Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pierre-Karl Péladeau Finally Stumbles

Pierre-Karl Péladeau's meteoric ascension to the top of the Quebec and Canadian media establishment, taking a failing print based company and turning it into a media powerhouse, is stuff business legends are made of. Read my post about his rise 

After a rough start at the helm, Péladeau in a defining moment, locked out journalists at his flagship newspaper Le Journal de Montreal, claiming that the newspaperman were lazy fat cats, earning too much and producing too little. The lockout has lasted for a year and a half but hasn't put a dent in the conception, production and distribution of the newspaper. Using a loophole in the labour legislation, that forbids scabs from crossing a picket line, the newspaper hired outside agencies to produce content and then submit it via the Internet.
The hapless and stubborn journalists remain locked out, likely never to return!

A month ago, with much fanfare and showmanship, Péladeau announced  that he was launching a cellular service to compete with the big boys, Bell, Telus and Rogers.
He manged to secure a whole morning's worth of free coverage on both of Quebec's television all-news channels where he smoothly played the nationalism card to hawk his product with the help of fawning reporters, to an eager audience, thrilled to see one of their own take on the establishment.
Promising that his new company would generate funds to support Quebec artists, he used phrases like 'winning conditions' and 'pride' to describe his entry into cellular, nakedly stroking the Quebecois ego.  Well-played!

His steely-jawed determination and his forceful personality has driven him to one success after the other and Quebeckers, always on the lookout for a local Francophone hero, have taken notice.
Married to Julie Snyder, a popular and omnipresent television presenter, the power couple has become the darlings of both the gossip and business pages. 

Péladeau's latest project is also controversial, the launch of the conservative cable news channel SUNTV News a project that has got the hackles of liberals up, who have sarcastically dubbed it FoxNews North.

You'd think that Péladeau would be inured to the barbs of the media and be able to brush criticism aside, but it seems by his recent action in suing a CBC executive for defamation, he's exposed himself as remarkably thin skinned.
Out of anger, rage or a desire to send a message that he's not to be trifled with, Péladeau sued a CBC executive for defamation after he was characterized  as a 'VOYOU'(hoodlum) in several interviews, over Péladeau's decision to unilaterally stop paying into the  Canadian Television Fund, an important source of income for the CBC.

The whole suing affair has degenerated into a circus with Péladeau and his wife looking rather foolish.

Perhaps Péladeau should have taken a lesson from Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon's vice-president who taunted the press, only to be mercilessly attacked in return by the press and ultimately driven out of  office. LINK

The judge who was assigned to adjudicate the affair at trial wasn't too impressed with the case and made his feelings quite clear on the first day.

I could imagine Péladeau's lawyer's stomach turning as he realized that his case was likely headed to the toilet, even before the first witness was presented!
When Julie Snyder tearfully described how hurtful the accusation was to her family, the press couldn't resist chuckling at her fine performance. Boohoo!

Last week the judge, Claude Larouche, came to court in a furious snit, brandishing a magazine in his hand that featured a front page story on Péladeau and accusing the mogul of placing news stories to further his case. YIKES!

Lawyers for both sides sat in stunned silence, wondering who'd be the first to explain to the judge that  both magazines La Semaine and L'actualité were issued by competitors and both articles were not particularly flattering.

In fact one of the articles pummeled Péladeau by printing a spread, seeking reader opinions as to whether they actually believed that Péladeau was a 'VOYOU,' a device clearly meant to further propagate the alleged slur and punish  Péladeau for his actions.  Great Fun!!

Lawyers for Péladeau were forced to call the editors of the two magazines into court to explain the facts of life to the judge who remained unimpressed.

The latest news is that the judge refused a request by Péladeau's chief lawyer for a delay in the trial so that he could attend his sister's sudden death in Ontario. The judge ordered the trial to continue with the second chair pleading the case.

Péladeau's enraged legal team saw their opportunity to abandon the sinking trial and made an application that the judge recuse himself for his actions.

The none to pleased judge ruled yesterday that he wouldn't recuse himself.
Looks Like PKP is headed for a very public and embarrassing defeat.

For Péladeau it's 'In for a penny, in for a pound' and even if he loses the case, can an appeal be far away?

The case is somewhat disturbing, as it seems to be setting a nasty precedent for the rich and powerful to sue those who call them names in public.

Premier Charest is rumbling that he's considered suing Action democratique du Quebec leader Gerard Deltell for calling him the 'Godfather of the Liberal party," a pretty clever jibe, one would have to admit. LINK

Perhaps the Premier should take note of the case between Vic Cotroni and Maclean's  back in the sixties where the reputed mobster took offense at being called the 'Godfather of Montreal' and sued the magazine for $1.5 million.
"The judge however concluded that Cotroni's reputation was tainted and awarded just an insulting $2, a dollar for the English version and a dollar for the French version." LINK
Can the Premier do much better?

Me, I hope Péladeau wins and justice repeats itself. With inflation, maybe he'll be awarded a sawbuck!

Stay tuned!


  1. Mississauga Guy said...

    The father was a rabid anti-Semite, and if you think he and his wife Snyder the sniveler are a "power couple", they're big fish in a small pond. Put them in with the rest of Canada, and they're dwarfed next to (Jewish couple) Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz and the Thompsons.

    While it was inappropriate for the judge to not let the primary lawyer attend his sister's funeral without a recess, I hope this judge and the next one take a hatchet to Péladeau and cut him to bits. The father was an obnoxious piece of shit of a bigot, and I have zero sympathy for his yutzy son too!

  2. Editor,

    Last time you wrote that I was being pedantic. However, this time you write something that is factually false. Please correct it.

    "Married to Julie Snyder..."

  3. This has nothing to do with nothing. Just thought it was funny.


  4. This is also off topic but there is yet another article in Macleans magazine about corruption in Quebec. Here is the link:



    (A "météore" in French also means a top hat, according to the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé-)

    Just for the records here is my presentation of Pierre Péladeau, publisher. His father, Henri, won and lost several fortunes as a lumber merchant, but died leaving the family in debt.

    == Pierre studied philosophy at Université de Montréal and law at McGill University. After graduating from McGill University (1950), his first ventures were a number of neighbourhood weeklies specializing in entertainment news.He later expanded into French-language copies of American tabloids and in 1964 founded the daily Le Journal de Montréal, which grew to become the second largest circulating newspaper in the country. He later added Le Journal de Québec.

    == His empire expanded into QUEBECOR, the major newspaper chain in Québec which owns, in addition to dailies in Montréal, Québec and Winnipeg, weeklies, magazines, printing plants and book-publication and film development divisions. Péladeau was also a director of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. He was named the first Chancellor of St Anne University in Nova Scotia in 1988, also was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987, and the Order of Québec in 1989 and was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1997.

    Let's not forget Pierre Peladeau suffered a lot like many famous people that have/had bipolar/manic depression. Generally speaking, these people are very talented, and live very productive lives. Many of these people contributed so much to society that there is no doubt in my mind that without them the world would not be the same place.

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  7. They are nothing but puveyors of rightwing, dumb down, low brow carnival tabloids. If I chance come across a cafe copy of one of their rags, no better coffee blotter can be found. Pitty the people of Quebec to have them in their midst, and the rest of us.