April 14, 2001 [from the Internet]

by Doug Collins

Last August Canadians woke up one day to find that the biggest media empire in the country had been created and was under Jewish ownership. Not that anyone quite put it that way, but it was so. As the headline in the National Post put it, "Asper becomes nation's media king." "Izzy" Asper, already a TV mogul, had bought Hollinger/Southam's 13 daily newspapers, 126 community newspapers, Canadian Internet operations, and fifty per cent of the National Post itself. In British Columbia, it meant that the Aspers and their CanWest empire controlled every media outlet that really counted, including The Vancouver Sun, The Province, and the Victoria Times-Colonist Subsequently, they were also to own BCTV, the biggest TV station, and were already owners of CKVU-TV (now to be sold).

Fast forward to April 12, when a column appeared in The Outlook, a small newspaper on Vancouver's North Shore under the headline "Welcome to Izzy's World". The piece showed that the Aspers had fired the publisher of the North Shore News, Mr. Peter Speck, plus Executive Editor Timothy Renshaw. It was also stated that when those firings took place, three weeks previously, a notice had been posted in the newsroom to the effect that my name - known to everyone as a former columnist of the News - should never appear in the paper's pages again. Not even in a letter to the editor. The fiction before that had been that Mr. Speck had "retired". Which he had, in the same sense as saying that a man who has been killed has "died". He had been told by the Asper messenger that his 32-year role as publisher and previous owner of the News was over and that he was to leave immediately. Mr. Renshaw, meanwhile, was given some nonsense about the paper having to reduce costs. It was clear from the Outlook piece that Messrs Speck and Renshaw were paying the price for having supported me through thick and thin against "human rights" complaints made against me by the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'Nai Brith. I was of that opinion the moment they left, although no-one in the Asper Shadowland is going to admit to such a thing. But what else could it be? Under Mr. Speck the North Shore News won dozens of awards and was the most financially successful community newspaper in the country. In 1999 it won the Canadian Community Newspapers Association award as "the best all- round community newspaper in Canada". Two years before that it was designated in the U.S. as being one of the top three in North America. Mr. Renshaw, for two years running, won the Association's award for outstanding column writing.

The Asper excesses in editorial control have not been confined to Vancouver's North Shore. A couple of weeks ago the Toronto Sun reported that CanWest had instructed all its newspapers to run an article by Liberal flack Warren Kinsella attacking the Canadian Alliance for going after Jean Chretien. "Must appear in all CanWest newspapers", was the order. There's more. According to Frank magazine, CanWest's editors have been told not to criticize the CRTC, Canada's radio and television supposed watchdog that hands out and can cancel broadcasting licences. Not surprising, seeing that the CRTC had approved CanWest's $800,000,000 bid to buy a string of TV stations from Vancouver's Western International Communications Ltd.

Mine is not the only monicker that is unpopular with Izzy and Co., and I'm in pretty good company. Big-time newspaper writers Richard Gwyn and Gwynne Dyer are also reported to be on Izzy's shit-list. Why? Perhaps they haven't been one hundred per cent in favor of Israel. For the same reason, Jewish pressure got The Vancouver Courier to drop the great Greg Felton, although the Aspers didn't own the paper at that time.

Quite apart from Jewish control and its editorial biases, we have here monopoly control of a vast section of the media that in former days would have been the subject of severe inquiry. When the Vancouver Sun and Province joined together as Pacific Press in the late 1950s, for instance, the Monopolies Commission took years to approve the deal and then laid down certain conditions. When Hollinger/Southam bought the North Shore News the arrangement was again many years in the making. Now, all is silence, in Parliament and elsewhere. What are they afraid of? Getting on the wrong side of Izzy? One might have expected the remaining media to utter a groan or two, but silence has been the rule. Or happy consent. When the news of CanWest's takeover of Hollinger/Southam broke, Maclean's magazine had a virtual orgasm spread over six pages, complete with pictures of a grinning Izzy and son Leonard. Peter Newman, another member of that fraternity, also sang a song of praise. Would he have been so keen if the Gentiles had made such a grab? When it happened, Asper Jr. said that the deal would create "exciting changes in the media scene". True. Welcome to Izzy's world!