The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC, is set to rule this week on Quebecor’s application to get its Sun News Network a guaranteed spot on the cable dial. Sun News vice-president Kory Teneycke has argued the all-news station will go out of business unless it’s included as part of basic satellite and cable packages. Another option is to require cable and satellite providers to simply make Sun News available to subscribers who wish to pay for it—a move Teneycke has said would still amount to a “death sentence” for the station and its 150 employees.
Many observers have found it amusing that Sun News is demanding the CRTC force private cable and satellite companies to carry its programing. Sometimes referred to as “Fox News North,” the network has positioned itself as a conservative voice whose on-air personalities frequently champion free-market principles. Teneycke, however, has argued that Sun News only wants what other channels like CBC Newsworld (now CBC News Network) and CTV News Chanel received for years. If the CRTC grants the application, Sun News would get a small cut of subscribers’ monthly bills and would be able to attract more advertisers. Sun News has been on the air since 2011.
The CRTC’s decision comes at a difficult time for Quebecor’s media business. It recently announced plans to stop printing 11 newspapers and lay-off hundreds of employees.