The sickness that is enveloping Canada's local television sector is causing concern for the well-being of one of Stephen Harper's chief electoral strategies - that of going over the national media's head to move his party up in the polls.
Sources say members of the PMO are becoming worried the tactic used by Mr. Harper to aim his message directly at local voters is threatened by the economic difficulties faced by the stations. On Wednesday, CTV announced it would close two Ontario stations in Windsor and Wingham rather than continue to absorb financial losses in those communities.
"Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office are well aware of the importance to politics of private local television," a senior Tory told The Globe and Mail yesterday. "The government is very concerned of the closure of conventional television stations owned by CTV and Canwest, in particular."
Might we hear "Bailout!" sometime soon? And if not, might we espy - provided we can access the information - some underhanded government machinations designed to rescue CanWest from its own ineptitude?
Other CanWest stations on the chopping block include Victoria and Kelowna (BC), Red Deer (AB), Montreal and Hamilton.
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