Postmedia Subsidies & Connections May Explain Lack Of Interest In Real Journalism

Postmedia owns the bulk of the media outlets in Canada. This includes both mainstream news, and many smaller ones. It is also heavily subsidized by the Government, which in reality, means the taxpayers. Is that the reason why they don’t properly cover this so-called “pandemic” in Canada?

1. The Media Is Not Loyal To The Public

Truth is essential in society, but the situation in Canada is worse than people imagine. In Canada (and elsewhere), the mainstream media and fact-checkers are subsidized, though they deny it. Post Media controls most outlets in Canada, and many “independents” have ties to Koch/Atlas. Real investigative journalism is needed, and some pointers are provided.

2. Important Links

https://www.postmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Postmedia-Network-Canada-Corp-MDA-Q1-F21-Final.pdf
https://www.postmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Postmedia-Network-Canada-Corp-FS-Q1-F21-Final.pdf
Postmedia-Network-Canada-Corp-FS-Q1-F21-Final
Postmedia-Network-Canada-Corp.-Cons-Aug-2019-1-1

Fall 2018 Economic Update For Canada
Canada 2019 Federal Budget
Digital News Subscription Tax Credit (15% Back)
Refundable Labour Tax Credit (25% Of Salaries)
Canada Periodical Fund (75%, Up To $1.5 Million)
Special Measures For Journalism (CV-19)

Postmedia Subsidies For Periodicals

Postmedia Governance
https://archive.is/hctqB
Vincent Gasparro’s LinkedIn Page

Postmedia’s Debt Restructuring
Postmedia Debt Arrangement Settlement 2016

3. Many Programs Available For Media Firms

It was outlined earlier, some of the taxpayer subsidies that media companies can get. These include:
[A] Digital News subscription Tax Credit (15% rebate)
[B] Refundable Labour Tax Credit (up to 25% of salaries)
[C] Canada Periodical Fund (75% of expenses, up to $1.5M)
[D] Special Measures for Journalism (75% of expenses, up to $1.5M)

Now, we have the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which is even more handouts in order to keep otherwise unprofitable media solvent. In fairness, Postmedia does bring in over $100 million per quarter, according to its financials. But one has to wonder what strings are attached to these grants, such as the type of coverage provided to the public.

Granted, many businesses that have nothing to do with this industry are eligible as well for the CEWS.

4. Postmedia Expects Millions In Tax Breaks

[Page 8]
4. GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE
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Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
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On April 11, 2020, the Government of Canada passed the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”) to support employers facing financial hardship as measured by certain revenue declines as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. CEWS currently provides a reimbursement of compensation expense to June 2021 provided the applicant has met the applicable criteria, which has been established up to March 13, 2021. During the three months ended November 30, 2020 the Company recognized a recovery of compensation expense of $6.6 million related to CEWS. As at November 30, 2020, the Company has an amount receivable related to CEWS of $5.6 million included in trade and other receivables on the condensed consolidated statement of financial position (August 31, 2020 – $13.0 million).

Journalism Tax Credits
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On June 21, 2019 the federal budget was approved which contained measures specific to the news media industry including a journalism tax credit whereby qualifying Canadian news organizations may apply for a refundable labour tax credit applied to the salaries of journalists. In December 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) issued the Application for Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization Designation and guidance related to the eligibility, qualifications and determination of the refundable labour tax credit which was further clarified in April 2020. On November 19, 2020, the Company received its designation as a Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization.

On October 2, 2019, the Government of Quebec announced a similar refundable labour tax credit to be applied to the salaries of journalists in Quebec provided an entity receives an eligibility certificate issued by Investissement Québec.

Both the federal and Quebec journalism tax credit legislation include provisions to reduce the qualifying salaries and wages eligible for the credit for other forms of assistance received including CEWS. During the three months ended November 30, 2020, the Company recognized a recovery of compensation expense of $1.5 million related to the journalism tax credits (2019 – $2.4 million). As at November 30, 2020, the aggregate journalism tax credit receivable of $12.3 million is included in trade and other receivables on the condensed consolidated statement of financial position (August 31, 2020 – $10.8 million). The recognition of the journalism tax credits receivable is based on the Company’s interpretation of the federal budget and the related legislation. Actual amounts received may differ from the amounts currently recorded based on future CRA and/or Revenue Québec interpretations of eligibility, qualifications and determination of the tax credits.

