May 28, 2021
The publisher who pushed the feds for newspaper bailout cash received more than $6 million in federal help in 2019, part of a $595 million package the Liberals doled out, says Blacklock’s Reporter.
The taxpayers’ cash was equivalent to more than half of net income for FP Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and Brandon Sun.
“Despite the fact the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unpredictable, we continue to identify and undertake cost reduction initiatives in an effort to address the underlying revenue declines in the legacy print business,” managers wrote in Financial Statements.
Bob Cox, publisher of the Free Press, successfully lobbied for a $595 million media bailout for all Canadian dailies two years ago as chair of News Media Canada, a publishers’ trade group.
“These measures have been called a bailout by some,” Cox said in 2019 testimony at the Commons finance committee.
“I would suggest this crowd knows very little about the business of operating a newspaper.”
FP Newspapers received $5,382,999 in pandemic wage subsidies last year and $822,000 in media payroll rebates under the Income Tax Act. The federal grants totaling $6,204,000 were the equivalent of 54% of the company’s net income for the year, $11.4 million.
Cox earlier assured MPs subsidies must be temporary.