Sun News Network
|Sun News Network|
|Sun News Network logo|
|Launched||April 18, 2011|
|Owned by||Quebecor Media
TVA Group (49%)
Sun Media Corporation (51%)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV; 16:9 letterbox)
|Slogan||"We're On Your Side"
"Canada's Home for Hard News and Straight Talk"
|Formerly called||Sun TV News Channel (used prior to launch)|
|Replaced||"Sun TV" (CKXT-DT)|
|Website||Sun News Network|
|Shaw Direct||Channel 517 / 149 (SD)|
|Bell TV||Channel 506 (SD)|
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 531 (SD)
Channel 1531 (HD)
|SaskTel Max||Channel 69 (SD)|
|TBaytel||Channel 213 (SD)
Channel 805 (HD)
Sun News Network (commonly shortened to Sun News) is an English language Category C news and opinion channel owned and operated by Quebecor Media through a partnership between two of its subsidiaries, TVA Group (49% ownership) and Sun Media Corporation (51% ownership). The channel launched on April 18, 2011 in standard and high definition under a Category 2 (later classified as Category C) licence granted by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in November 2010, after the network aborted a highly publicized attempt for a Category 1 licence (later classified as Category A) that would have given it mandatory access on digital cable and satellite providers across Canada.
Sun News is available on a handful of cable and satellite systems across Canada to 40 per cent of all Canadian households (5.1 million homes). Quebecor has sought wider distribution for Sun News since its launch, and made a new request in Spring 2013 for mandatory carriage on basic cable/satellite tiers. Sun News was previously simulcast on the former CKXT-DT, an over-the-air station based in Toronto (with repeaters in Southern and Eastern Ontario) that aired general entertainment under the "Sun TV" name before simulcasting Sun News from the network's launch date until Fall 2011, when Quebecor surrendered the CKXT licence. The existence of Sun TV prior to Sun News (and the fact a similar on-screen logo was used for the CKXT venture) has resulted in Sun News sometimes being erroneously referred to as "Sun TV".
Programming and content 
Sun News' daily schedule is modelled after Quebecor's French language news channel, Le Canal Nouvelles, and features what it and its executives promote as "hard news by day, straight talk at night," emphasizing news reportage and breaking news coverage during the daytime hours (6 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET) before turning to personality-driven analysis and commentary programmes in the evening hours (5 p.m. ET onwards). The network's general on-air attitude, its founding executives have claimed, is lively, "unapologetically patriotic", and "less politically correct" in comparison to the well-established English-language national news networks in Canada, CTV News Channel and CBC News Network, which Quebecor management have claimed are "uninspiring" and leading Canadian TV viewers to turn to U.S. networks for news.
Sun News takes a populist, conservative-leaning approach that mirrors the namesake Sun chain of Quebecor-owned tabloid newspapers; that, and its employment of conservative commentators and operatives in key on-air and off-air positions, led media reports, pundits, and critics to colloquially bill the network as "Fox News North." Sun News management has openly bristled at the comparisons to Fox News, saying that they only intend Sun News to mimic the Sun chain's “irreverent” and “provocative” approach, and that though some conservative voices would be prominent, a "range of [political] opinion" would be offered.
After the planned New Years' Day 2011 launch was pushed back because of start-up and staffing challenges, Sun News began programming on April 18, 2011 with a 10-hour countdown clock that ended at 4:30 p.m. (ET). O Canada was played before a half-hour launch preview special hosted by Canada Live host Krista Erickson (the Sun newspapers' "Sunshine Girl" for the day). The special was followed by the premiere of The Source with Ezra Levant and the remainder of the network's prime-time talk programming. Daytime news programs debuted on April 19. Sun News is based in studios in Toronto, with additional studios located in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Calgary. Sun News has news bureaus in Edmonton and Moncton (both shared with Sun Media), Montreal (shared with QMI Agency), and Washington, D.C. (the network's first foreign bureau).
Licensing by the CRTC 
From the start of its licensing attempts for Sun News, Quebecor intended for the network to replace the company's former existing licence for the general entertainment station CKXT-TV (Sun TV), which it owned and operated at the time and was available over-the-air in Toronto and through relayed through translators in Hamilton, London, and Ottawa. In its initial submission to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in spring 2010, Quebecor requested that Sun News be awarded a Category 1 digital specialty channel licence that would have reverted to Category 2 status after three years. Category 1 status, if the CRTC had approved it, would have given Sun News the same status as CTV News Channel and CBC News Network, in that it would have required all Canadian digital television providers (both cable and direct broadcast satellite) to carry and offer Sun News to their customers should those carriers have the capability to do so. However, unlike CTV News Channel and CBC News Network, carriers would not have had the ability to distribute Sun News via analogue cable, only digital. (Category 1 would not have made the channel a compulsory part of every customer's basic digital package; however, it could be placed in digital basic packages subject to negotiations between Sun News and individual television providers.)
Quebecor initially requested Category 1 status for Sun News on the basis that the channel's combination of news, analysis, and opinion programming would create "a completely new [TV] genre" different from the other all-news channels in Canada. The CRTC disagreed, however, and turned down the application in a July 5, 2010 letter to Quebecor. In its letter, the CRTC noted that Sun News was being promoted in part as a news channel, and suggested that "news and analysis are sub-categories of the information programming category", which therefore would not, in the CRTC's eyes, make Sun News unique. Additionally, the CRTC had stated earlier in 2010 that it was not planning to entertain any new applications for Category 1 licences until at least October 2011.
