Competition Bureau searches Postmedia and Torstar offices in probe of newspaper deal

Competition Bureau officials executed search warrants at the Toronto-area headquarters of Postmedia and Torstar on Monday, part of an investigation into a deal between the companies last November that saw them swap more than 40 newspapers and then shut them down.

Competition Bureau commissioner John Pecman confirmed a Globe and Mail report early Monday that the bureau searched the offices of the companies involved, and that the search warrants were related to the bureau’s investigation of November’s deal.

“In response to news reports and questions from the media, I can confirm that the Competition Bureau is investigating alleged anti-competitive conduct contrary to the conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act,” Pecman said.

“Investigators with the bureau are currently gathering evidence to determine the facts relating to the alleged conspiracy. There is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time and no charges have been laid.”

In the November deal, Postmedia announced that it had obtained about two dozen regional community newspapers across Ontario, for no cash cost. In exchange, Postmedia handed over the reins to almost as many other community papers to Toronto Star.

Following the deal, both companies announced that most of the acquired newspapers would be shut down, which resulted in the loss of almost 300 jobs across the two chains.

In a statement Monday, Postmedia defended itself.

“Postmedia is strongly of the view that there has been no contravention of the Competition Act with respect to this matter and Postmedia is co-operating with the Competition Bureau in connection with their investigation.”

Torstar told The Canadian Press that officials visited its corporate offices to seek more information about the deal in which 41 newspapers changed hands and 36 were closed.

They said they would be voluntarily providing the bureau with additional documents on the deal.

Montreal’s long-awaited Blue line extension could soon, finally, be a reality. Here’s why

The much-discussed, long-awaited extension of the Metro’s Blue line could finally be closer to becoming a reality.

You’ve probably heard that before (it’s an idea that’s been bandied about since 1979), but there’s reason to believe this time it may actually happen.

Here are a few reasons why.

For one, Quebec Transport Minister André Fortin promised it will be “one of the next major announcements” of the Couillard government, which is preparing for a fall election.

“We are working with the federal government to ensure the funding formula,” Fortin said Wednesday at a news conference detailing the Transport Ministry’s upcoming investments on the island of Montreal.

The federal government, meanwhile, is rolling out the second phase of its flagship infrastructure plan, worth $33 billion. Ottawa is hoping to sign new funding agreements with the provinces by the end of the month.

The types of projects that will qualify, and the percentage each level of government will contribute, still has to be determined, but all signs point to the province and the city making the project a priority in its discussions with Ottawa.


In January, at his first official meeting in Montreal with Mayor Valérie Plante, Premier Philippe Couillard spoke of Quebec’s “unwavering commitment” to the the Blue line extension.

As well, Quebec now has several properties on reserve for expropriation along Jean-Talon Street, between Pie-IX and des Galeries d’Anjou boulevards.

The reserves expire in April — and legally, cannot be renewed.

“We are truly going to find out in April 2018 whether this Metro goes ahead or not,” Frank Cavaleri, owner of a building at the corner of Jean-Talon and Lacordaire boulevards which houses a Pharmaprix and a medical clinic, told CBC News earlier this year.

The extension would include five new stations in Montreal’s east end, extending all the way to Anjou.