CBC-Quebecor Media Rivalry Comes To A Head

The pubcaster, under fire to release key corporate data, accuses its private sector rival of taking $500 million in taxpayer subsidies over three years.

TORONTO - The gloves are off: The Canadian Broadcasting Corp., under fire from rival Quebecor Media for its taxpayer subsidies, has unleashed a counter-attack.

“For more than three years, Quebecor has been using its newspapers, and more recently, its Sun News Network TV licence, to pursue a campaign against CBC/Radio-Canada," the public broadcaster said in a statement on its website.

The CBC, which receives taxpayer coin from the federal government, said Quebecor has received over $500 million in direct and indirect public subsidies over the last three years.

Quebecor in its own statement said it was referring the CBC missive to its lawyers for possible legal action.

"The unprecedented gravity of today's actions reveals the shameless arrogance that characterizes the practices of the state broadcaster's upper management and demonstrates the need to end the growing prejudice that these practices have been causing for far too long to the Canadian broadcasting system and its players. These actions should serve as the catalyst for reflection on the part of parliamentarians regarding the abuses of the state broadcaster's management," Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau added.

The attacks and counter-attacks come as a Parliamentary committee in Ottawa is probing whether the CBC needs to release key programming expenditure data to federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault, who is looking to answer freedom-of-information requests from Quebecor media outlets Sun News and its Sun newspaper chain.

The CBC contends it is exempt from releasing corporate data that Quebecor Media already divulges. 

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