OTTAWA, Jan. 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Sun News Network, Canada’s upstart conservative-leaning news channel, is making what it calls a “do or die” application to the country’s broadcast regulator for mandatory inclusion in basic cable packages, and is urging pro-life and pro-family advocates to get behind them. 

The channel, which heralded something of a breakthrough for Canada’s social conservatives into mainstream media when it launched in April 2011, has applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for a “mandatory carriage” license. Such a license would help it get off the ground with greater recognition and a better spot on the dial.

The network, owned by Quebecor Inc., says it is only reaching about four out of ten homes right now with losses growing to $17 million a year.

“Sun News is the strongest voice for the pro-life cause on television in Canada. Bar none,” Byline host Brian Lilley told LifeSiteNews. “We have Alissa Golob on the air, Stephanie Gray, Andrea Mrozek, Lila Rose and other pro-lifers. We've also given extensive coverage to the march.”

“We welcome the other side of the debate as well because that is what we do, but no one on television in this country gives as much airtime to pro-lifers. We shouldn't let that voice be silenced,” he added.

The network points out that foreign channels like CNN are part of the basic package, while the Sun News Network which offers 96 hours a week of original Canadian news content is not. They say they need the license to level the playing field with their main competitors, CTV News Channel and CBC News Network, which each got off the ground with the same license. They are asking the CRTC for 18 cents per subscriber, far lower than the 63 cents given to CBC.

"We are asking for the same type of licence that CTV and CBC had for 13 and 21 years respectively for their news channels," said Kory Teneycke, Sun News’ vice president. "We think this is a reasonable request and that it is in the interests of all Canadians."

On Tuesday, they launched a campaign asking supporters to sign a petition at CanadianTVFirst.ca to call on the CRTC to accept their application.

“The CRTC has a very small window for Canadians to register their support or opposition to an application,” Teneycke told LifeSiteNews. “In our case the public comment period closes on February 20th.  We need to demonstrate a groundswell of support for Sun News, and the readers of LifeSiteNews can help.”

The network has made enemies from the beginning by taking on the mainstream media establishment, which has consistently opposed the pro-life movement over many decades. Lilley himself authored a book this year calling on the federal government to cut off funding to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Two of its on-air personalities, Brian Lilley and Michael Coren, are unapologetic pro-life advocates, and others, such as Charles Adler and Ezra Levant, have also taken on abortion and criticized the censorship of the pro-life voice.

Since October, Coren, who hosts The Arena, has featured a weekly segment on Mondays called The Moral Maze with leaders from Campaign Life Coalition.

“It’s refreshing to see another point of view rather than the same old staid things,” said Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition. “It’s a whole refreshing line up of programs and interviewers and I very much like it. I don’t always agree with everything I see, but it’s refreshingly Canadian.”

To support Sun News Network’s application to the CRTC, visit CanadianTVFirst.ca.

To make a submission to the CRTC on behalf of Sun News's application, write to:

CRTC
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2
 
The letter must cite the reference number in the body (2012-0687-1), and begin or end with one of two statements:
 
1. I request to appear at the public hearing.
2. I do not want to appear at the public hearing.