Peladeau insists that the $3.4-billion deal would result in BCE's Bell Media division owning more than a 100 TV stations and nearly 90 TV channels across the country, pushing it above the 35 per cent limit allowed for English-language television ownership.
"If approved this deal will be a point of no return for the future of telecom and broadcasting in Canada," Peladeau told the CRTC, stressing that "no other Canadian enterprise would be able to compete against the power of Bell."
What Peladeau failed to mention, naturally enough, is that he'd love to be in Cope's shoes, and would only too readily swap Quebecor's 8.4 per cent slice of the market for a share north of 35 per cent, if only he could. Even more disingenuous though, is his views on the future of media in Canada: It's a battleground fraught with uncertainty; the only sure bet is it's a playing field stretching far beyond these borders with much larger combatants.
For his part, Cope is pretty clear that Bell's biggest threat in the days ahead will be posed as much from Apple and Netflix as it will from any local rivals. At stake here is digital dominance, and that's a fight that has long since spread beyond the boundaries of the traditional media players.
Neither of these CEOs need to read the headlines to know newspapers are struggling to survive and radio stations and TV channels are of questionable relevance in an era of iTunes and YouTube. It's Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter that represent the real threat, steadily chipping away at a market share based on traditional mediums.
That's why Cope is bulking up, investing billions to buy Astral, betting that content will continue to be king, and that the company will find new ways to serve it up as technologies unfold. And that's why Peladeau wants to block his path. This battle has nothing to do with the interests of consumers, or the maintenance of an even playing field in Canada. The issue is who's going to be best placed to battle that barbarians that have long since slipped across the border.