Former Harper spokesperson quits Sun TV
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:29PM EDT
The former government spokesperson behind the proposed right-wing all-news channel Sun TV resigned Wednesday because he felt he was hurting the network's chances of making it to air.
Kory Teneycke, former communications director to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, stepped down from his position as vice-president of development at Quebecor Media "effective immediately."
During an Ottawa news conference, Teneycke suggested his resignation stemmed from potential conflict-of-interest concerns, given how closely his new role followed his time in government.
"The perception problems associated with such a quick move from active politics to overseeing a bureau covering the government you just worked for are obvious," Teneycke said.
Teneycke began his tenure at Quebecor last spring with a series of media interviews to introduce the proposed station in which he criticized its competition as "boring" and "politically correct."
Station brass then got into a war of words with author Margaret Atwood, who signed an online petition spearheaded by New York-based advocacy group Avaaz.org against the station, dubbed "Fox News North" by critics. The petition called on Ottawa to refrain from granting special favours to the station as it works through the licence-application process.
And earlier this week, officials with Avaaz.org asked police to investigate its allegations that someone using an Ottawa-based IP address entered bogus names on the petition.
Teneycke has previously acknowledged that a "source" claimed to have posted the names and then told him about it right away.
With the news that former Brian Mulroney spokesperson Luc Lavoie will replace Teneycke, a spokesperson for Avaaz.org said "nothing has changed about this project."
"We had two former prime ministers' spin doctors running a biased media outlet that will advance seeking a special government favour," said Ricken Patel. "One of them has stepped back, the other has stepped forward."
Lavoie said Wednesday that Teneycke's departure "won't affect the operations one way or another."
"It's full steam ahead," he told reporters.
The company goes back before federal regulators on November 19, when it will ask the CRTC for a so-called "must offer" licence, which has never before been granted. The company is asking that all cable and satellite companies be required to offer Sun TV in a package for three years.
With a report by CTV's Richard Madan in Ottawa and files from The Canadian Press