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Media bailout campaigner gets $6-million in federal cash for his papers

The taxpayers’ cash was equivalent to more than half of net income for FP Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and Brandon Sun.

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The publisher who pushed the feds for newspaper bailout cash received more than $6 million in federal help in 2019, part of a $595 million package the Liberals doled out, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The taxpayers’ cash was equivalent to more than half of net income for FP Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and Brandon Sun.

“Despite the fact the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unpredictable, we continue to identify and undertake cost reduction initiatives in an effort to address the underlying revenue declines in the legacy print business,” managers wrote in Financial Statements.

Bob Cox, publisher of the Free Press, successfully lobbied for a $595 million media bailout for all Canadian dailies two years ago as chair of News Media Canada, a publishers’ trade group.

“These measures have been called a bailout by some,” Cox said in 2019 testimony at the Commons finance committee.

“I would suggest this crowd knows very little about the business of operating a newspaper.”

FP Newspapers received $5,382,999 in pandemic wage subsidies last year and $822,000 in media payroll rebates under the Income Tax Act. The federal grants totaling $6,204,000 were the equivalent of 54% of the company’s net income for the year, $11.4 million.

Cox earlier assured MPs subsidies must be temporary.

“I don’t really like the idea of a long-term subsidy for newspapers that becomes permanent,” he said.

“The program itself is envisioned to be for five years and I felt that was an appropriate time. Of course there will be newspapers that fail, and you can’t give it to them forever.”

Records show the Free Press and partner newspapers last year saw an 8% decline in digital ad revenue and a 27% decline in print advertising. The Free Press does not disclose circulation figures but has acknowledged in public statements that readership is down 14% since 2016.

Management in Financial Statements blamed the daily’s troubles on the pandemic though Cox in a confidential 2018 letter to the Department of Heritage said the newspaper faced closure prior to COVID-19.

“Even well-informed people do not realize what is at stake,” wrote Cox, who said the pre-pandemic Free Press faced “the most serious crisis we have faced in our history” since it was first published in 1872.

The Western Standard does not accept any cash grants from any level of government.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Andrew Pludek

    May 29, 2021 at 5:07 am

    Hear Hear for these two comments, I am a grandfather, and I dont go near newspapers anymore, or watch tv news or listen to Canadian talk shows, they are all slanted bought and paid for by this communist government.

  2. Left Coast

    May 28, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Great news aggregator . . . whatfinger.com

    Something for almost everyone . . . and of course Epoch Times & Western Standard !

  3. Left Coast

    May 28, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Cox is living in the past . . . in a world today where everyone has the world in their pocket in the form of a smart phone, reading newspapers is something grandparents do.

    The Fact that Canada’s Print Media stopped practicing Journalism decades ago is also a factor. They are mostly a partisan Echo-chamber today, along with the TV 6 o’clock news which appears to be the same on all 3 network channels. No longer do they report news, they censor the news & deliver what they think is appropriate for the dumb Canooks.

    The factor in that our schools are turning out little Johnies that not only can’t read with understanding, but many can’t Think . . . critical thinking & personal responsibility left the building decades ago. Indoctrination is the new mantra by our insane Teachers’ Unions.

    Grew up in Winnipeg and even in the 60s the Free Press was a Left-Wing Publication.
    I actually worked for the Winnipeg Tribune, the superior competition back in the day.
    The Tribune was closed in the 80s in a trade-off deal with FP Publications who closed an Ottawa paper.

    In the last 20 years Pulp Mills in BC have been shutting down specifically because of the decline of the Print Media . . . no longer the same demand for Newsprint.

    Biggest Media Malpractice event was the “Russia Russia Russia” narrative that lasted for over 3 years regarding Trump. They are all guilty of spouting lies paid for by the Political Opposition.
    How Ironic that today, Senile Joe Biden & his family have taken many Millions from the Ukraine, Russia & China . . . and NOT A WORD from our feckless media. ALL on Hunter’s abandoned Laptop which the FBI have had for well over a year . . . and ZERO interest!

    Recounts going on today in Arizona, soon Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan & Pennsylvania . . . and you likely never heard a word . . . thank the FakeStream Media.

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News

Judge says military accounting a major mess

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

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A judge in Nova Scotia says he has no doubt Canadian Armed Forces money was swiped, but military bookkeeping is so terrible he can’t say how much.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the money was discovered to be stolen from Sydney, N.S. Garrison after an internal audit faulted the Department of National Defence for mismanagement of money-losing golf and curling clubs.

In convicting a former manager of theft, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Peter Ross said he was “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the Sydney Garrison, but had to estimate the loss at $28,000 due to “lax accounting practices” and “sloppy recordkeeping.”

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

“There are too many holes in the bucket,” the Court was told.

David Mullins, a former Department of Public Works manager, was found guilty of theft. Mullins worked as manager of the Sydney Garrison Messes for two years handling food and liquor sales, hall rentals, petty cash, bank deposits and inventory.

Court was told bookkeepers in Halifax became alarmed when the Garrison started “going into the red” and reporting bank deposits for $4,700 “deemed suspicious because it was such a round number.”

Forensic accountants found the Garrison “did not have working cash registers” and discovered $2,800 in banknotes in a filing cabinet.

“If bottles are missing, cost is what matters,” testified Roberta Sullivan, a forensic accountant with the Department of Public Works.

“If cash is missing, retail value is what matters.”

The Garrison Messes were managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services branch, the same division responsible for operations of 39 military-owned sports clubs nationwide.

An earlier Non-Public Property Audit Of Special Interest Activities found the clubs lost $2.7 million annually.

The review found military clubs sold memberships to the general public in direct competition with the private sector.

“Policy dictates the combined non-military membership at a special interest activity shall not exceed 50% of the total membership,” said the report.

“Several special interest activities have requested exceptions to this, citing financial sustainability.”

“Policies require special interest activities to operate as businesses with the goal of being financially sustainable.”

“Sustainability” was widely interpreted, the report added, with unnamed club managers found to “interpret a net loss as acceptable” as long as it was subsidized by the Department of National Defence.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

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A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

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“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

170 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

**your signature**



The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

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