Sun News launched a series of attacks Wednesday night aimed at the coverage of the anniversary of Jack Layton's death.

Hosts Ezra Levant and Michael Coren both devoted segments to the issue as Canadians gathered in Ottawa, Toronto and across the country to celebrate the late NDP leader's life.

Levant's volleys were the most vicious, first savaging the "Media Party's" coverage of Layton's funeral last year as a taxpayer-subsidized advertisement for the NDP. "CBC went into full funeral porn mode," Levant quipped.

Levant must have really fancied the 'porn' phrase because he would repeat it again before airing fairly innocuous clips of the anniversary coverage from CBC and CTV.

But his pornographic analysis didn't stop there. Levant went on to attack Olivia Chow's participation in the upcoming CBC TV movie on her dead husband's life and the woman who will be playing her, former MuchMusic host and current CBC personality Sook-Yin Lee.

"I'm guessing Sook-Yin Lee would have been better cast as one of the prostitutes that Layton met in that massage parlour," Levant said, referencing Lee's participation in non-simulated sex scenes for the movie "Short Bus."

The massage parlour Levant was talking about? That's an allusion to an infamous Sun story published during the 2011 federal election campaign about a visit Layton paid in 1996 to a Toronto establishment busted by police for being a bawdy house.

According to Sun's story, Officers found Layton lying naked on a bed.

Layton was never charged with any offences and maintained he had simply been receiving a massage, arguing the story was part of a "smear campaign," according to The Globe And Mail.

Sun's story originated with a Toronto officer who allowed the news outlet to photocopy his notebook from the period. It's against the law for serving officers to leak information to the press, but the officer in question was retired.

Regardless, the Ontario Provincial Police, at the request of the Toronto Police Service, launched an investigation into the leak which did not result in any charges but did lead to the retrieval of a number of notebooks from former officers, according to CBC.

Sun's Coren took a less aggressive approach in his criticism, even discouraging guest Ray Heard from spouting "conspiracy theories" on the subject of what killed Layton (his family has not released the exact cause of death).

STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO

He did, however, join Levant in drawing attention to Lee's sex scenes. "It'll be a hagiography involving a woman who's only known for introducing videos and masturbating live in a movie. For goodness sake it's pathetic," Coren said, referencing CBC's Layton film.

Coren also expressed frustration that Sun's massage parlour piece wasn't embraced by Canada's media, arguing a Conservative would have been eviscerated in the press following similar allegations.

While Sun may have a valid argument when it comes to criticizing the taxpayer-funded CBC's involvement in a film that does seem likely to paint the NDP in a positive light, the network does itself few favours by focusing on the salacious elements of Lee's resume or Layton's massage habits.

The NDP is now Canada's Official Opposition and taxpayers certainly shouldn't be funding something that could be construed as left-wing political propaganda, especially after the network's involvement in the much-maligned "Mulroney: The Opera," a film which presented a satirical take on the former prime minister (the CBC later distanced itself from that project and never aired it).

But Levant and Coren discredit their own legitimate arguments about the role of our public broadcaster when they try to turn everything into a debate about sex and pornography.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, left, stands with Toronto Councillor Mike Layton, centre, and Sarah Layton, right, during an event marking the one year anniversary of Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • Crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Federal Leader Jack Layton's passing in Toronto on Wednesday August 22 2012.

  • People gather in front of Toronto City Hall during an event marking the one year anniversary of Federal NDP Leader Jack LaytonÕs passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • A person cries during an event marking the one year anniversary of Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • People hold oversized moustaches during an event marking the one year anniversary of Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • People gather for the one year anniversary of Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • Olivia Chow (right) speaks to musician Dallas Green as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of her late husband Jack Layton the former NDP Federal Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday August 22 2012.

  • Olivia Chow stands in front of make shift memorial wall bearing messages for her late husband Jack Layton as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • Olivia Chow writes a message make shift memorial wall bearing messages for her husband, the late Jack Layton as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Federal Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday August 22, 2012.

  • David Johnston draws a portrait in chalk of the late Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton at a memorial to mark the one year anniversary of his passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair walks past a make shift memorial wall bearing messages for the late Jack Layton as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • Five year old Alica Ma writes on a makeshift memorial wall bearing messages for the late Jack Layton as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair stands in front of a makeshift memorial wall bearing messages for the late Jack Layton as crowds gather to mark the one year anniversary of the former NDP Leader's passing in Toronto on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • A supporter stands for moment of silence to commemorate the first anniversary of Jack Layton's death during a gathering on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • Supporters bow their heads for a moment of silence to commemorate the first anniversary of Jack Layton's death during a gathering on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

  • A new headstone and bust is shown in Toronto on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 where Jack Layton's ashes will be spread by family on the one-year anniversary of his death.


