I remember seeing Izzy Asper in person for the first time at a luncheon in Ottawa a couple of years back.He was alone, unassuming, drawing on a cigarette in the hallway of the Chateau Laurier, where his friend U.S. Senator John McCain was giving a speech.
It was funny company for a staunch Liberal. McCain, the former Vietnam POW and short-lived Republican presidential candidate, isn't exactly a progressive politician.
But while Asper may be a well-known Liberal, as the long-winded Conrad Black pointed out earlier this week, at least he's not a lefty Liberal.
No, he's a businessman. So I'm reserving my judgment of Asper.
A media mogul who gives Liberal policies like social service and tax cuts the soft touch won't be any better than the one with a crush on Margaret Thatcher.
And I'm getting tired of bringing up the fact that this type of deal only exacerbates the concentration of the news media.
The situation is only going to get worse in this country.
Those lefty Liberals certainly aren't lining up to stop the show. No, they must be dancing a jig in the PMO at the notion of one of their own putting an end to Black's coast-to-coast anti-Chretien reign of terror.
We can only hope that Asper will be a kinder, gentler media mogul, that he'll be hands-off, that he'll respect the unions and allow for a wider range of opinions in his newspapers.
That, folks, is the best-case scenario for now.
The next big act in this quest for world media domination will likely involve some Yank conglomerate like AOL/Time-Warner knocking down our door and buying up everything in sight. And suddenly, Conrad Black will seem like the good old days of the Canadian newspaper biz.