Leonard Asper speaks about the demise of Canwest

Leonard Asper, left, speaks to the Winnipeg Free Press’ Geoff Kirbyson.

A funny thing happened during my Michener-Deacon research in Manitoba. Leonard Asper, CEO of failed Canwest stopped by the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe to talk about the end of the company. I decided to pause academic research and live tweet it.

(Full disclosure: My newsroom, The Ottawa Citizen, was once owned by Canwest)
Leonard Asper was interviewed by the Free Press’ Geoff Kirbyson.


He began by dropping a bit of a bombshell, providing insight into the company’s goings on a decade ago.

Asper is at the News Cafe to talk about the end of Canwest, and his new venture fightnetwork.com
The Free Press’ Geoff Kirbyson makes a crack about starting Fight Club after Canwest, but Asper misses it.
Getting serious, Asper reflects on Canwest’s bankruptcy, and the people who lost employment.
Kirbyson asks Asper the first moment he saw signs of trouble.
The News Cafe is a different beast. This is no studio audience.
Dan Lett, political columnist the Free Press who co-ordinates content at the News Cafe, isn’t surprised by this.
Asper blames the banks for Canwest’s undoing.
Kirbyson asked Asper if he would have done anything differently to save Canwest.
There wasn’t a bank to bail Asper out, which was flailing in loan repayments.
Kirbyson asked Asper what many have wondered: how does a son feel about being at the top of a dynasty his father created, and watching it collapse?
Again, at the News Cafe, anything goes… reporters find themselves under as much scrutiny as the interviewee. Remember, Kirbyson is not a studio interviewer. He’s a reporter doing his job as he would everyday in the Free Press newsroom – but in front of cameras and a live webcast.
That leaves him open to being heckled.
(I disagee. I thought it was a good question.)
Kirbyson asked Asper if buying the newspaper chain led to Canwest’s undoing.
Kirbyson asked him to reflect on the legacy of Canwest.
Kirbyson asked Asper what he saw as the future for media.
After the interview, Asper sits down with Geoff Kirbyson at the Free Press News Cafe for a sandwich.

2 thoughts on “Leonard Asper speaks about the demise of Canwest

  1. I’m one of the pressmen from the Edmonton Journal that just lost my job and now it is happening to Calgary and Vancouver.
    Leonard has no one to blame but himself. After his dad died he drove that company into the ground. He is not a business guy. He is a magot!!!

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