After the CRTC declined the Category 1 application, Quebecor resubmitted its Sun News application under Category 2 status. Though Category 2 is not mandatory (cable and satellite carriers are not compelled to carry such channels), Quebecor included in its resubmission a request for a Category 1-style "mandatory access" period of no more than three years, insisting that the network would need that period of time "to effectively expose and promote its programming to viewers across Canada" without obliging cable and satellite customers to add it to their package; without mandatory access, Quebecor added, cable/satellite carriers could choose not to offer Sun News to their customers, which could lead to Quebecor pulling the plug on the project.
On October 5, 2010, Quebecor announced that it was withdrawing its mandatory access request and apply for a normal Category 2 status without any special exceptions or carriage conditions. The move was widely considered an easier avenue for Sun News' licence approval (Category 2 licences are routinely granted by the CRTC unless it is for a format considered a protected genre, of which national news channels are not included). The CRTC granted Quebecor a five-year Category 2 licence for Sun News on November 26, 2010; the network's status was changed to a Category C service on September 1, 2011, as part of an overall restructuring of broadcasting regulations during Canada's transition to digital television broadcasting.
Since obtaining the Sun News licence in late 2010, Quebecor has negotiated carriage deals with cable and satellite providers on an individual basis. Quebecor's own Vidéotron carries the network, as do systems run by Access Communications, Rogers Cable, Eastlink, Shaw Communications, and Cogeco. (The initial deal with Shaw was for a free, six-month trial period on Shaw Cable systems in Ontario and Western Canada; Cogeco's clearance of Sun is limited to its Ontario systems.)
Sun News was also initially available over-the-air on Quebecor-owned, Toronto-based CKXT-TV, which served Southern and Eastern Ontario. CKXT had broadcast the general entertainment format branded as Sun TV until beginning a simulcast of Sun News on the network's launch date. This simulcast allowed Sun News to reach audiences in the Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and London areas (the latter three cities through repeaters), either through the CKXT broadcast signal or cable/satellite services that were compelled to carry CKXT's signal. Some carriers outside those areas also carried CKXT at their own discretion. Though Quebecor had intended to return the CKXT licence in exchange for Sun News, it made a February 2011 filing to the CRTC requesting to continue CKXT's operations past the August 2011 digital conversion. The arrangement led to complaints by other broadcasters and cable/satellite providers that Sun was trying to "have it both ways" by having both guaranteed over-the-air coverage while asking for the subscriber fees to which a specialty channel is entitled. On July 5, 2011, the CRTC told Quebecor it would have to justify its practice of using an over-the-air signal to rebroadcast a specialty channel; Quebecor responded on July 15 that it would agree to surrender the CKXT licence to the CRTC. As a result, Sun News' CKXT simulcast ended on November 1, 2011, when the main Toronto signal was turned off along with the Hamilton and London repeaters (the Ottawa repeater was shut off on August 31).
Sun News was available on Bell Satellite TV until the morning of May 3, 2011, when the channel was removed from the service at Quebecor's request because no carriage fee agreement had been reached with Bell TV. Bell countered that Quebecor's asking price for Sun News carriage was in line with more popular channels and deemed too high for such a "new and relatively untested" channel; additionally, Bell wanted to treat Sun News as a terrestrial channel (i.e., available without carriage fees), citing its then-simulcast on CKXT. (The outage did not affect Bell Fibe TV in the Toronto area, which was compelled to carry CKXT's signal.) Quebecor filed a complaint with the CRTC over the incident, alleging that Bell was discriminating against Sun News and thereby favouring Bell Media's own news networks, namely CTV News Channel and CP24. On November 22, 2011, Quebecor and Bell announced a deal that would – beginning in mid-December 2011 – add Sun News to Bell TV's basic satellite and IPTV packages outside of Quebec (a deal for subscribers in that province is expected to be announced later). The Bell deal also includes carriage of three other Quebecor-owned networks, Mlle, Yoopa, and TVA Sports.
In January 2013, Quebecor again filed a request with the CRTC for mandatory carriage for Sun News Network, requesting that the channel become a compulsory part of cable/satellite providers' basic channel tiers (analogue and digital). In a response to interventions submitted to the CRTC in March 2013, and in CRTC public hearings conducted one month later, executives of Quebecor claimed that Sun News (one of several new and existing channels making carriage proposals during those hearings) was not receiving fair treatment from cable/satellite providers that were giving their own news channels preferential treatment ahead of Sun. As a remedy, Quebecor requested that Sun News receive a mandatory placement on basic channel tiers through the end of 2017, with a per-subscriber fee of $0.18/month ($0.09/month in primarily French-speaking markets). Quebecor claimed that the proposal, if approved, would help build audience awareness and viewership levels for Sun News, and would help alleviate the financial losses the channel has accrued; anything else, Quebecor added, would lead to a "death sentence" for the network, including a suggested "must carry" status (where providers must offer the channel to subscribers, who can decide on their own whether to add the channel to their package). The CRTC has not set a date for its decision on Sun News' carriage request.
