CBC vs. Sun News Chief: Pierre-Karl Péladeau Attacks Public Broadcaster On Parliament Hill; CBC Fights Back

Peladeau

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 10/20/11 02:29 PM ET Updated: 10/20/11 03:22 PM ET

The war of words between Quebecor and Sun Media CEO Pierre-Karl Péladeau and the CBC is heating up.

Péladeau testified before MPs Thursday morning that it's the duty of his media empire to investigate the CBC using the Access to Information Act and that the public broadcaster is commercially aligned with almost all Canadian media, save for Sun Media, which he cast as Canada's lone dissenting voice.

Péladeau's appearance on Parliament Hill follows the CBC's move Wednesday to fight back against what it calls Quebecor's 'campaign' of attacks and repeated access-to-information requests. The CBC is currently involved in a dispute with the Information Commissioner over these requests.

The CBC posted a fact sheet accusing Quebecor of collecting more than $500-million in subsidies from Canadian taxpayers and using them to make record profits while complaining about competition from Radio-Canada in Quebec. The post also states Péladeau sent more than a dozen letters to Stephen Harper and others in government complaining that Radio-Canada doesn't spend enough on advertising in Quebecor papers.

Asked about the letters by NDP MP Charlie Angus, Péladeau said most were directed to the CBC itself, though he conceded one was directed to Harper, reports CBC's Kady O'Malley.

The Quebecor CEO's testimony is part of an ongoing battle between the Information Commissioner and the CBC over Access to Information requests. The CBC is accused of failing to release information under the Act.

CRTC Chairman Konrad Von Finckenstein testified Tuesday that the battle between the Commissioner and the CBC, funded on both sides by taxpayers, is a result of an unclear law that needs to be changed.

When the Tories brought the CBC under the Access to Information Act in 2007, it exempted information on journalistic, creative and programming activities, as long as these did not involve general administration. This exception is at the heart of the dispute.

The CBC's future is under increased scrutiny in light of the Conservative's majority position in Parliament. HuffPost has reported Heritage Minister James Moore wants to cut the broadcaster's budget by 10 per cent and some Tory MPs have been asking constituents to sign petitions calling for the CBC to be defunded.

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