The fall of Winnipeg’s Canwest - Macleans.ca
 

The fall of Winnipeg’s Canwest

Bought by Calgary’s Shaw, Canwest could be on the move


 

The fall of Winnipeg’s CanwestAt 33 storeys, Canwest Place in Winnipeg proudly bills itself as “the largest office tower between Toronto and Calgary,” and there’s no question its namesake tenant—Canwest Global Communications—has also helped raise the profile of the Prairie city. But now, some fear the troubled communications conglomerate could be leaving town after Calgary-based cable operator Shaw struck a deal to buy control of Canwest as it struggles to restructure under bankruptcy protection.

Details of the deal remain sparse, but Shaw says Canwest will continue to be run as a separate company, which would make it easier to retain broadcast licences (Canwest’s newspaper business was not included in the deal). But the reality is that, if the sale goes through, the decision-making power will now be in downtown Calgary, not Portage and Main. “I guess all bets are off in terms of how things are going to evolve here,” says Dave Angus, the chief executive of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. While he says a strong case can be made for keeping Canwest in Winnipeg because of the city’s cheaper costs and a quality workforce, it won’t be the same as when Canwest was a homegrown success story, built by the late Israel “Izzy” Asper, who championed Manitoba at every turn and resisted efforts to move the company out east.

In addition to occupying the city’s tallest building, the company or Asper name adorns a ballpark, research hospital and business school. Asper was also the driving force behind the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is now under construction. Angus says the Canwest situation, while unfortunate, isn’t cause for alarm in Winnipeg, noting that Shaw has significant presence there. Besides, it’s not like anyone is talking about moving the headquarters to Toronto.


 

The fall of Winnipeg’s Canwest

  1. He didn't leave, he was fired … always posting inappropriate pictures and poetry in the bathrooms. Arr Matey!

  2. Yea, the powers-that-be wanted to include it under our Canadian content quota.

  3. Decision making power hasn't been in Winnipeg for a long time. Broadcast decisions have been made in Toronto for quite some time. 201 Portage is almost deserted. I left the company a few months ago but it was clear for the past few years that this wasn't a Winnipeg company any more.

  4. For me the problem with CanWest was what I assume Mr. Asper's personal political views to permeate and even pollute to the point of being soul destroying propaganda, entirely ANTI-CANADIAN sentiments.

    Any problem I've had with Shaw, is trivial, and infact have boosted to peers that I am a patron!

    This will be good for Canada.

  5. Thanks for sharing this article. Great one Chris. Short and concise.