POLITICS

Five memorable moments on Sun News Network

02/13/2015 05:49 EST | Updated 04/15/2015 05:59 EDT
From a misleading citizenship ceremony that featured federal bureaucrats posing as new Canadians to airing insensitive comments about the Roma, the Sun News Network had its share of controversial programming. The conservative-minded TV channel went off the air Friday after negotiations to sell it were unsuccessful. Here are five memorable moments in the history of the Toronto-based channel that launched in 2011:

— Citizenship ceremony, Oct. 18, 2011

Sun News marked Canada's Citizenship Week with an in-studio oath-of-citizenship ceremony that turned out to be misleading. As The Canadian Press learned through access-to-information legislation, six of the 10 participants in the ceremony were bureaucrats drafted to pose as new Canadians for the reaffirmation ceremony. The two Sun News co-hosts who called the participants "new Canadians" during the event said they were unaware of the blunder at the time.

— Erickson vs. Gillis, June 1, 2011

There was no sidestepping the backlash after Sun News host Krista Erickson grilled Quebec-born dancer Margie Gillis during an on-air interview. Erickson quizzed Gillis about whether it was appropriate that she receive government grants to support her career in the arts. The industry watchdog Canadian Broadcast Standards Council registered more than 6,600 viewer complaints about the interview. The council usually gets about 2,000 in an entire year.

— Roma comments, Sept. 2, 2012

In an on-air commentary, "The Source" host Ezra Levant called the Roma "gypsies" and labelled them "a culture synonymous with swindlers." His comments prompted a hate crime investigation. In March 2013, Levant issued an on-air apology to the Roma community.

— Rob Ford TV, Nov. 18, 2013

Toronto's troubled former mayor and his politician brother, Doug, launched a Sun News Network TV show to significant fanfare following the demise of their controversial radio program. However, "Ford Nation" would last only one episode before being cancelled despite apparently reeling in the Sun News Network's best-ever ratings. The show, according to a Sun executive, was simply too costly to produce, given that it took five hours to record and another eight to edit.

— Justin Trudeau photo, Sept. 15, 2014

Levant went on an-air tirade against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, accusing him of having loose morals. Levant centred his monologue on a photo of Trudeau kissing a Toronto-area bride on the cheek, suggesting he'd forced himself on the wedding party. He also criticized Trudeau's famous parents. Trudeau ended up boycotting the media company over the comments about his parents, and Sun Media later apologized for Levant's comments.