Quebecor is disappointed by Bell Canada’s decision to engage in multiple delaying and diversionary tactics instead of responding to the CRTC’s and Quebecor’s call to negotiate in the matter of the fair value of TVA’s specialty channels. Bell’s claim for $150 million in damages from Quebecor, filed yesterday, is yet another maneuver to evade the substantive issue, which is the survival of specialty channels in Québec and Bell’s obsolete historical privileges. The former monopoly’s conduct is an unfortunate demonstration of its persistent refusal to negotiate the subscription fees for TVA’s specialty channels.
Bell’s legal action appears designed to silence Quebecor. Bell’s allegations are shameful and abusive, both with respect to the exorbitant amounts claimed and the attempt to deprive Quebecor of its fundamental constitutional right to free speech. Québec Superior Court has already ruled on Bell’s demand that TVA’s advertising campaign cease, which it dismissed on April 15. Quebecor intends to vigorously defend its rights in court.