ontario news watch

Conservative motion, backed by NDP, produced $40M in regulatory relief for Bell

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is rejecting the idea that his party played a role in granting $40 million in regulatory relief to Bell Media. 

Conservative and NDP MPs backed a 2022 amendment to the Online Streaming Act, opposed by the governing Liberals, that allowed Canada’s private broadcasters to save about $120 million a year in regulatory fees.

Bell’s share of those savings was $40 million — the precise total of annual operating losses the broadcaster’s parent, BCE Inc., cited when it slashed 4,800 jobs last week. 

But Poilievre is now blaming Justin Trudeau for those cuts, calling on the prime minister to claw back some of his government’s federal grants to media companies.

When asked about the disconnect, the Conservative leader would only say that providing tax dollars to media outlets fuels biased, Liberal-friendly coverage.

The June 2022 motion, introduced by Conservative MP John Nater, passed with the support of New Democrats and Bloc Québécois MPs on the House of Commons Heritage committee.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024. 

The Canadian Press