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!
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." LINKCan the Premier do much better?
Me, I hope Péladeau wins and justice repeats itself. With inflation, maybe he'll be awarded a sawbuck!