Controversy and criticism 
2010 licensing campaign 
In his August 19, 2010 column in The Globe and Mail, Lawrence Martin claimed, citing "insiders", that CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein was under pressure from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to resign from the commission and take another government position, such as an ambassadorship, in order to facilitate Sun News getting its desired licence. In a letter to The Globe and Mail, von Finckenstein "categorically" denied any government interference regarding Sun News or his tenure as CRTC chair.
An online petition titled "Stop Fox News North" was established by the international activist organization Avaaz.org. The petition claimed that Prime Minister Harper sought to "push American-style hate media onto [Canadian] airwaves" with Sun News, and that the network would be "funded with money from our cable TV fees" (in contradiction to the "mandatory access" request in Quebecor's 2nd CRTC application); the petition also cited Martin's column as evidence that von Finckenstein was the "one man" standing in the way of Sun News getting a preferential licence. Avaaz's petition garnered 30,000 signatures, 21,000 of which Avaaz delivered to the CRTC because they had individual appeals added. Author Margaret Atwood was among the petition signatories, revealing she signed it not as a criticism of Sun News' possible rightward agenda but as a criticism of Harper's style of government, particularly perceived attempts by his government to expedite Sun News' licence approval.
Quebecor immediately dismissed the Avaaz petition against Sun News, alleging Avaaz to be an "American special interest group funded by U.S. billionaire George Soros". (Avaaz has staff in Canada and several other countries, but was co-founded by MoveOn.org, a U.S.-based political advocacy group to which Soros has contributed in the past. However, it is not clear whether Soros has ever directly funded, or otherwise been directly involved with, Avaaz.) Sun News supporters and noted employees piled on as well; Sun News Ottawa bureau chief David Akin, for one, accused Margaret Atwood on his Twitter account of attempting to squelch Quebecor's free speech rights by signing the petition, while Ezra Levant, a future Sun News hire, wrote in a column that ran in the Sun newspapers, not only criticized Soros' perceived direct support of Avaaz but brought up Soros' background as a survivor of Nazi-controlled Hungary ("false, defamatory and offensive statements", according to a spokesperson for Soros, who considered legal action against Sun Media before they apologized, retracted, and removed from its websites Levant's column; Atwood also considered a lawsuit).
Quebecor VP of development Kory Teneycke, who was heading up the Sun News project, also took aggressive stands against the network's opponents. In a September 3, 2010 opinion piece that ran in Quebecor-owned newspapers, Teneycke accused Atwood of "[putting] her political agenda ahead of principles and patriotism"; he also criticized Avaaz and challenged the legitimacy of the signatures on its "Stop Fox News North" petition, specifically citing "signatures" from fictitious characters including "Boba Fett" and Dwight Shroot (sic). In the same manner as those fictitious monikers, names of real-life journalists were signed to Avaaz's petition, with the journalists receiving automated "thank you" e-mails for signing a petition that they never signed. Teneycke revealed on his Twitter feed (since deactivated) that not only did he also receive a "thank you" for "signing" the petition, he also had been in contact with a prankster who submitted the signatures. Teneycke's posting piqued Avaaz, which noted that the signature list was not viewable to the general public and called the "fraudulent" signatures the work of "a deliberate and illegal effort" meant to discredit the organization. Avaaz investigated further and traced most of the suspect signatures to a single IP address in the Ottawa area; Avaaz forwarded its findings to Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Ottawa Police investigators on September 14, 2010, and requested that they look into the matter. (Ottawa Police, after reviewing Avaaz's request, decided in November 2010 not to proceed with an investigation.)
On September 15, 2010, one day after Avaaz's request for a police investigation, Kory Teneycke abruptly resigned from his position at Quebecor and Sun News. Avoiding specific references to the petition controversy in his announcement, Teneycke admitted that his presence at Sun News and acts during the licensing campaign had played a part in "debasing" the debate over the network, and that he hoped his departure would lessen the impression of interference by the Harper government and increase civilised debate on Sun News' licensing attempts. Quebecor immediately replaced Teneycke with longtime Quebecor executive (and former Conservative Party operative) Luc Lavoie; Lavoie served as Sun News' head until Teneycke returned to Quebecor and the network in January 2011, two months after Sun News was granted its Category 2 licence (Lavoie remains as the network's head of development and spokesperson).
An October 2010 memo obtained by Canadian Press the following December under the Access to Information Act suggested that Quebecor withdrew its special status requests for Sun News in an effort to appease not only the CRTC but those within the Canadian broadcasting industry who intervened with concerns about the Sun News licensing efforts. Quebecor did not officially divulge the reason for the application change, but then-Sun News head Luc Lavoie acknowledged that the interventions played a part and hoped it would be a sign that Quebecor wanted to "negotiate [carriage terms] in good faith" with cable/satellite carriers.
