forcing the CRTC to do.

What the federal government wants to conceal from Canadians is a far more ominous change in regulations. Currently, media outlets in Canada are under an obligation “not to broadcast any false or misleading news.” After the proposed changes, media would be allowed to broadcast any false or misleading news they and their advertisers saw fit, as long as actual lives, health or safety of the public are not affected. What we would have, in effect is a copy of the US Regulation:  § 73.1217Broadcast hoaxes.

No licensee or permittee of any broadcast station shall broadcast false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if:

(a) The licensee knows this information is false;

(b) It is forseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm, and

(c) Broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.


For purposes of this rule, “public harm” must begin immediately, and cause direct and actual damage to property or to the health or safety of the general public, or diversion of law enforcement or other public health and safety authorities from their duties. The public harm will be deemed foreseeable if the licensee could expect with a significant degree of certainty that public harm would occur. A “crime” is any act or omission that makes the offender subject to criminal punishment by law. A “catastrophe” is a disaster or imminent disaster involving violent or sudden event affecting the public.
Basically, this rule would make it a crime to broadcast something like HG Wells’ “War of the World’s” without a suitable warning that it is fiction, but little else. It certainly does nothing to force networks to provide a truthful or unbiased coverage of events. In an American context, it gives networks such as Fox a licence to say what it wants under the guise of news – obvious falsehoods about climate change, for example, or about the President.

Given that “Fox News North”, otherwise known as Sun Media, is about to set up its own Neocon channel in Canada, what do these changes forebode?

Well-known Canadian authoress Margaret Atwood is quoted in the Globe and Mail as being against the way the government is pushing for the new cable news service, stating: “Some people signing the petition object to the expected content. I object to the process. It’s the [prime ministerial] pressure on yet another civil servant that bothers me. These folks are supposed to be working for the taxpayer, not the PM.”

She has also signed an on-line petition which states that “Prime Minister Harper is trying to push American-style hate media onto our airwaves, and make us all pay for it. His plan is to create a ‘Fox News North’ to mimic the kind of hate-filled propaganda with which Fox News has poisoned U.S. politics. The channel will be run by Harper’s former top aide [Kory Teneycke] and will be funded with money from our cable TV fees!”

Harper Government Contradicts itself in the Commons

Charlie Angus, NDP Member for Timmins-James Bay, brought the subject up in the House of Commons.

The CRTC is considering gutting journalistic standards so the media giants are going to be allowed to say anything they want as long as nobody gets killed.
Now, I have never met a journalist in this country who thought that misinformation, lying or negligence has any place in any Canadian newsroom. So, who would this benefit? Well, Conservative attack ads certainly and Fox news media definitely because, thanks to the Conservative marching orders, the CRTC has been reduced to acting like a short-order cook for the media barons.
To which James Moore, PMO Official Spokesman for Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, responded:

Mr. Speaker, I would say very simply that if my hon. colleague has a problem with the CRTC, he should address it to the CRTC. If the journalists in question have a question for the CRTC, they should address it to the CRTC. This is a question for the CRTC. The member ought to know that the CRTC does operate independently of the government and there is a process for people to make any grievances to the CRTC known. This is for the CRTC to decide and not the government.
This is an interesting response, considering PMO Official Spokesman and Industry Minister Tony Clement was promising at the same time to bring down the wrath of the government on the CRTC over Internet billing.

Harper’s Personal Involvement with Fox News and Sun Media

A look at some of the past history of Fox News North reveals indeed that Harper has taken an unusual personal interest in fostering this news service.

Lawrence Martin, a columnist for the Globe and Mail, reported that Harper, along with his former spokesman Kory Teneycke, had lunch in New York with Fox News Owner Rupert Murdoch and Fox President Roger Ailes.

Soon after this lunch in New York, Sun Media announced Mr. Teneycke would become head of their political coverage, giving his old boss significant influence in the affairs of the new news channel. For Harper, who, through the PMO, tries to control everything said by and about his government, this was a major triumph, especially as news might not, in the near future, have to be true.

Then, on September 15, a potential disaster fell upon Teneycke and Fox North. Mr. Teneycke reported that the petition contained fake names, including Homer Simpson and a character from Sesame Street. Immediately after, when it became apparent that Teneycke had absolutely no access to the names of the petitioners, and there were calls for a police investigation, Teneycke abruptly resigned from his new post.

However, just over a month ago, the Globe and Mail announced that Teneycke was indeed with the operation. Perhaps the September announcement by Harper’s former spin-doctor was indeed false or misleading, in which case they certainly contravened the then current CRTC regulations.

The biggest question: Now that it will soon be legal to publish lies described as news, will someone in the PMO be stupid (or desperate) enough to put an opposition member in the crosshairs?

