You wake up, stretch, take a shower. And when you step out of the shower and go to the computer to see what’s flowing through the Intertubes, you find out that Kory Teneycke is no longer heading the Sun TV project. In fact, you learn he no longer has a job.
Quebecor issued a succinct news release to that effect.
Luc Lavoie, long-time associate of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, is now at the helm of the Sun TV expansion.
The ever-witty Paul Wells summed it up this way on Twitter:
June 9, 2010 – Sept. 15, 2010: the best summer job since Kim Campbell’s.
During an Ottawa news conference, Teneycke suggested his resignation stemmed from potential conflict-of-interest concerns, given how closely his new role followed his time in government.
“The perception problems associated with such a quick move from active politics to overseeing a bureau covering the government you just worked for are obvious,” Teneycke said.
Teneycke began his tenure at Quebecor last spring with a series of media interviews to introduce the proposed station in which he criticized its competition as “boring” and “politically correct.”
Station brass then got into a war of words with author Margaret Atwood, who signed an online petition spearheaded by New York-based advocacy group Avaaz.org against the station, dubbed “Fox News North” by critics. The petition called on Ottawa to refrain from granting special favours to the station as it works through the licence-application process.
And earlier this week, officials with Avaaz.org asked police to investigate its allegations that someone using an Ottawa-based IP address entered bogus names on the petition.
Teneycke has previously acknowledged that a “source” claimed to have posted the names and then told him about it right away.
Oh dear. The problems associated with being rabidly partisan.
His departure caps months of controversy. Mr. Teneycke publicly derided other news outlets as the “lame-stream media” and lashed out at Sun TV critics, calling veteran TV journalist Don Newman “the Helen Thomas of Canada.” That was a reference to the disgraced White House reporter who recently resigned after saying Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to places such as Germany.
Speculation in recent weeks about alleged collusion between the Harper government and Mr. Péladeau included the extraordinary notion that former Mulroney spokesman and long time Quebecor associate Luc Lavoie would be tapped to chair the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
One source familiar with Quebecor described Mr. Teneycke’s resignation as a “Hail Mary” pass, or last-ditch effort, to increase chances that federal broadcast regulators grant the company an exception to the rule in its application. Quebecor wants Ottawa to designate Sun TV channel a “must offer” channel for up to three years, meaning cable firms are obliged to at least offer it as an option.
The source warned the project is “probably dead” without this exception, adding it’s considered doubtful the Harper government would intervene to help Quebecor on the file.
Quebecor spokesman Serge Sasseville said the company is moving ahead with Sun TV and confident it will get needed approvals. He declined to say what it would do if the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission did not grant Sun TV the must-carry designation.
Globe TV critic John Doyle added this: 10 things you should know about Fox News North.
One analysis of the whole Sun TV push to force cable providers to offer the channel as an option (but not force them to purchase it) that Sun Media types liked was written by Steve Faguy on Sept. 4.