Early content and programming 
Before Quebecor withdrew its mandatory access request for Sun News (see above), the public interest group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting issued a briefing to the CRTC recommending that Sun News' application be rejected, believing that Sun's mandatory access request was "highly unfair" to other licence applicants. However, Friends recommended that if Sun News did win licence approval, Quebecor should be required to commit revenue to Canadian programming (equal to that of CTV News Channel and CBC News Network) as well as adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Code of Ethics for balanced news coverage and programming. The CRTC's November 26 approval specifically included requirements that Sun News would adhere to the RTNDA Code of Journalistic Ethics and the Journalistic Independence Code as a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. Sun News was regarded to be a possible benefactor of a proposal by the CRTC to give licensed broadcast stations more leeway to broadcast false and misleading news (the CRTC dropped the proposal in February 2011).
The content of Sun News' early hours and days received some criticism and generated some controversy, with critics and columnists remarking about the network's heavy self-promotion and choice of opening night topics, including several critiques against the CBC (see also below) and little talk about the ongoing political campaign (by coincidence, Sun News' debut occurred two weeks before a federal election).Ezra Levant was panned as well for relying on "old news" during the first edition of The Source, including showing a controversial 2005 cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Less kinder criticisms came from The Globe and Mail TV critic John Doyle, who branded Sun News as "fantastically inept broadcasting", and from Winnipeg Free Press columnist Brad Oswald, who remarked that the network "lacked the ideological zeal and the financial wherewithal to achieve its self-stated goal of changing TV history."
Sun News' perceived sex appeal received attention early on, with both Rick Mercer and Ottawa Citizen columnist Dave Dutton among those tweeting about the "babe shots" during Sun's first day. Later in the week, columnist Tasha Kheiriddin of the National Post slammed Sun News over the "low cut, sleeveless" attire of the network's female anchors; Maclean's Washington bureau chief Luiza Ch. Savage, in agreement with Kheiriddin, billed the network as "Skank TV" on her Twitter feed (a comment she would later delete). Sun News management has defended their anchors' "right to bare arms", as did New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament Olivia Chow — who unveiled a sleeveless look during an April 21 appearance on The Roundtable, stating that "It’s not what [women in politics] wear that matters, it’s the ideas they bring forward."
2011 federal election reportage 
Sun Media, and Sun News in particular, was involved in two separate news stories during the final week of the 2011 federal election that centred on two of the federal party leaders. The first centred on a photo that appeared to show Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff posing with U.S. military forces in Kuwait in late 2002, months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The source of the photo was Conservative Party operative Patrick Muttart, who had been providing pro bono advice to Sun News regarding its on-air presentation and offered the photo to Sun Media, which ran a story alleging Ignatieff's involvement with the U.S. plans to invade Iraq. Sun Media did not run the photo, however, as the image was illegible and did not conclusively prove of Ignatieff's presence with the U.S. troops. Sun Media head Pierre Karl Péladeau, in an editorial for the Sun papers, claimed the photo was an attempt to not only damage the Ignatieff campaign but the integrity of Sun Media and Sun News as well. The incident led to Muttart's removal from the campaign of Conservative leader and incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
On April 29, 2011, Sun News ran a report contending that NDP leader Jack Layton was in attendance at a Toronto massage clinic when police visited it in 1996 on suspicion of it being a brothel. Layton, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, called Sun News' report a "smear campaign," while Layton's lawyer, Brian Iler, said in a statement that Layton "had no knowledge whatsoever that the therapist’s location may have been used for illicit purposes." Layton's wife and fellow NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow confirmed the 1996 appointment and decried "any insinuation of wrongdoing" on her husband's part. Ontario Provincial Police launched a probe into how police notes about the incident were leaked to Sun News, whose report cited an anonymous Toronto vice-squad officer.
Conflict with the CBC 
Sun News Network (and, historically in print, Sun Media) carries frequent and ongoing criticism of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and has accused the Crown-owned public broadcaster (which Sun Media has pejoratively termed "The State Broadcaster") of having a left-wing bias and misusing taxpayer funds. The station and Quebecor's newspaper chain filed hundreds of Access to Information requests seeking details of how CBC was spending its $1.1 billion budget. CBC's refusal to fill many of those Access to Information requests led to a court case filed against it by Canada's Information Commissioner. Sun News frequently aired news pieces and published articles alleging misspending of taxpayer dollars.  CBC president Hubert Lacroix called the attacks a "smear campaign." Sun Media CEO Pierre-Karl Péladeau accused the CBC of advertising with almost all media companies but his. 
CBSC rulings 
Sun News Network, as a compulsory condition of its broadcast licence, holds membership in the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), and must adhere to the CBSC's member-written Code of Ethics. A violation of the Code occurred on December 22, 2011, when Ezra Levant, in a commentary on The Source, blasted Chiquita Brands International and its ethical record after the company stated it would discontinue using oil produced from the Alberta oil sands. Speaking in Spanish, Levant told an Hispanic Chiquita executive to go have sexual relations with his mother. The CBSC received 22 complaints about Levant's use of the slur, a few noting that it is one of the nastiest insults in the Spanish language. Though Sun News and Levant went on to argue that the phrase can have several meanings, Levant later admitted he intended to use the term in its literal, most vulgar sense. With that, the CBSC determined in June 2012 that, though Levant had his right to criticize Chiquita and its management, his use of the Spanish vulgarity violated Clause 6 of the Code of Ethics, which requires "full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial" content; as a result, Sun News was required to issue an on-air announcement of the CBSC decision.