To its credit, Postmedia is open about the subsidies it gets. They build into the financials the anticipated refunds from the Canada Revenue Agency. Now that they have their status as Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization, this seems inevitable.

5. Postmedia Periodicals Are Subsidized

NAME YEAR AMOUNT
Airdrie Echo Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $18,210
Bow Valley Crag & Canyon Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $29,507
Chatham-Kent This Week Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $55,450
Clinton News Record Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $21,086
Clinton News Record Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,272
Cochrane Times Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $19,730
Cochrane Times-Post Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $25,118
Cochrane Times-Post Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $6,280
The Cold Lake Sun Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $20,629
The Courier Press Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $18,333
Devon Dispatch Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $18,529
Drayton Valley Western Review Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $36,803
Drayton Valley Western Review Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $9,201
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $43,679
Exeter Lakeshore Times-Advance Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $10,920
The Fairview Post Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $21,966
The Fairview Post Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,492
Fort McMurray Today Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $45,970
Goderich Signal Star Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $66,744
Goderich Signal Star Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $16,686
The Graphic Leader Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $24,378
The Grove Examiner Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $54,973
Hanna Herald Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $12,539
Hanna Herald Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
High River Times Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $18,012
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $23,501
Huron Expositor (Seaforth) Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,875
The Journal Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $29,340
Kenora Miner & News Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $44,217
The Kincardine News Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $18,210
Leduc Rep Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $40,857
The Londoner Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $18,210
Lucknow Sentinel Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $17,215
Lucknow Sentinel Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $10,156
The Mayerthorpe Freelancer Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
The Mid-North Monitor Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $13,959
The Mid-North Monitor Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
Mitchell Advocate Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $36,312
Mitchell Advocate Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $9,078
Nanton News Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $10,060
Nanton News Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
Northern News This Week Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $39,207
Ontario Farmer Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $855,254
Ontario Farmer Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $213,814
Pembroke Observer & News Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $50,195
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
The Pincher Creek Echo Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $14,512
The Post Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $34,234
The Record Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $29,688
Record-Gazette Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $20,152
Record-Gazette Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,038
Sarnia & Lambton County This Week Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $17,172
Sault This Week Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $144,121
Shoreline Beacon Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $39,074
Shoreline Beacon Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $9,769
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $47,825
The Standard (Elliot Lake) Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $11,956
The Timmins Times Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $19,582
The Trentonian Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $32,614
Vermilion Standard Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $20,765
The Vulcan Advocate Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $19,194
The Vulcan Advocate Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,000
Weekender Times-Advance Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $44,932
The Wetaskiwin Times Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $14,794
The Whitecourt Star Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $21,872
The Whitecourt Star Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $5,272
Wiarton Echo Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $24,872
Wiarton Echo Apr. 1, 2020 – Mar. 31, 2021 $6,218

This is hardly all of them, as this has been going on for a very long time. The search came up with 216 donations to these various groups. Given all of these outlets that are controlled by Postmedia, and propped up by Government subsidies, is it any wonder that there is no real criticism of this “pandemic”?

6. Connections Of Postmedia Board Of Directors

Janet Ecker (Director)
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Janet Ecker recently retired from the role of President and CEO of Toronto Financial Services Alliance, having served in the role for nearly 13 years. Ms. Ecker served as a member of provincial parliament in Ontario from 1995 to 2003 and held the portfolios of Minister of Finance, Minister of Education, Minister of Community and Social Services and Government House Leader. In 2002 she was the first woman to deliver a budget in Ontario.
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In November 2016, Ms. Ecker was named a Member of the Order of Canada for being a leader in the financial industry.

Janet Ecker was a Cabinet Minister in the Government of Mike Harris (who was succeeded by Ernie Eves). She was part of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party…. which now back in power, headed by Doug Ford.

