George Soros accused in Sun TV News debate

Politician claims Soros behind anti-news channel campaign

TORONTO -- A prominent Canadian politician has fingered American billionaire George Soros for meddling in efforts to launch a right-wing TV news channel here.

Senator Bob Runciman told the Canadian Senate that Avaaz, a U.S. website linked to Soros, was spearheading a campaign against Sun TV News, a conservative all-news TV channel dubbed Fox News North by its critics.

"The virtual silence of the Canadian media on the involvement of this foreign entity illustrates only too well why Canadians need more voices, more opinions and more sources of news," Runciman added, in a pitch to the CRTC, the country's TV regulator, to grant Sun TV News a broadcast license.

The Canadian Senator added his voice to continued sightings on the right of liberal cabals that control Canadian media and are looking to thwart right-wing outlets.

"Why have the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) and like-minded media outlets ignored the activities of Avaaz? Is it perhaps because Avaaz shares their view of the world?," Runciman questioned while speaking in the upper chamber.

He also fingered the CBC for leading a Sept. 13 newscast with "a flimsy conspiracy theory" that linked the U.S.-based National Rifle Association with a Canadian debate over registering rifles and shotguns.

"Meanwhile, a real example of foreign interference in Canadian affairs was occurring right under the noses of CBC reporters and producers who tried so hard, but failed so miserably, to prove foreign influence in the gun registry debate," Runciman told the Canadian Senate.

"Avaaz was putting its resources into influencing Canadian broadcast policy, as it attempted to interfere in Canadian environmental policy, as it tried to influence the results of the last election, and as it tried to convince the Governor General to allow the opposition coalition to take power following that election," he added.

New York-based Avaaz this week delivered a "Stop Fox News North" petition and letters by around 21,000 Canadians to the CRTC as it considers an application from Sun TV News for market entry.

Quebecor Media, which is looking to launch Sun TV News on Jan. 1, 2011, this week backed down and said it would not seek special treatment from the CRTC on its application to launch a new all-news TV channel (HR, 10/5).