Canwest CEO Leonard Asper kept communication lines open with Ottawa in November

In the month of November, CanWest Global Communications Corp. CEO Leonard Asper communicated with Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore and then-Industry Minister James Prentice, as well as the chairman and the secretary general of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The communications are revealed on the Web page of the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada. Under the law, Asper is not required to divulge details about the nature of the communications, apart from listing a broad category.

The subject matter was “broadcasting” for the November 14 communication with Moore, who is the minister responsible for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam.

Moore’s ministry deals with laws that touch upon Canadian culture, such as the Broadcasting Act, the Copyright Act, and Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act.

The previous day, Asper filed a report listing the subject matter of “broadcasting” for his communication with Prentice. The Ministry of Industry deals with a long list of acts dealing with the economy, including the Investment Canada Act, the Copyright Act, and the Competition Act.

On November 3, Asper filed reports listing the subject matter of “broadcasting” in communications with CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein and CRTC secretary general Robert Morin.

In October, Asper communicated with CRTC vice chairman Leonard Katz, and last July, Asper communicated with Moore, Prentice, and Stephen Kelly, the senior policy adviser to the Industry minister.

The November communications with the CRTC officials and Moore and Prentice came after Canwest Global Communications Corp. shares fell below $1 for the first time in history.

Canwest owns the Global television network as well as Canwest MediaWorks, which owns daily newspapers is most major Canadian markets, including Vancouver.

Asper and his sister Gail have both registered in connection with communications with government officials.

However, their deceased father, former Canwest chairman  Izzy Asper, never registered as a lobbyist, even though a new book by Peter C. Newman reports that Izzy Asper met with then-prime minister Jean Chretien to discuss  government capital financing for a museum of human rights that Asper was promoting in Winnipeg.

Under the Lobbying Act, in-house corporate lobbyists are not required to register if these activities take up less than 35 days of their time every six months. As a result, the senior Asper probably wouldn't have been required to register if he was still alive and did this under the current legislation.

Eventually, the project was declared a Crown corporation. The Harper government agreed to provide annual operating funds in addition to capital funding, and Harper recently  joined Izzy Asper's daughter Gail for a sod-turning ceremony in Winnipeg.



Tim Horton

Jan 5, 2009 at 5:24am

I would bet these meetings were held in Winnipeg at the end of the national Conservative Convention. (Winnipeg is home to CanWest and also hosted the national Conservative Convention from November 12-14.)