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Why Is Public Money Paying For The Right-Wing Hate And Misinformation Of Eric Duhaime?

Tuesday 11 June 2013, by Michel LAMBERT

Eric Duhaime and his hatred of anything close to the notion of common good is all over the place. On Sun News, Radio X, TVA, and several blogs, we see, hear or read him bashing community groups, women’s associations, labour or students organizations.

Wherever the privileges of a wealthy minority are to be defended, Eric Duhaime, with support from one of the most amazing machines of media propaganda — Quebecor Media — goes on a war footing to attack and ridicule all social struggles, defending the rich and sadly, promoting the most pathetic individualism.

That the rich and famous who share his intolerant and dogmatic opinions pay the high cost of this publicity is already barely appropriate, but it all becomes completely unacceptable when one finally realizes that this fanatical bitterness, with which the vast majority of Canadians disagree, is actually being funded through our taxes. What if we said ’Enough’?

Ecologist 0.0

Opportunistic as he clearly is, Eric Duhaime has recently started talking against ecology. He now takes advantage of the current debates around tar sands to promote, without any nuance that would indicate an independent point of view, the position of an already billionaire oil sector. That very oil sector which is hugely funded through our taxes by Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government. That climate change is reaching an irreversible level does not bother them; that the exploitation of Alberta’s oil is in itself the most polluting project on the planet has no effect on them; and that Quebec and Canada now have the means and the abilities to move towards sustainable energy, they do not care.

On this issue, as on all others, Eric Duhaime has no character. He is just a puppet of Quebecor Media serving their interests. And for them, any person or group, asserting a different position, must be rejected, discredited, insulted, vilified, attacked. Young people who have recently received court injunctions for serving Duhaime and his employers of Radio X their own medicine are well aware of that.

Judge and executioner

Recently, Eric Duhaime published in the Toronto Sun his annual classic of insults-packed-with-lies about Alternatives and, in particular, our Festival of Solidarity. In his sterile palaver he claims that Alternatives received money from the Canadian government for their Festival, but "unfortunately," we did not! And as for the contribution from the Solidarity Fund for the festival, it amounts to 0.5 per cent of the education budget of our organization.

Here, as any classic right-wing commentator does, misinformation is used. Duhaime is judge and executioner at the same time. He constructs an argument based on lies about federal government funding and then berates those who would have given it. And in this way, an action that aims to bring policies for sustainable development for future generations, even if supported by thousands of citizens, becomes illegitimate. This is a very basic and dangerous Harper government approach, which implies that each and every tax dollar must be used to support the point of view and policy of the Conservative Party of Canada!

Who pays for the venom of Eric Duhaime?

What is really ironic and disturbing at the same time is that, unlike us, Eric Duhaime’s Sun News and Quebecor Media are hugely funded by our tax money. And we are talking about millions of dollars!

For instance, the financial statements of Groupe TVA (ended December 31, 2012) are very clear about the fact that the company receives large amounts of subsidy and tax credit (the latter given by the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles - SODEC ) for the production and distribution of content.

In 2010-2011, TVA indeed received a total of $3.9 million from the Canada Fund for periodicals. Then there is the Fund for the improvement of local programming, the program supporting television productions, and MANY others. They have received significant sums in contributions from the Media Fund, a public-private partnership where Ottawa contributes 40 per cent, and pays each year, large sums to broadcasters like TVA and Sun News. TVA alone received $18.5 million in 2010-2011.

In an article published in the Journal des alternatives in November 2011, Emilia-Couture Briere recalled a revealing story about the CEO of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Peladeau, who has never hidden the importance of government subsidies to the company. On June 14, 2010, in a letter to the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, he threatened to sue the federal government if it did not change the eligibility criteria for the Canada Media Fund, so that shows like Star Academy receive subsidies.

A hate generating business supported by public funds

Eric Duhaime is a radical right-wing extremist backed by a company with its ramifications milking the public coffers. Their efforts preventing us from getting support from the state or from labour organizations is in itself unacceptable. That he expresses his reactionary positions on the economy, politics and society in forums that share his point of view is one thing. That we the citizens fund corporate hatred against people’s rights and social movements is completely unacceptable!

Neither Pierre-Karl Peladeau, nor Steven Harper returned our calls as to why they support Eric Duhaime.