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  • Facts Of Layton's Life

    As Canada prepares to remember Jack Layton on the first anniversary of his untimely death, we take a look at 11 things you may not have known about the former NDP leader.

  • 11. Progressive Conservative Lineage

    Layton's father <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Layton" target="_hplink">Robert Layton</a> (pictured at Jack's graduation from McGill in 1971) was a Progressive Conservative MP and served as Minister of State for Mines in Brian Mulroney's cabinet from 1984-1986. Robert started out as a member of the Liberal Party, but shifted to the PCs in the 1980s. Layton's grandfather, Gilbert Layton, was a Union Nationale MNA in Quebec. The Union Nationale was a conservative party. He served as a minister in Maurice Duplessis' government before resigning in 1939 over its opposition to conscription for the Second World War.

  • 10. Descendent Of A Father Of Confederation

    <a href="http://boards.ancestry.com/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=597&p=localities.northam.canada.newbrunswick.albert" target="_hplink">Layton's Mother Doris Elizabeth (Steeves) was a grand-niece of a Father of Confederation, William Steeves</a>.

  • 9. He Was A Frat Boy

    <a href="http://sigmachi.ca/en/news-articles/statement-sigma-chi-re-passing-brother-hon-jack-layton/" target="_hplink">Layton joined the Sigma Chi fraternity</a> while studying at McGill. Here he is seen in a photo from his high-school years.

  • 8. He Was A Doctor

    <a href="http://www.yorku.ca/yfile/archive/index.asp?Article=17461" target="_hplink">Layton got his PhD in political science from York University in 1983</a>. He got his MA in political science from York and his BA from McGill.

  • 7. He Married Young

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Layton" target="_hplink">Layton married Sally Halford</a>, his high-school sweetheart, when he was 19. They had two children together, Mike and Sarah. The couple divorced in 1983 after 14 years of marriage.

  • 6. Olivia Chow's Mother Didn't Like Him

    <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1043197--jack-and-olivia-love-at-first-sight" target="_hplink">When he first began dating Olivia Chow, her mother was not a fan</a>. He wasn't a doctor or lawyer and he wasn't Chinese. A language mistake helped win him her approval. After having dinner at the Chow home, Layton attempted to thank his girlfriend's mother for the food. A mistake in tone led him to say "thank you for the good sex" in Cantonese, according to the <em>Toronto Star</em>. The exchange resulted in laughter that began a thawing of relations between Layton and Chow's family.

  • 5. He Was A Trekkie

    <a href="http://thestar.blogs.com/politics/2009/05/where-no-ndp-leader-has-gone-before.html" target="_hplink">Layton and Chow were big fans of Star Trek</a>, even having custom uniforms made, according to the <em>Toronto Star</em>.

  • 4. He Was Against The Skydome...

    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/archives/discover/guess-who/jack-layton-city-halls-tired-but-victorious-warrior.html" target="_hplink">Layton was against public financing for the building of the Skydome</a> (now Rogers Centre) in Toronto. <a href="http://torontoist.com/2011/08/councillor_jack_layton/" target="_hplink">He later called for an inquiry</a> into the debt that resulted from the project. Layton, then a Toronto city councillor, is seen here in 1989.

  • 3. And The Olympics

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Layton" target="_hplink">Layton fought against Toronto's bid for the 1996 Olympic Games</a>. The bid failed. His opposition was widely viewed as contributing to his defeat in a run for the Toronto mayoralty in 1991.

  • 2. He Was A Pirate?

    During the 2008 election campaign, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgJuzfoNAkg" target="_hplink">Layton credited torrents, a form of peer-to-peer sharing, with helping make democracy work</a>. He also criticized the throttling used by many Internet service providers to slow peer-to-peer traffic, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/16/traffic-throttling-bell-rogers_n_1791718.html" target="_hplink">an issue that's still very much in the news today</a>.

  • 1. Third Time's A Charm

    <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Layton" target="_hplink">Layton lost two federal races before being elected to the House of Commons</a>. He lost in Toronto's Rosedale riding in 1993 and in the riding of Danforth in 1997. He eventually won that Danforth seat in the 2004 general election, more than a year after becoming leader of the NDP. He would go on to lead the NDP to Official Opposition status amid the 'Orange Wave' of 2011. He died a little more than three months after the election on August 22, 2011.