An earlier incident that gained much more attention and complaints, but which had a different outcome, occurred during a June 1, 2011 broadcast of Canada Live, when Krista Erickson discussed public funding for arts programmes with interpretive dancer Margie Gillis. During the discussion, Erickson took an aggressive verbal tone towards a soft-spoken Gillis, shouting over Gillis's responses and challenging her comments about lack of compassion amongst Canadians when, to quote Erickson, "We have lost more than 150 soldiers who have served in Afghanistan!" Though Sun News stood by Erickson and her conduct in the Gillis interview, the CBSC would receive 6,676 complaints from viewers over the incident, considerably more than twice the annual average number of complaints the Council receives. After reviewing the complaints, the CBSC determined in February 2012 that no violation of Clause 6 of the Code of Ethics occurred, stating that Erickson's line of questioning, though forceful, did not cross into personal attacks.
Another incident that occurred on The Source (separate from the Chiquita incident mentioned above) involved the July 4, 2011 broadcast, when Ezra Levant and journalist/blogger Kathryn Marshall discussed a municipal- and provincial-government-funded program in Edmonton that provides housing and studio space for Edmonton artists; during the discussion, Levant frequently (and Marshall occasionally) called the program "free housing" for artists. On the July 6 Source, Levant retracted the "free housing" comments after reading a viewer comment that faulted him for not verifying his claims (residents of the project do pay rent), though he stood by his objections to government funding for the project. The CBSC, after receiving 40 complaints on the incident, sided with Levant and Sun News in determining that no violation of Code of Ethics Clauses 6 and 7 (the latter clause concerns fair treatment on controversial issues) had occurred.
2011 Citizenship Week incident 
On October 18, 2011, The Roundtable held a ceremony at Sun News' Toronto studios to commemorate Canada's celebration of Citizenship Week. Sun News producers, rather than sending a crew to one of several citizenship ceremonies in the Toronto area (as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials had initially recommended), offered instead to have 10 new Canadian citizens take the Oath of Citizenship at their studios (suggesting that the network only wanted to cover the Oath, rather than a full ceremony, on-air). The CIC Toronto office scrambled to arrange for 10 recently-sworn citizens to reaffirm the Oath on Sun News at the network's request, and the Oath ceremony went ahead as planned on October 18, with Roundtable anchors Alex Pierson and Pat Bolland presenting the group as if to suggest that they were taking the Oath for the first time (though the presiding judge made it clear during the broadcast that this was only a reaffirmation of the Oath). However, in a February 2, 2012 Canadian Press report, which relied on documents and e-mails released under the Access to Information Act, about 6 of the 10 who reaffirmed the Oath were in fact CIC employees, who were there to fill in for those new citizens who had to back out due to other commitments and to ensure "the right numbers" for the Sun News broadcast. (The names of CIC and Sun News employees on the e-mails, redacted in the CP report, were revealed in later reports by other outlets.)
CIC was criticised for its role in the incident, while opposition members in the Canadian House of Commons laid blame on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for the "deceptive" reaffirmation ceremony. (An e-mail revealed in the CP report as coming from a SunMedia.ca address appeared to suggest that Sun News offered to "fake the Oath" on-air.) Kenny and his office, after the CP's February 2 report, insisted they weren't made aware of CIC Toronto's actions in the event until the day before the CP report was released, blaming CIC Toronto officials for their "poor [handling]" and "logistical problems". Kenney's press secretary, Candice Malcolm, went so far as to offer a mea culpa to Sun News in a February 3 appearance on The Roundtable.
Pat Bolland, in his February 3 interview with Candice Malcolm, acknowledged that both Sun News and the government "had a little bit of egg on our face [sic]," but both he and fellow Roundtable host Alex Pierson asserted they were personally not privy to CIC's actions or the actual citizenship status of the participants when they presented the event to viewers. Sun News management would claim no advance knowledge as well, with spokesperson Luc Lavoie stating that "our viewers were deceived by a well-meaning [CIC] bureaucrat who made a poor decision", and cited, by name, a Sun News producer (who left the network a month after the event) for her role in the incident. However, the explanations of both Kenney's office and Sun News were called into question in June 2012, when a new Canadian Press report revealed that they both were in fact privy to the presence of the civil servants on the Roundtable broadcast, and that Sun was "given the choice" to use them on-air. Kenney, in response to the new CP report, backtracked on his earlier blame of CIC bureaucrats, claiming in House of Commons that "at every citizenship ceremony Canadians are invited to reaffirm, including public servants", and that the Sun News incident "was perfectly normal and legitimate".
Sun News was criticised for the incident: Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick, after the original CP report, called the broadcast a "charade" that "mocked our democracy [and] journalism", while a Star editorial stated that Sun failed its viewers for "misrepresenting a reaffirmation ceremony as a citizenship one". Sun News had its defenders, however: Sun host Krista Erickson defended her colleagues' role, branding the original CP story as "extremely misleading" and a "completely unfair attack". CTV News Channel host Don Martin also said that Sun was not to blame, other than "not having the resources to attend a real ceremony". The February 2 CP report noted that CIC Toronto officials had lingering doubts about the broadcast, and one official recommended afterwards that Sun News, should the network desire to do so, present a full citizenship ceremony (not a reaffirmation) in the future, either in its studios or at a scheduled CIC ceremony.
