Liberals’ $600M aid package for news media will irrevocably politicize the press

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In August, 1981, the Kent Commission — appointed to investigate the Canadian newspaper industry in the wake of the simultaneous closings of the Ottawa Journal and the Winnipeg Tribune — issued its report.

Among other recommendations for government intervention in the news business, it called for tax credits to be given to newspapers with higher-than-average editorial budgets. Of course, the money came with a few strings, but never mind. The publishers rose up against the report, en masse — possibly the only example on record of a Canadian industry rejecting an offer of government aid.

The president of the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association at the time accused the government of harbouring the goal of “taming the press.” Told that the government would impose the commission’s recommendations if they were not accepted voluntarily, the publisher of the Calgary Herald declared, Churchill-like: “We will never surrender.”

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Andrew Coyne – National Post – November 23, 2018.

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