Seven Things you can do to Stick it to Sun News

Let us name Sun News Network for what it truly is: a sensationalist tabloid broadcast channel, the sole intent of which is to illicit reaction, drive traffic to an advertiser-supported website and increase profit to support poorly researched, melodramatic “news.”

As artists, supporters of the arts, and Canadians who enjoy living in a culturally diverse and rich nation, it is our responsibility to not only arm ourselves with the correct facts, but also share those facts with the watchdogs, politicians and public able to shape change.

Want to make a difference? Here are seven things you can do today to stick it to Sun News:

1. Arm yourself with the correct facts. The most recent Sun News report attacked Edmonton Arts Habitat Association for “feeding off” government funds – funds Sun News feels should rather support reducing crime rates.

Here’s the truth:

Arts Habitat applicants must be recognized, practicing artists or non-profit arts professionals with a gross annual income of less than $29,797 for one person. Monthly estimated housing charges are $775 per month, excluding power, telephone and cable. Each household must purchase $2,000 in member shares, $500 of which must be paid upon membership approval. By no means is this housing “free.” Read more.

The community in question is undergoing vast revitalization to address crime by reclaiming 118 Avenue as a drug and weapon free zone. This effort is being met by community members, local businesses, local arts organizations and the Edmonton Police Service together in a unified movement to restore a sense of safety and community.

Arts on the Ave

We believe in 118
Edmonton Police Service Neighborhood Empowerment Team
Alberta Avenue Business Association

Arts play a vital role in building and sustaining community. Here are just a few key statistics on Arts in Canada (via Arts Vote Toolkit – Key Statistics on Arts and Culture, Canadian Conference of the Arts):

The arts and culture sector contributed $85 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2007 (7.4% of Canada’s real GDP). SOURCE: Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy, Conference Board of Canada, 2008

The cultural sector generated approximately $25 billion in taxes for all levels of government in 2007. This is more than three times higher than the $7.9 billion that was spent on culture by all levels of government in 2007. SOURCE: Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy, Conference Board of Canada, 2008

The cultural sector has about 600,000 workers, which is about double the level of employment in the forestry sector in Canada (300,000) and more than double the level of employment in Canadian banks (257,000). SOURCE: A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada : Based on the 2006 Census, Hill Strategies Research, 2009

In 2005, two thirds of Canadians read a book (66.6%), one in two attended a performance by professional artists or a cultural festival (48.8%), and one in four visited an art gallery (26.7%). SOURCE: General Social Survey, Statistics Canada, 2005

In 2008, Canadians spent more than twice as much on live performing arts ($1.4 billion) than on sports events ($0.65 billion). SOURCE: Survey of Household Spending, Statistics Canada, 2008

The arts are important for personal health and well-being, having an impact on personal confidence, sense of control, social connectedness, education, and ensuring supportive physical environments. SOURCE: Arts and Culture in Medicine and Health: Survey Research Paper, Cooley & Associates, 2003

Other key statistics on the arts in Canada: SOURCE Canada Council for the Arts.

2. Tell your city you support what they are doing to make Edmonton a vibrant and culturally diverse city to live, work and play in.

Write Mayor Mandel

Write City Council

Write the Edmonton Arts Council

3. Share your opinion. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is an organization created to administer standards created by Canada’s private broadcasters. As a viewer, you are entitled to report something which concerns you. The CBSC asks you first file your complaint with the network in question. Unfortunately, Sun News only offers a standard contact form, and no email address, mailing address or contact telephone number. If inaccurate reporting concerns you, please take the time to fill out the CBSC complaint form, citing lack of contact information on behalf of Sun News as one of your reasons for filing a complaint.

4. Share your opinion again. When Sun News interviewed Margie Gillis on Canada Live, the CBSC was overwhelmed with complaints, so much so the volume of complaints exceeded the Council’s resources. Keep telling them why this sort of “news” undermines journalistic integrity.

