Postmedia meets with mayors about Sun Media acquisition
By Carys Mills
Postmedia is holding meetings with mayors across Canada to explain the company’s plans to buy Sun Media’s English newspapers.
While the acquisition still needs approval from the Competition Bureau at the federal level, Postmedia has been holding and planning municipal and provincial meetings to explain the company’s plans.
Many Canadian municipalities don’t have public lobbying registries to detail meetings between politicians and companies.
But the City of Ottawa has one. It shows that a lobbyist emailed Mayor Jim Watson’s chief of staff on Oct. 9, just days after the acquisition was announced. After some correspondence, a Nov. 3 meeting was held with Watson, the lobbyist and Postmedia CEO and president Paul Godfrey, said Watson’s press secretary Brook Simpson.
“The merger has the potential to affect a number of Ottawa residents and Ottawa’s media landscape and they wished to explain the changes in person to Mayor Watson as a courtesy,” Simpson said in an email.
Ottawa has a Postmedia newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen, and a Sun Media newspaper, The Ottawa Sun.
Postmedia spokeswoman Stephanie Woods said such meetings have also been held with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton mayor Don Iveson. Both cities are home to Postmedia and Sun Media newspapers.
“As is our usual practice, we will continue courtesy meetings with community leaders where Postmedia has newspapers,” Woods said in an email.
She said holding courtesy meetings with provincial and municipal officials, is “fairly common practice in transactions like this.”
A registration was filed with Ontario’s provincial lobbyist registry on Nov. 7 regarding the acquisition. The registration said Postmedia wants to hold meetings, presentations and otherwise communicate with MPPs, four ministries, the Office of the Premier and Cabinet Office and the Treasury Board Secretariat.