Choose Cornwall


  1. Look at that first attack ad they just released, with the most obvious of lies that no one fell for, and then you wonder what else they are hatching to try in their minds..

  2. Just as a clarification, the section with Charlie Angus’s question and the response is a direct quote, which, in the original text was indented to make this clear. This time, in the transition from MS Word to HTML, something got lost in the translation.

  3. What’s the difference between Hosni Mubarak and Stephen Harper? Finally, Mubarak got the message.

  4. Well played PJR! 😀

  5. Thanks, Grimmy.

    Look at what Harper is quted as saying of Mubarak’s ouster: “There’s no going back…you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

    If Canada wants to regain her dignity and influence in the world, time for Canadians to squeeze the tube named Harper.

  6. So are we to assume that the CRTC a liberal entrenched entity was manipulated by the Conservatives?
    Could it not be possible that the potential new billing was a Ignatieff and Liberal company ploy to further discredit the Conservatives.

    If we look at history in Canada it runs the same every time. Ontario Hydro, Ontario health Care, Auto Insurances and the education system to name a few.

    Once it becomes a integral part of society services squander, independent entitles are created to monitor and the rates go up.

    Is the head office of the CRTC not located still in Quebec. How many conservatives would be working for them in Quebec.

  7. It’s hard to imagine that there are any federal agencies still run by Liberal hacks rather than Conservative hacks.

  8. I tend to agree with smee’s assumption! Politics can play dirty at times.

  9. What Rick has failed to mention in his conspiracy theories regarding media connections under heading, Personal Involvement with Fox News and Sun Media
    Was how Chretien and the Liberals created this bit of interesting news.
    Lawrence “Laurie” Martin makes an extremely startling admission that Liberal PM Jean Chretien and his PMO were instrumental in getting him fired from Southham News because of his Shawinigate reporting.

    Unbiased CRTC at it’s best

    Like the Bog Oil and how it is one of the main causes of the economic turn down a few days back . Or that Hedge funding has little to do with it.
    Rick is stating a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
    He lacks substance, depth and experience in the subjects he writes about

  10. Ok, then with this taking almost a year to be implemented by the CRTC Smee, then why did the Cons wait until the last minute to step up and say anything about it? Why didn’t they smarten up at the time the CRTC passed this and say “hey wait, no, this would piss off Canada”? That’s what I mean.. This is why I say both Iggy and Harper were spineless in this all.. Both parties should have tuned in as soon as the CRTC passed the ruling long ago, and both parties should have spoken up about it right then.. that’s why I’m sticking with the 2+2 and stating that Harper waited for this, and only spoke up when he and the Cons saw benefit to speaking up.. Iggy, it took 300+K signatures before he turned around and stated the obvious, saying that they can see that Canadians are ticked off with this and they will do something about it..

    Both parties get a failing grade on this matter as far as I’m concerned… but the Con’s had almost a year to speak up and they didn’t until the last minute.. so they tried to use it to their advantage as far as I’m concerned..

  11. I have no idea Grimalot, but maybe there were more pressing issues then internet service.

    We can all dream up a magnitude of conspiracy theories but all are as i stated earlier this is a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

    I think we here in eastern Ontario have more important local issues to address then always blaming government for what we do not like.

    The reason so much shyte happens here is we do not work together on simple issues close to home.

    Besides if the CRTC did the charge per byte nonsense the fix would be easy….cancel your service. A few days of layoffs in a crown corporation would be a good thing

  12. Yeah, so pressing that they waited until the last minute to come in and call a decision on something that affects the whole country.. Come on.. Smee, regardless of what happened, they had more than enough opportunity to look into this a long time ago, so I agree with Richard, something most likely is going on, and they waited until the last minute to swoop in and look like the people’s saviors..

  13. Grimalot
    It seems to me you have no issue other then complaining. What difference does it make how fast they acted on this? The issue is that they did act and no foul.

    Now, as is the way we are laden with people having nothing more then a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. Same thins I said twice before and your posts nails it “something most likely is going on, and they waited until the last minute to swoop in and look like the people’s saviors”

    Give us something more then most likely please.

    Hind sght is 20/20 especially if done through speculation.

  14. “Funded by our cable fees”
    Big deal, we have been paying for CBC, the Native channel and others that many do not watch.

    “Soon after this lunch in New York, Sun Media announced Mr. Teneycke would become head of their political coverage”
    Is this supposed to be evidence of something?

    “Currently, media outlets in Canada are under an obligation “not to broadcast any false or misleading news.”
    Most radio / TV news shows give little clips and leave out some pertinent detail everyday.

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