Vincent Gasparro (Director)
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Mr. Gasparro is currently the Managing Director, Corporate Development & Clean Energy Finance, at Vancity Community Investment Bank. Previously he served as the Principal Secretary in the Office of the Mayor of Toronto and held various roles in private equity with Lynx Equity Ltd. and its affiliates. Prior to that Mr. Gasparro served as Special Assistant in the Office of the Prime Minister. Mr. Gasparro is a graduate of York University (BA), earned an MSc from the London School of Economics and an MBA from the Villanova School of Business in Philadelphia.

Gasparro worked in the Office of the Mayor of Toronto under John Tory. He also worked in the Prime Minister’s Office under Paul Martin. Martin was succeeded by Dion, Ignatieff…. and now Justin Trudeau.

Andrew MacLeod (Director)
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Mr. MacLeod is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Postmedia Network Inc. He joined Postmedia in 2014 as EVP and Chief Commercial Officer and served as President and Chief Operating Officer in 2017. Prior to joining Postmedia, Mr. MacLeod held a number of senior executive positions in the technology sector, including serving as the Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director of North America at BlackBerry. Mr. MacLeod also currently serves as a Director on the board for Waterfront Toronto and Communitech. Mr. MacLeod is a graduate of Western University (BA).

This could be entirely coincidental, but BlackBerry did get a large contract to build a national contact tracing app for Canada. The Postmedia Directors are very connected.

Graham Savage (Director)
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Mr. Savage is a corporate director, and from 1997 to 2007 he was Chairman and Founding Partner of Callisto Capital, a private equity firm. Prior to that, Mr. Savage spent 21 years as a senior officer at Rogers Communications Inc. Mr. Savage is currently the Chairman of Sears Canada Inc. and a director of Cott Corporation. Mr. Savage previously served as a director of Canadian Tire Corp., Rogers Communications Inc., Sun Media Corp., Royal Group Technologies Ltd., Hollinger International Inc., among others.

Savage was a Senior Officer at Rogers. Guess who else worked there? John Tory, former head of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, and current Mayor of Toronto. Tory is a former President and CEO of Rogers Media.

This is just a few of them. It doesn’t exactly look like these are arm’s length relationships.

7. Postmedia Debt Restructuring, 2016

Postmedia Completes Recapitalization Transaction
October 5, 2016 (TORONTO) – Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (“PNCC” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that the Company’s previously announced recapitalization transaction (the “Recapitalization Transaction”), described in the Company’s management information circular dated August 5, 2016, was completed effective today upon implementation of a court-approved plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act. The Recapitalization Transaction includes, among others, the following key element

Postmedia Debt Arrangement Settlement 2016

In return for being able to get around millions in debt, Postmedia has had to give up 98% of the stock value to its creditors. Or rather, it allowed so much stock to be printed that current shareholders saw their investments plunge. This came from a court approved arrangement in 2016. The case file number is CV-16-11476-00CL.

8. Postmedia Lobbying Federal Government

Interestingly, Postmedia had lobbied the Federal Government over the years. One of the subjects was allowing foreign investment into the company.

As an aside, one of the firms lobbying was Capital Hill Group, the same firm that is helping G4S get more security contracts from Governments.

9. What Does All This Mean For Canada?

All of these subsidies and political connections may explain why this media conglomerate does no real journalism surrounding this “pandemic”. The Directors and various politicians are all connected, and no one wants to lose their tax subsidies.

It’s Canadians who lose. Instead of acting as a check on government overreach, media talking heads like Brian Lilley are all too willing to parrot back the talking points they are handed.

2 Replies to “Postmedia Subsidies & Connections May Explain Lack Of Interest In Real Journalism”

  1. My little town paper, one that I trusted for balanced reporting and tough journalism went the way of the DODO bird as soon as this Covid insanity broke loose. I’ve been BLOCKED from their social media platform and unable to comment. It appears they have no interest in facts coming out of government websites that might show some interesting statistics that are not being reported.

    The small time paper is THE VOICE OF PELHAM and if anyone knows if they are receiving funding to push this agenda, or how I could find out, it sure would be appreciated.

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