Fox News North Secures Broadcast License to Launch in Canada

Canada is to get a conservative all-news TV channel after the CRTC on Friday granted Quebecor Media a license to launch Sun TV News nationwide.

The upstart cable channel, dubbed Fox News North by liberal critics, has the go-ahead to launch on January 1, 2011, with the moniker Hard News and Straight Talk.

"It (Sun TV News) will aim to challenge conventional wisdom and offer Canadians a new choice and a new voice on TV," Quebecor Media CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau said as the conservative news channel faces stiff competition from existing cable news channels operated by the CBC and CTV networks.

The run-up to the licensing of Sun TV News spurred passionate debate about whether Canadians will embrace a news channel modelled on the successful Fox News Channel in the U.S.

Quebecor Media¹s chances of landing a license for the upstart cable channel were dealt a blow when it was revealed that Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and representatives of Quebecor Media had secretly lunched in New York City with Rupert Murdoch and Fox News president Roger Ailes.

That forced Peladeau to disavow any links between Sun TV News and Fox News, as critics claimed, or that Harper¹s conservative government had conspired to bring a Fox-style news channel to Canada.

Much of the controversy over Sun TV News also turned on what broadcast license it would ultimately receive from the CRTC, Canada¹s TV regulator.

The CRTC initially rejected a bid by Quebecor to see Sun TV News carried on basic cable, which would have assured the news channel¹s success out of the gate.

Instead, Quebec Media will now have to secure carriage for Sun TV News from domestic cable and satellite TV operators, much like most other new digital cable channels.