In politics, as in the media business, it's important to pick your battles. - Ever- more so when the two intersect.
While they certainly haven't hoisted the white flag, nor are they about to: The folks at Sun TV News are reeling over the abrupt departure of their Vice-President, Kory Teneycke, amidst allegations of dirty-tricks played against the U.S. based group Avaaz which has been sponsoring a web-based petition against the right wing television network plans.
Mr. Teneycke's resignation came within hours of a request by Avaaz to Ottawa and Ontario Provincial Police to probe the identity of the individuals responsible for adding "fraudulent" signatures to their on-line petition - "Stop Fox News North" - which has been signed (legitimately) by more than 80,000 people.
Prior to his flame-out, Kory Teneycke who is Prime Minister Harper's former Director of Communications, brought a lot of attention to the Sun Media proposal. But it's owners, Quebecor could ill afford to wait for a criminal investigation which may involve one (or more) of Sun-TV principals before pushing him overboard.
In fact, the departure may offer some unexpected welcome relief to the Prime Minister
and his entourage on the eve of the resumption of the Parliamentary fall session next week. Kory Teneycke's past association and close ties with Mr. Harper and his government were becoming problematic distractions as the Sun-TV News application winds its way through the regulatory process before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Adding to the volatile mix was Quebecor's direct involvement through its President, Pierre Karl Peladeau, in a bid to return the NHL to Quebec City. That bid hinges on construction of a large ice arena complex in Quebec, an issue over which a public backlash forced the Prime Minister to back away from, just a few days ago. Mr. Harper it seems has now been favoured with additional distancing both from Sun-TV and Mr. Peladeau. Lest I digress: The new "grand-fromage" at Sun-TV is Luc Lavoie who was Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Director of Communications...but at least that's all a few years back!
Mr. Harper, who has obsessive control over what the media says about him, the Conservatives and his government, will now be freer to concentrate on the substantive matters set to explode during Question Period over the next several weeks. Specifically the purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike stealth fighter jets; abolishing the long-gun registry; and any potential fall-out from Auditor-General Sheila Fraser's look into value for the money spent on the "Economic Action Plan" which kick-started the economy.
The recent advent of "working" coalition governments in the United-Kingdom and Australia - parliamentary systems just like-ours - may be seen to both favour and encourage the Liberals and the New Democrats to resume discussions over forcing an election once the budget is set at the end of winter. Last spring there were widespread rumours in Ottawa that just such talks were being encouraged by former Liberal P.M. Jean Chretien and the former leader of the NDP, Ed Broadbent. After a summer of some discontent, there is no reason to believe those embers aren't still burning.
If Mr. Harper who's minority government has been in power almost five years is to concentrate on the country's issues of substance. Then he can ill afford to have control over "the plot" drift away from his grasp over the mundane.