Ratings and viewership 
On Sun News's first night of broadcast on April 18, 2011, 37,000 viewers nationwide tuned in to the half-hour preview show, with 31,000 viewers staying to watch the first regular program, The Source with Ezra Levant; other first-day viewership levels included 31,000 for Charles Adler and 17,000 for Byline with Brian Lilley. After that first night, however, first-week viewership fell considerably, with the network attracting 12,000 viewers on April 20, only 1,000 of them within the advertiser-desired 25-54 age demographic. Viewership numbers have varied since then; on April 22 at 7 p.m., 11,000 viewers watched Sun News, well behind CBC News Network's number for that hour (263,000) and even behind U.S. import CNN (38,000).
By June 2011, Sun News reached an average of 12,900 viewers, which ranks it ahead of all-business specialty channel BNN but well behind both CBC News Network and CTV News Channel. In August 2011, Qubecor Media Inc. stated that on August 12, they had higher viewership than CTV News Channel for the time period of 3:00 p.m. to 10:00pm and higher than CBC News Network in the time slot of 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. They also had their highest ever viewership of 89,000 in the 9:00 p.m. showing of Byline. The next Thursday August 18, Sun News Network had higher viewership than CTV News Network from 1:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. with Charles Adler receiving 62,000 viewers and Byline 80,000 viewers. However, on the next day, the numbers dropped to 30,000 for Adler and 19,000 for Byline. On Wednesday, December 28, the highest rated show was The Source with Ezra Levant garnering an audience of 38,000 viewers. Byline with Brian Lilley pulled 35,000 viewers. However, only 5,000 and 6,000 of those viewers respectively were from the coveted 25-54 age bracket. Charles Adler only drew 8,000 viewers at 8:00 p.m. with zero in the 25-54 age bracket.
On April 18, 2012, one years after Sun News' launch, a BBM Canada ratings report revealed that during a 24-hour period from 2 a.m. the current day to 2 a.m. the next day between August 31, 2011 and March 31, 2012, Sun News came in fourth place among English news channels, bringing in only 0.1% of viewers, behind the CBC News Network (1.4%), CNN (0.9%) and the CTV News Network (0.8%). Requests for Sun News to comment or elaborate on the ratings have been declined.
According to documents filed by Sun News Network with the CRTC in 2013, the channel has a viewership of 16,400 in an average minute.
List of current programs 
The following is a partial list of regularly scheduled Sun News Network shows.
- Menzoid Mornings
- AM Agenda
- Newswire with Sneha Kullkarni
- Right Now with Caryn Lieberman
- Canada Live
- The Source with Ezra Levant
- The Battleground with David Akin
- The Arena with Michael Coren
- Charles Adler
- Byline with Brian Lilley
- Canada in the Rough
- Sun News Live
- Saturday Sun
- Sunday Sun
Sun News is headed by Kory Teneycke, VP of development for Quebecor and a former director of communications and chief spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Teneycke briefly left Sun News after a firestorm erupted over his criticism of Sun News' critics (see below); during that interim (September 2010 to January 2011), Sun News was headed by Luc Lavoie, a long-time Quebecor executive and, like Teneycke, a former Prime Minister's spokesperson (he served under Brian Mulroney).
At its June 2010 launch announcement, Sun News named David Akin and Brian Lilley as national bureau chief and senior correspondent, respectively; both men serve as on-air hosts. Sun News' first significant on-air hire was nationally-syndicated talk show host Charles Adler; the Winnipeg-based Adler was named in September 2010 to host a nightly analysis/opinion show on the network. Two more significant hires took place in October 2010, when Sun News hired long-time CBC News reporter Krista Erickson to serve as host and reporter, while also hiring author, columnist, and Western Standard founder Ezra Levant to host a late-afternoon analysis show. During the summer of 2010, Sun News made an overture to comedian Rick Mercer (who declined), while also denying rumours of an offer to Kevin Newman, who left his anchor position at Global National that August and now hosts CTV's Question Period.
In addition to the on-air staff listed below, Sun News relies in part on staff and resources from the Sun chain and other Quebecor-owned newspapers; a number of Quebecor's print journalists were trained on the TV newsgathering tasks they perform in addition to their regular newspaper and website duties. (Sun News logo is patterned after the Toronto Sun's long-time circular insignia, which was re-applied to the Sun tabloids and websites a day after Sun News' debut.) Additionally, Sun News has an international content agreement with CNN.
Current on-air staff 
- Anchors and hosts
- Commentators, pundits, and contributors
Former on-air staff 
- Theo Caldwell – The Caldwell Account host (left June 27, 2011)
- Neelam Verma – host of the former early morning show First Look.
