Sun News not shining

Canada's newest 24 hour news channel, Sun TV, isn't widely available in Canada yet. Here in the Yukon, it's only available through Shaw satellite. Northwestel cable doesn't carry the right-wing news channel.

Canada’s newest 24 hour news channel, Sun TV, isn’t widely available in Canada yet.

Here in the Yukon, it’s only available through Shaw satellite.

Northwestel cable doesn’t carry the right-wing news channel.

That doesn’t sit well with James Ewert.

As a Northwestel customer with right-leaning views, he had hoped he’d be able to watch Sun TV on something other than his computer screen.

When he called Northwestel to inquire about when the channel would become available, a customer service rep told him Sun TV was too controversial and there were no plans to add it any time soon, said Ewert

“I didn’t think that my views were that controversial,” he said.

While Ewert was shocked by that explanation, so was Northwestel.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with any subjective judgment,” said Emily Younker, the telco’s communications manager. “It’s simply fact that a contract and agreement around rates and fees and other contractual terms, like programming and packaging requirements, wasn’t reached by the time of this launch.”

While they don’t broadcast Sun TV yet, it’s something that Northwestel is still open to.

“It’s possible you’ll see it in the future,” said Younker.

But that could take a while.

Since it’s launch in April, only one satellite, and a handful of cable companies have picked up the network.

Bell Canada initially carried Sun TV on its satellite service, but was ordered to take it off by Sun’s parent company, Quebecor Media, after only a few weeks.

The two media companies couldn’t reach an agreement on carrier charges – how much Bell would pay to carry the network – and programming – in what kind of package the channel would be offered.

Quebecor has appealed to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, accusing Bell of giving undue preference to its own news channels – CTV, BNN, CP24.

For its part, Bell called the terms Quebecor demanded excessive.

Both companies described the other as unwilling to negotiate.

In a letter to the CRTC, the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance, a non-profit group that represents more than 100 independent cable companies, including Northwestel, echoed Bell’s assertion Quebecor was being unreasonable.

The alliance faced similar problems with Quebecor when trying to negotiate an agreement to carry Sun TV on behalf of its membership.

“Sun News demanded a very high minimum subscriber penetration as a condition of carrying the service and, to date, has rigidly maintained that demand,” stated the letter. “(The alliance) has responded just as Bell Media has done. We cannot accept an offer that unreasonably restricts our members’ ability to offer services in response to their customers’ needs.”

The CRTC hearing is now closed.

The regulator is expected to make a decision in a few weeks.

But that decision will only effect Bell.

No matter what the outcome, Northwestel will have to negotiate its own separate agreement.

That means Ewert is going to have to wait for Sun TV to rise.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read