The chill January landscapes of the Great White North were briefly thawed this week by the forces of (human) nature. Sun Television Network, unrepentant capitalists and right wing apostles all, are screaming blue bloody murder. The CRTC, our national telecoms regulator, banished the Sun to the cable band nether regions when the network was founded a few years ago. This blatant denial of free speech, sayeth the Sun, means only 40 percent of Canadians have access to the Sun message, charming, well-crafted evangelistic right wing screeds of longer criminal sentences, less taxes, and ‘Canadian values’ ….you know, what people like us want in our society, the code language delivered with the knowing teleprompted wink to a largely white, older demographic. The parallels between the Sun Network and the balanced, highly nuanced Fox News educational forums are as obvious as they are underwhelming. Maybe narrow, reflexive thinking is good for the soul.
The fact that the Sun boyos will make much more advertising money if given their desired place on the cable dial is, y’know, secondary, eh? It’s the principle! We must be heard! (….and CRTC, let us collect the additional hidden fee we score from the cable provider the more places we are accessible….just between us girls).
The most vital of the values trumpeted ad nauseam across the Sun airwaves? Less interference in citizens’ lives, the former mantra of our federal Conservative Party when in opposition, the now entrenched government gang. These fervent righties bailed out our auto sector in 2009, and arranged some sweet additional liquidity for our bankers, too. They have declared intentions to exert much tighter future control of the natural resources sector. Canada runs massive deficits and our federal bureaucracy is the largest ever – hardly the stuff of Edmund Burke. President Obama would make a fine Conservative Prime Minister. There is consistency if nothing else in this Sun pitch that the regulator must throw them a frickin’ bone. It’s the right wing Canadian way!
The Sun plea for a better spot on the digital dial has one purpose – to make money that their network cannot possibly generate on its own merits. There is little question that the Canadian telecom regulatory system is less than transparent. Free market competition takes on oddball dimensions when it is carried out in regulated environments, with the banking system a decent Exhibit A. But… newsflash for the Sun Network and its avowed devotion to free speech and personal freedom to choose. Why not lobby for change, get a federal government elected that will make broadcasting truly competitive, and scrap the present laws, the way you say democracy ought to work in every other instance? Principles can be so inconvenient sometimes. Oh, and in case you’re wondering how the title fits into this subject, it’s an old expression that means when a person’s attitude towards a topic is dictated by personal interest and not principles, his ‘ox has been gored’.