- Jacqui Delaney – Newswire host (currently a freelance journalist)
- Krista Erickson – Canada Live host and Evening News Update anchor (left January 2013; now a UK-based correspondent for CBS News)
- Michelle Jobin – senior meteorologist (currently with Global Toronto)
- Andrea Slobodian – reporter and Calgary-based co-anchor of AM Agenda (currently with CTV Winnipeg)
- Mercedes Stephenson – military analyst (formerly with the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary) and Daily Brief co-host (left Sun News one week before its launch; currently with CTV News Channel)
- "Quebecor fires warning shot at all-news networks", from Globe and Mail, June 15, 2010
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-882, published 11/26/2010
- "Sun News Network rises today," from torontosun.com, 4/18/2011
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- "Sun TV’s conservative 24-hour news service gets the green light", Toronto Star, November 26, 2010
- "Sun TV's abandonment of principles is TV comedy gold," from The Globe and Mail, 4/27/2013
- "Sun News Network launches with anchor as Sunshine Girl," from The Globe and Mail, 4/18/2011
- "Sun News wants five-year digital basic cable deal," from J-Source.ca, 3/19/2013
- Krashinsky, Susan (August 18, 2011). "Sun News gives up over-the-air licence". Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
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- "Quebecor to Launch English News Channel", from Broadcaster Magazine, June 15, 2010
- Canadian Press, via Marketing Magazine: "Sun News drawing as little as 4,000 viewers during some time slots", April 27, 2011.
- LADURANTAYE, STEVE. "Sun News Network hits the airwaves with a hard right". Globe and Mail.
- "'Fox News of the North' to launch in Canada", National Post, June 15, 2010
- "Dawn breaks for right-wing television," from National Post, 4/18/2011
- "Timeline: Sun News," from National Post, 4/18/2011
- "Sun News sets up shop in Washington," from SunNewsNetwork.ca, posted 11/22/2011
- Simon Doyle (June 15, 2010). "Quebecor asks CRTC for limited, three-year 'must carry' licence for Sun TV News, offers to give up analogue Sun TV". The Wire Report. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- Public Notice CRTC 2000-6, January 13, 2000
- "CRTC refuses Sun TV’s bid for preferred status on dial". The Globe and Mail, July 15, 2010.
- Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-198, March 31, 2010. This bulletin's references to "Category A" licences are in relation to a proposed new category which would include both legacy analogue and current Category 1 digital services (see also Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-100).
- "Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-649", from the CRTC website, posted 9/1/2010.
- "Quebecor not giving up on application for must-carry Sun TV News", from The Wire Report, posted 9/1/2010 and accessed 9/9/2010
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- "Sun TV News to cater to conservative viewers, new channel's head says", from Financial Post, 11/26/2010.
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-931 from the CRTC, dated 12/10/2010
- "Sun News Network to Launch Today," from Broadcaster, 4/18/2011
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-95 from the CRTC website, posted 2/14/2011
- "Bell satellite subs lose Sun News in carriage fee battle that's part of a bigger fight," from CARTT, posted and accessed 5/3/2011
- "Bell TV pulls Sun News Network," from The Globe and Mail, 5/3/2011
- "Quebecor, BCE settle spat over news channel," from The Globe and Mail, 11/22/2011
- Ladurantate, Steve. "As losses mount, Sun turns to CRTC". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "Sun News Response to Interventions," from Docs.Google.com
- "Happy Birthday Sun News Network (and why it might not get another one after the CRTC hearings)," from J-Source.ca, 4/18/2013
- "Sun News to CRTC: No guaranteed spot on the dial, no more network," from Canadian Press via Winnipeg Free Press, 5/2/2013
- Lawrence Martin (2010-08-19). "Is Stephen Harper set to move against the CRTC?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Konrad von Finckenstein (2010-09-08). "Letter to the editor: CRTC independence". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Canada: Stop "Fox News North"". Avaaz.org. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Activist group Avaaz files 21,000-name petition against Sun TV", from Canadian Press via cbc.ca, 10/1/2010
- "Margaret Atwood takes on ‘Fox News North’", Ottawa Notebook blog posting by Jane Taber from globeandmail.com, 9/1/2010
- "American Petition and Margaret Atwood: Buzz Off!". Sun TV News. 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "About Us". Avaaz.org. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Democrats Forming Parallel Campaign". Washington Post. 2004-03-10. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Retraction and apology to George Soros," from Toronto Sun, printed 9/18/2010 and accessed 4/18/2011
- "Billionaire Soros threatening to sue Sun Media", from The Globe and Mail, 9/17/2010
- "Atwood sells out to the Yankees", opinion piece by Kory Teneycke as published in Sault Star, 9/3/2010.
- "'Stop Fox News North' petition? We didn't sign it", from CBC News' Inside Politics Blog, posted 9/3/2010
- "Avaaz.org vs. Sun TV vs. Unwitting Hill Journalists...", from CBC News' Inside Politics blog, posted 9/3/2010
- "Executive’s abrupt departure raises questions about Sun TV’s future", from The Globe and Mail, 9/16/2010
- "Avaaz vs. Sun News TV Redux: Hey, remember that whole petition kerfuffle?", from CBC News' Inside Politics Blog, posted September 14, 2010
- "Cops won't investigate fake names on Sun TV petition", from Canadian Press via cbcnews.ca, 11/8/2010
- "Former Tory spokesman exits Sun TV", Ottawa Notebook posting from globeandmail.com, posted 9/15/2010
- "Sun TV believed changed application would answer concern of objectors:documents", from Canadian Press via cbcnews.ca, 12/9/2010
- "Reject Sun TV Application Says Friends", from Broadcaster magazine, 9/30/2010
- "CRTC dumps proposal to ease rules on false news", from CTV News, 2/25/2011
- "Sun News Network rises," from QMI via torontosun.com, 4/18/2011
- Will Sun News have any real influence on the election?" from the "Election Chatter" blog of Ottawa Magazine 4/19/2011
- "Sun News Network: Hard News. Straight Talk. Short Skirts." from MacLeans.ca, 4/19/2011
- "Ezra Levant brings back Muhammad cartoons during Sun TV launch," from canada.com, 4/18/2011
- "The sun came up, and it was dead boring", from The Globe and Mail, 4/25/2011
- Oswald, Brad (2011-04-23). "Sun TV rises; is anyone watching?". Winnipeg Free Press.