5. Sun News isn’t worth watching. Nor is the website worth visiting. Boycott Sun News whenever possible. According to an article published by The Wire in April, 2011, Sun News Media ratings have dropped by the thousands since its launch.  Ezra Levant – the journalist responsible for this most recent un-reporting – reaches less than 19,000 viewers per week. Compare this to CBC News Network’s 263,000 and CNN’s 38,000 viewers.

6. While you’re at it, why not write a letter to Sun News advertisers explaining why you choose not to purchase their product? Advertisers will follow market dollars. Some online advertisers include: Subway, Free Credit Reports Canada, Capital One (,, West Jet, and Home Depot (

7. Write to your Member of Parliament. Artists, arts supporters and Canadians who enjoy living in a culturally diverse and rich nation vote. Good politicians should care about your vote. Ask your member of parliament what he or she is doing to protect journalistic integrity. Once you’ve done that, see point 4.

We are in this together and we are capable of shaping change.


Please note: the author of this post has chosen not to link to Sun News Media in an effort to boycott Sun News Media and its supporters. Thank you.


About mlhart

A professional writer and communications advisor by trade, M.L. H'art is a striving creative writer, a well-practiced day dreamer, an ambitious procrastinator, a creative star-gazer, a music afficiando, a devourer of books, an art appreciator, a people watcher, a relentless perfectionist...
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8 Responses to Seven Things you can do to Stick it to Sun News

  1. hate breeds hate says:

    clearly the answer to crime… is more cops…

  2. skaistalelde says:

    interviewer of Margie G was raised by wolves!

  3. Don Eglinski says:

    The division of people that value extrinsic rewards (Sun News, conservatives) versus those who would see their communities bettered through the intrinsic rewards of the arts and social good. These video clips made me ill. I will be writing Sun News’s advertisers.

  4. MC says:

    I wrote to Sun News, and told them how factually bankrupt their “Art Habitat” piece was… but I got no response.

    Then I wrote to the CBSC about it, and they did respond. “The CBSC will acknowledge receipt of your complaint and forward a copy to the broadcaster in question, asking that it respond to your concerns. If you have provided sufficient information about the programming that offended you (the time and date of the broadcast and the name or call letters of the station), you will be provided with a Ruling Request form which you can return to the CBSC if you are unsatisfied with the broadcaster’s response. Please note that it is only upon receipt of a Ruling Request form that the CBSC will begin its substantive review of any given matter. ”

    Also, I wrote Home Depot, and told them I would no longer be spending thousands of dollars on equipment and supplies at their stores, due to their financial support of Sun News. I await their response.

    Thanks for the information, and links… very useful.

  5. george lenard says:

    Asking Tony Clement what his is going to do about journalistic integrity, would be like asking the kettle why the pot is hot!

  6. nadinelumley says:

    Who Killed Canada
    Media Ownership and the Radical Right in Canada

    Part 1, 2 & 3. Note: each video about 10 minutes long

    No time for video? Read review instead:

    Mr. Hurtig begins by discussing the Canadian media and how we now have the greatest concentration of media in the western world. In fact, he states this would simply not be allowed in any other western democracy.

    And since these same media outlets control newspaper, television and radio news; we are essentially only being given one voice. There are few or no alternative views. As stated in the video, a healthy democracy should foster a healthy and independent news media.

  7. nadinelumley says:

    You no longer have reporters, you have repeaters.

    The new game began in Canada on Aug. 27, 1980. “Black Wednesday”, as it became known, was the day newspaper corporations across the country colluded to swap properties and kill competition. The Ottawa Journal and the Winnipeg Tribune folded, and Vancouver Province’s owner, Southam, bought the Vancouver Sun. The two had been in bed together since 1950s via a press-and-profit-sharing agreement at Pacific Press that killed the third paper and defended against upstarts.

    Suddenly competition for readers was no longer necessary; these publicly traded corporations now focused on advertiser-pleasing copy as the technique for pulling more ads.

    At least Postmedia has an understandable reason for changing standards: they’re legally obligated to maximize profits. But the fact that the commercial-free public broadcaster also ignores the public good suggests that there is a new definition of journalism.

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