On Terence Corcoran and tax and regulatory breaks for Canwest

For many years, Terence Corcoran was the resident libertarian columnist at the Globe and Mail. From his perch on page two of the Report on Business section, Corcoran would hammer away at government policies that propped up Canadian companies.

One of his favourite topics was the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which regulates the airwaves.

Corcoran repeatedly ripped into how the CRTC granted  Canadian broadcasters preferential treatment—in effect, licences to print money—because of all the barriers it and the federal government put in place  against foreign-owned broadcasters.

Conrad Black, who was no dummy, hired Corcoran in 1998 to be the editor of the Financial Post.  Black converted the paper  into the business section  of the National Post, which trumpeted right-wing values and  laissez-faire economics.  

Black and Corcoran were a perfect fit: Black wanted someone to excoriate the Chretien Liberals anytime they intervened too much in the economy, and Corcoran was a true believer in the libertarian cause.

But something unexpected happened along the way. One of the biggest broadcasting moguls of them all, Izzy Asper, bought Black’s newspaper empire in 2000.

And suddenly, Corcoran  found himself  in the uncomfortable position where if he ripped into the CRTC  for favouring private Canadian  broadcasters over their American counterparts, he might harm the interests of his new  employer, Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Izzy’s son David later  decided to become chairman of the National Post, in effect becoming Corcoran's boss.

Now, David and his siblings are trying to persuade the Stephen Harper government to engineer some sort of regulatory and tax package to keep the family in control of Canwest.

I don’t read the National Post every day, so I went onto the site this morning  to see if Corcoran has written anything about this situation.

I noticed that  he recently penned a piece about why A.I.G. bonuses should be paid.

Corcoran also wrote a recent  article  on Ontario’s war on carbon, which  he felt was  turning the province into a “green police state”. Some things never change.

In the search section, I then punched in the words “Corcoran Canwest”. Nothing came up.  

I punched in the name "Ken Boessenkool", a former senior Conservative campaign strategist who, according to Canadian Press, is working with government to save Canwest. The only reference was to Boessenkool's lobbying work for Taser International, not Canwest.

Perhaps  Corcoran doesn’t get quite so fired up anymore  about the private broadcasters looking for help from the government. Or maybe he's just moved on to more compelling topics.