And so yet another juicy and compelling conspiracy theory lies in smoking ruins.
Via Impolitical, CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein responds to an August Globe & Mail column which speculated that the wheels of Sun TV’s CRTC application are being improperly greased by the PMO. (“Improperly greased”, heh. Woo!) The chairman more or less shits on the chest of that particular theory, writing:
I read with consternation Lawrence Martin’s column Is Stephen Harper Set To Move Against The CRTC? (Aug. 19) calling into question the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s independence as a regulatory body. The column stems from Quebecor Media’s application to launch a TV news service called Sun TV News.
I would like to categorically state that no one at any level of government has approached me about the Sun TV application, the appointment of the CRTC’s vice-chair of broadcasting, or my own mandate.
Quebecor’s application is being treated according to the CRTC’s well-established processes. The application was published on Sept. 1 for comment, and a public hearing will be held in Gatineau, Que., starting on Nov. 19. The CRTC will then make a decision on the basis of the evidence on the public record.
Konrad von Finckenstein, chair, CRTC, Gatineau, Que.
One can well imagine a bound and gagged von Finckenstein being forced — at long-gun point — to type this letter as it was dictated to him by Harper’s grinning, brainless minions.
On a more serious note, yesterday as I tried to familiarize myself with this issue I couldn’t help noticing that I’m not the only one confused about licensing, and with good reason. Much of the reporting on this issue ranges from half-assed to abysmal, with terms like “must-carry” and “must-offer” used interchangeably, though they are very different things. Add to that the hyperventilating rhetoric, a liberal dollop of well-deserved suspicion of Stephen Harper… and stir! Boom! Confusion A La Mode, half-baked.
Their bid for a Category One license having been rejected, but also having accomplished the task of generating mucho buzzo… …Sun is now being considered for a “Category 2 Specialty” license, which means the channel has to be offered in at least one cable package.
At my cable company, this type of channel is offered in packages of certain numbers of channels — 2, 7, 14 or the Full Monty — and customers pick their own lineup. A Category 2 Specialty license means Sun TV must be one of the channels on offer along with BBC Canada, Animal Planet and others, but nobody’s forcing customers to select it (as far as I know): it’s just one more choice.
And really, I have a hard time working up a lot of righteous anger at the prospect of being given more choice. If anyone can prove that Harper is somehow involved in improperly greasing the wheels of the licensing process for Sun TV — and based on meetings like this, who could be blamed for wondering? — then that would be an issue for me. Otherwise it’s just another choice, and I am, after all, pro-choice.