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Quebecor executive Kory Teneycke speaks to reporters and as the Sun News hits the airwaves in Toronto on April 18, 2011. (HO/REUTERS)
Quebecor executive Kory Teneycke speaks to reporters and as the Sun News hits the airwaves in Toronto on April 18, 2011. (HO/REUTERS)

Television

'Price was right' for Liberals to advertise on Sun News debut Add to ...

1. Doing their bit for media balance. Those watching the Sun News Network's launch Monday may have noticed the irony - a small bit of Liberal cheekiness tucked in between vows and promises by the Sun TV crew to deliver a right-wing agenda of straight talk and hard news.

During the commercial breaks up came one of Michael Ignatieff's attack ads attack, the most recent " High Stakes" spot in which a female narrator details the risks of allowing Stephen Harper more time in power, including massive spending on jets and less on health care.

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The ad ran throughout the network's debut, which began with much fanfare on Monday afternoon.

"We just wanted to do our bit for media balance and the price was right," Liberal Party president Alfred Apps told The Globe Tuesday morning. "They promised that Kory would have no editorial veto."

Tongue firmly in cheek, Mr. Apps was referring to Kory Teneycke, the brains behind the new right-wing network. He was once the director of communications to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and is a strong Conservative partisan.

The Liberals have attracted much controversy of late over their ads. Their other recent TV spot, "Health Risk," came under fire Monday when the Tories accused the Liberals of misquoting Mr. Harper.

The Liberals had used a quote about health care - "It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act" - that had been attributed in newspapers to Mr. Harper. It turns out that it was actually written by Mr. Harper's former boss at the National Citizens Coalition, David Somerville.

The Liberals say they will replace the quote but will not take the ad off the air, as the Tories had demanded. Mr. Ignatieff said Monday that the Tory response shows they are "nervous" because they are under attack "for the first time on a fundamental question."

Campaign spokeswoman Leslie Church says "a revised ad will be on the airwaves today."

She added that the Liberals have had "more than 5,000 Canadians cast their ballot for Harper's worst quote attacking health care after more of Harper's past comments came to light late yesterday (the Hill Times reported him having called medicare a 'government-controlled health care monopoly')."

And the Grits are continuing to pound away at the issue. Toronto Centre candidate Bob Rae and Steve MacKinnon, the party's former national director who is running in Gatineau, are holding a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday morning to "discuss the state of public health care in Canada."

2. Le petit gars. The big gun comes out next week for the Liberals. Jean Chrétien, the former prime minister of three majority governments, is to campaign with Michael Ignatieff in the Toronto area, likely next Wednesday.

Mr. Chrétien, who made an appearance in the GTA for Stéphane Dion in the last election, will again try to help out in a region that's coveted by all parties as the clock winds down on the five-week campaign.

Last weekend, Mr. Chrétien's successor, Paul Martin, was out campaigning with Mr. Ignatieff in Alberta and British Columbia. Bringing out the former prime ministers and party leaders is also an attempt to show some unity within the party - which was pretty much fractured during the Chrétien/Martin years.

Mr. Chrétien's campaign stop next week comes just after his visit to Britain. The 77-year-old former prime minister and his wife, Aline, are having lunch with the Queen Tuesday at Windsor Castle. The luncheon is in regard to his 2009 appointment to the prestigious Order of Merit.

Since it was founded in 1902 by King Edward VII, there have been only 169 members. Mr. Chrétien joins former South African leader Nelson Mandela and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who are current members. Florence Nightingale was a member, as were T.S. Eliot, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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