MAC'S MUSINGS: Media baron steps into the sovereignty game

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Claude McIntosh

Now this is interesting.

The man who owns a slew of ultra-patriotic, flag-waving newspapers - and a TV station - outside Quebec, mostly in Ontario, the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder included, has thrown his support behind a political party hell bent on breaking up the country.

Pierre-Karl Peladeau, major shareholder of Quebecor, announced on the weekend that he is running as a Parti-Quebecois (aka separatist) candidate in St. Jerome. If he wins, as expected, he will for certain hold a high-profile cabinet post in a PQ government, perhaps finance minister, given his business background. He might be the person spearheading the next referendum for the separatists.

He said his goal is to give his children a country (Quebec) that they can be proud of. In other words, Peladeau and his kids aren't proud to be part of Canada.

That kind of trash talk, for a guy whose company does so much business outside Quebec, is bound to have a backlash. Don't be surprised if there is talk of a boycott of Sun Media in Ontario and other parts of Canada.

The official company line is that Peladeau has stepped aside as the hands-on owner of Sun Media but that doesn't change the fact that his ghost still haunts the editorial boardrooms. It doesn't change the fact that he owns the chain. Hard to believe that he will shrug off any unsavoury comments made by the people who work for him. Don't expect to see Sun media tabloid headlines along the lines of "Sun owner wants to break up Canada" or "Sun's PKP a traitor." Will Sun TV pit bull Ezra Levant turn his wrath on Peladeau?

More than likely Sun Media editorial folks will proceed with caution when it comes to putting personal knocks on Peladeau and his rush to break up Canada.

After all, this is the guy who once sent a text message to S-F publisher Milton Ellis around 2 a.m. to complain about something he read in the paper. Another publisher once received a message at 3 a.m. demanding to know why money was used to purchased T-shirts for a charity. He is the guy who ordered water coolers to be removed from all his newspaper offices because they were deemed an unnecessary expense and who decreed that TV sets in newsrooms had to be tuned to the third-rate Sun TV at all times. The running joke in Sun Media newsrooms was that if Peladeau had been successful in his bid to purchased the Montreal Canadiens, the team would have been order to play with 2 1/2 lines and use Bearskin Airline.

Perhaps the billionaire media mogul is tired of the news game, at least outside Quebec, and is laying the groundwork for his exit.

In the meantime, folks running Sun newspapers outside Quebec can only hope that PKP stops talking about making life better for his kids in a Republic of Quebec.

IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR Halliwell's Tire and Brake Shop at Sydney and Water streets owned an operated by Earl and Bill Halliwell who took over the business from their father Ashworth. It was erased from the landscape when Cornwall Square was built and Sydney Street was re-aligned. A large chunk of Central (Horovitz) Park went with it. ... The Deebank family's Western Tire store on Pitt Street and Bob Bough's eatery a couple of doors down. ... The Colonial Coach bus terminal and lunch counter on Second Street next to Shirley's Restaurant, a popular hangout for teens.

ROUND'N'BOUT City council spent more time discussing grants to outside agencies than any other part of the $168 million budget. Meanwhile, realizing there were still a couple of pears left on the taxpayer tree, it spent about five minutes adding $350,000 for bicycle lanes on Marleau Avenue. ... Just a thought, but is there a Mrs. Valdy Putin? ... The old Lloyd George Hotel on lower Pitt Street was not named after a British prime minister as many believe. It was named after the two owners, Lloyd Gallinger and George Bringloe who also owned a furniture store.

THIS & THAT When the VIA Rail train pulled into the Cornwall station (what has morphed into a glorified bus shelter) Thursday a dozen passengers in the first-class car lined up to exit. They were still waiting to get off a few minutes later when the train pulled out. Seems nobody could get the door open and the engineer wasn't told of the problem, so it was off to Montreal. The folks finally got off in Dorval, the next stop. A fleet of taxis was assembled to bring them back to Cornwall. Two of the unhappy passengers were MPP Jim McDonell and the Hon. Ed Lumley who just happens to be a member of the CN board of directors. Needless to say, a couple of big wigs at VIA HQ got an earful from Lum.

HERE & THERE Without trying to disparage the fine proactive crime-fighting work of Cornwall Police Service, one of the reasons crime is on the decline, not only in Cornwall but in most other cities across the country, and North America for that matter, is simple demographics: There are a lot fewer kids and the population is aging. Look no further than school enrolment figures where school boards are spending thousands of dollars each year to grab a share of a shrinking commodity: students. The decline started in the 1970s. Families are a lot smaller than when Baby Boomers were growing up. It was not uncommon in the 1950s for households to have five or six kids. Some had more, especially among French Roman Catholic families who followed the wishes of the Church to propagate, whether they could afford a dozen kids or not.

SEEN & HEARD University of Ottawa's men's hockey team was suspended after an allegation that some players took part in a sexual assault. The key word here is allegation. Just wondering if the school would suspended the entire faculty if there was an allegation of sexual assault against one or more of its members? ... What Quebec needs is a premier of Rene Levesque's stripe who doesn't try to sneak one past Quebecers when it comes to framing the referendum question. ... If the PQ wins a majority in April it is almost certain we will face another sovereignty referendum within a couple of years. This would make it a best-of-five with the separatists trailing 2-0. Of course if they lose, it will become a best-of-seven.

TRIVIA ANSWER Maurice "Rocket" Richard scored a goal in an exhibition game played at the Water Street Arena. It was his first goal against another NHL team as a member of the Canadiens. The goal came in a 6-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Oct. 22, 1942. He also assisted on a goal by Elmer Lach.

TRIVIA Name the two City of Corwnall councillors who were appointed by their peers to serve as mayor?

SPORTS STUFF Of all the gifted centres the Cornwall Royals had over the years, Bob Currier is right up there with the best of them. ... Colts' owner/manager/coach Ian MacInnis was one-third of the highest scoring line in Cornwall Royals' history. MacInnis, Doug Gilmour and Steve Driscoll combined for an Ontario Hockey League record 436 points. The trio scored 178 of the team's 1982-83 regular season's 370 goals. In one playoff series, the line accounted for all but three of the team's goals. ... The $5 ticket deal offered by the River Kings looks more like a fire sale.

Organizations: PQ, Sun Media, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder Quebecor Sun TV Montreal Canadiens ROUND'N'BOUT City council VIA Rail CN Cornwall Police Service Water Street Arena NHL Boston Bruins Ontario Hockey League

Geographic location: Quebec, Ontario, Sydney Street Cornwall Canada Pitt Street Republic of Quebec.IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR Halliwell Second Street Marleau Avenue Montreal Dorval North America Corwnall

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  • Phillip Blancher
    March 13, 2014 - 09:53

    PKP is a joke, as are the separatists.