Why Krista Erickson probably won't get far with her attack on arts funding
I really didn't want to give Krista Erickson any more publicity for her childish attack on dancer Margie Gillis.
But in the absence of any analysis of the bigger picture, I thought it was worth wading into this once again.
Don't kid yourself. Erickson isn't doing this on her own. If she didn't have the support of the big boss at Sun News, Kory Teneycke, she wouldn't be attacking public funding of the arts.
Teneycke is a former press secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Perhaps one day, Teneycke will be seen as Canada's equivalent to Roger Ailes—a former Republican propagandist who turned Rupert Murdoch's Fox News into a right-wing political force south of the border.
It's easy to see why Teneycke would go on a crusade against public funding of the arts, rather than raise hell about Harper wanting to blow $30 billion on fighter jets, and then lie about the cost to Canadian taxpayers. Attacking the arts will make the prime minister happy by shifting attention away from more important issues.
But Teneycke has a problem. He's not acting in isolation.
Sun News is part of Quebecor, which is a sprawling media giant that owns printing plants, newspapers (including 24 hours in Vancouver), and a large cablevision company in Quebec.
This gives artists and their supporters numerous targets should they choose to focus their attention on Quebecor rather than on one unimportant broadcaster who's probably just following her boss's instructions.
Look no further than Rogers Communications. It learned a lesson when its stable of right-wing polemicists at Maclean's magazine decided to slap a headline called "Too Asian" on an article about Canadian universities.
Asian Canadians noticed that Rogers Communications not only owned Maclean's, but was also in the cellphone business and operated multicultural television channels. And Rogers didn't want its cellphone business going down the tubes because of a few loudmouths at a relatively insignificant magazine.
Erickson and Teneycke may want to bring the hammer down on arts funding. But if the artists in this country use their imagination, they'll get under the skin of Quebecor boss Pierre-Karl Peladeau, who will tell the hired help to back off.
Peladeau's biggest concern is going to be the share price of his company. That was the same worry that Rogers had after the "Too Asian" article caused such a flap.
Many artists are exceptionally intelligent and creative. If they're in a mood for a fight, they can cause a lot of trouble—even if they're not always flush with cash.
The moment Quebecor starts losing lucrative printing contracts or its newspaper circulation goes into a freefall or there are massive cancellations of its cablevision service, you can be sure that Erickson will move onto a different target.