- "Sun TV News launches 'controversially Canadian' channel", from CTV News, 4/18/2011
- "Skirts trump hard news," column by Tasha Kheiriddin from National Post, 4/21/2011
- "'Skank TV' tag has Chow baring arms", from canoe.ca, 4/21/2011
- "Tory strategist dumped over bogus Ignatieff photo". CBC News. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
- "Layton slams massage parlour report as 'smears'". CBC News. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- "statement-from-olivia-chow". oliviachow.ca News. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- "Leak of police notes in Layton report probed," from CBC News, 4/29/2011
- "title|Sun News Network continues its jabs at Canada’s public broadcaster CBC", Andy Radia Yahoo News Canada, published July 14, 2011, sourced Feb 22, 2013
- "CBC vs. Sun News Chief: Pierre-Karl Péladeau Attacks Public Broadcaster On Parliament Hill; CBC Fights Back". The Huffington Post Canada. October 20, 2011. Retrieved Feb 22, 2013.
-  "title|Taxpayers pay big for CBC to pimp their ride"], Brian Lilley, Sun News, published Nov 22, 2012, sourced Feb 22, 2013
- "Sun Media vs CBC war heats up". Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild. Retrieved Feb 22, 2013.
- CBC vs. Sun News
- "Defiant Levant stands by Spanish slur," from The Globe and Mail, 6/13/2012
- "CBSC Decision 11/12-0847+: Sun News Network re The Source (Chiquita Banana)," issued on 6/13/2012
- "Sun News Network – Canada’s new comedy central TV," John Doyle column from The Globe and Mail, 6/9/2011
- "Sun News stands by interview with dancer," from Toronto Sun, 8/12/2011
- "Complaints over Sun News interview overwhelm watchdog," from The Globe and Mail, 6/29/2011
- "Sun News interview didn’t violate ethics code, Canadian Broadcast Standards Council rules," from Toronto Star, 2/3/2012
- "CBSC Decision 10/11-2102 & -2124: Sun News Network re The Source (Edmonton Artists’ Housing)," issued 3/28/2012
- "Kenney's office apologizes for Sun News stunt," from CTV.ca, 2/2/2012
- "Federal bureaucrats pose as new citizens on Sun News," from Canadian Press via CBCNews.ca, 2/2/2012
- "Feds apologize to Sun News," from Toronto Sun, 2/2/2012
- "Senior officials praised bureaucrat for phony Sun News citizenship ceremony," from Toronto Star, 2/4/2012
- "Televised citizenship event 'poorly handled,' Kenney says", from Canadian Press via CBCNews.ca, 2/12/2012
- "Kenney blames bureaucrats, won't apologize for fake citizenship broadcast," from Ottawa Citizen, 2/2/2012
- "Kenney's office apologizes for ‘new Canadians’ stunt on Sun News," from The Globe and Mail, 2 February 2012
- "Jason Kenney, Tory officials split on details of Sun News Network ‘fake citizenship’ ceremony," from Canadian Press via National Post, 6/5/2012
- "Fake Sun TV citizenship ceremony explanations in dispute," from Canadian Press via CBCNews.ca, 6/5/2012
- Source: Heather Mallick column from Toronto Star, 2/3/2012
- "Sun TV’s fake citizenship ceremony discredits it and Harper government", editorial from Toronto Star, posted 2/2/2012
- "Don’t blame Sun TV, blame the culture of 'potted plants'," from Don Martin's Power Play blog on CTVNews.ca, posted 2/4/2012
- "Sun News ‘ahead of where we thought we’d be'", from The Globe and Mail, 6/6/2011
- "Here we grow again" from QMI Agency, 8/16/2011
- The Brioux Report: Big Brother takes top 3 spots; Sun News a one-night wonder
- Source: Toronto.OpenFile.ca
- Canadian Press, via Yahoo: "Sun News Network turns a year old, continues to spark controversy", April 18, 2012.
- New Harper spokesman to make PMO more political
- "SUN TV NEWS Announces New Additions," press release via Bloomberg.com, 10/22/2010
- "‘Fox News North’ primed for launch", from Globe and Mail, June 14, 2010
- "Thumbs up.com," from TorontoSunFamily.BlogSpot.com, posted 4/20/2011
- "All eyes turned to Sun News..." from National Post, 4/15/2011
- "Theo Caldwell, host of 'The Caldwell Account' leaves Sun News Network", Winnipeg Free Press, June 30, 2011
- "Sun News' Erickson quits her slot on Canada Live," from The Globe and Mail, 1/22/2013
- "Right-wing Sun News Network loses prime-time anchor on eve of launch," from Canadian Press via Toronto Star, 4/13/2011