"Fox News North" hits Canadian airwaves today (just in time for the election)

Driving force behind Sun News Network is former Conservative spin meister Kory Teneycke, pictured here.

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TORONTO -- The right-wing Sun News Network launches across Canada today with a promise of "hard news and straight talk.'' But critics aren't sure that's the whole agenda.

Dubbed "Fox News North'' by those concerned about its political slant, the TV station's on-air personalities include conservative pundit Ezra Levant and Winnipeg-based talk-radio host Charles Adler.

Network officials say the new venture will balance what they see as a "lefty bias'' in traditional media. Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau has also argued that other Canadian news networks are boring and are driving viewers to U.S. network CNN.

One of the driving forces behind the Sun News Network's agenda is former Tory spin doctor Kory Teneycke, who -- echoing a phrase made famous by U.S. Republican politician Sarah Palin -- has frequently derided the "lame-stream'' media.

Set to launch at 1:30 p.m. PST, the new network is still negotiating access to the air across the country.

It's just negotiated a free six-month window on Shaw cable and the Quebecor-owned Videotron cable systems. No deal is in place yet with Rogers, but many in Ontario will be able to view Sun News on the old Sun TV channel.

Along with its right-wing slant, the Sun News Network is expected to contain a unique Quebec flavour and a sexy news marketing strategy.

Anchor Krista Erickson was featured on the front of Monday's Toronto Sun newspaper, with a teaser announcing that she was photographed as the day's Sunshine Girl inside.

When the network was first announced, it was met with some high-profile disapproval critics who argued that it would bring a divisive, American-style tone to Canadian news broadcasts and political debate. Among the critics are writer Margaret Atwood and retired CBC newsman Don Newman, who predicted that the network would spell the end of Canadian journalism.

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