Vaughan also questioned why taxpayers would want to bail out a failing company that is owned in part by a U.S. investment group. Postmedia was formed in 2010 when the Canwest newspapers were bought while under court-supervised credit protection by an investment group backed by New York hedge fund Golden Tree Asset Management for $1.1 billion. Last year it grew to become the largest newspaper chain in the country when it paid $316-million to buy Sun Media’s English-language news properties, including 175 newspapers and digital publications, notably the Sun chain of papers in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg, plus The London Free Press. The deal also included the free 24 Hours commuter dailies in Toronto and Vancouver, the English-language Canoe online portal and more than a million square feet of real estate. But the sale also saddled Postmedia with massive debt obligations. Godfrey told the committee that, while his news properties would benefit from government support, he was pitching the recommendations on behalf of Canadian newspapers at large, not just his own company, which he noted is still Canadian-controlled. Vaughan also openly criticized Godfrey for allowing Postmedia newspapers to publish a full front-page Conservative campaign ad, bathed in the non-partisan yellow of Elections Canada, just two days prior to last year's Oct. 19 federal election. Postmedia Network owns numerous newspapers across Canada, including the National Post and the Sun newspaper chain. Other newspapers include the Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and the Sun and Province newspapers in Vancouver. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch) The Liberals also bought up the home page of the National Post's digital operation during the campaign, Godfrey pointed out. Conservative committee member Peter Van Loan offered advice to Godfrey for preventing a further decline in his company's advertising revenues _ don't abandon local news. "I've seen some recent trends where you're trying to do almost a Metroland model of centralizing editorial control," the York-Simcoe Ontario MP said. "I warn you that I think that will harm some of your long-term competitive advantage." Postmedia announced sweeping changes to its operations in January, cutting 90 jobs across the country and merging newsrooms from multiple newspapers into one each in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
"We're asking the government to be an ally, not for a bailout of the Canadian newspaper industry."— Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey
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