Judge orders Trudeau government-appointed commission to give access to journalists banned from debates
A federal court judge ordered Trudeau-government appointed Leaders’ Debate Commission to give journalist accreditation to conservative reporters who were previously barred from covering the “official” leaders’ debates, the English one taking place on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.
The judge agreed with the legal counsel of right-wing news outlets Rebel Media and True North that they had established the outlets would face “irreparable harm” if the commission’s rejection of their applications for media passes stood.
The Post Millennial can confirm there is now a signed court order that requires the commission to give accreditation to Andrew Lawton of True North, as well as David Menzies and Keean Bexte of Rebel Media, journalist accreditation to the debate this evening, as well as the French one.
“I’m delighted that the judge granted the application,” said Rebel Media founder and self-described commander Ezra Levant said to The Post Millennial after the hearing. “It was a very high standard [the judge] said was met. You don’t get an emergency injunction easily.
Summit Management Office of Global Affairs and the Parliamentary Press Gallery advised the commission on which journalists and outlets to give accreditation to, eventually the commission only denied True North, The Rebel and two other unnamed outlets.
Justice Russel Zinn questioned the commission’s lawyers why in the one affidavit the Parliamentary Press Gallery president claimed he decided the two outlets practiced advocacy.
The lawyers for True North and The Rebel argued other outlets such as the Toronto Star also practice advocacy and that some of their journalists tell readers to vote for the Liberals. They also pointed out that the Toronto Star‘s Atkinson Principles tells it journalists to be social justice advocates.
“I think that justice was delivered,” said True North founder and Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm. “We were up against the odds, we we’re going up against the state. And they had their high-priced lawyers, a team of them, they’d been trying to intimidate us all weekend by asking for over-the-top ridiculous things… What the judge ruled today really vindicated us as journalists.”
“…This is not abnormal. This is normal. Abnormal was what they tried to do. And abnormal is the absence of any media association — Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, PEN Canada, The Canadian Association of Journalists, in fact their name was invoked against us,” said Levant.
“The true civil libertarians are no longer on the left, in fact if anything they were used against us by the government. This is normal, this is what the Charter is about,” said Levant.
The Post Millennial has previously reported on Justin Trudeau’s Liberal election campaign barring True North‘s Andrew Lawton from getting accreditation to cover Trudeau.
The Leaders’ Debate Commission had argued news outlets True North and The Rebel should not be allowed into the national debate because they have previously acted in what the commission deemed an advocacy role, such as fundraising and petitions.
“I think that the independence of the commission has definitely come into question,” said Malcolm.
“Everyone know what is going on with the Parliamentary Press Gallery. They’re biased. They consider themselves the in-crowd and they are trying to prevent competition and other interesting upstart media companies from coming in with a different perspective, showing a different side of the story, appealing to a different segment of the Canadian population. And they’re trying to act as gatekeepers to stop us, and they failed.”
Critics of the commission’s decision also pointed out how it accredited environmental-focused media outlet the National Observer, which also does fundraising. The Leaders’ Debate Commission also accredited state-sponsored news outlets from Vietnam and Qatar. The commission was founded by the Trudeau government in 2018.
Numerous incidents involving the police and both Rebel and True North journalists made headlines over the past week, as journalists from the conservative, independent outlets tried to do their job on the campaign trail.
Justice Zinn said he would give the reasons for his decision at a later date as the commission barred the news outlets the last business day possible before the first debate, which resulted in the emergency injunction occurring hours before the debate started. He will also consider awarding costs of legal counsel to True North and The Rebel.
“I’m very, very proud with Canada right now,” Levant said shortly after the judge gave his decision.
The commission did not respond to request for comment before publishing.
Full disclosure: The journalist of this report previously contributed to True North on a freelance basis for a six-month period ending in this summer. He also wrote critical coverage of The Rebel in the past for Canadaland.
Senator André Pratte formally announced his resignation from the senate while election results are being broadcasted.
He made his announcement public in a letter published to Twitter.
In his letter, Pratte says that he specifically chose this time to resign, rather than earlier, because he did not want his resignation to impact the election in anyway and so that he did not distract from the campaign
He also says that his 3 ½ years on Senate have shown him that he lacks both the skills and motivation to follow through with the task Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau had given him when he was appointed in 2016.
He says that it is saddening to betray the trust Trudeau had in him, but that it would be a greater betrayal to continue on in a position for which he is unfit.
Andre Pratte is announcing his resignation from the Senate as the federal election results are rolling in.
The Independent senator from Quebec posted his resignation letter on Twitter to explain his decision.
“In any professional journey, there can come a time when we realize that we simply do not have the skills and motivation required to accomplish the task we have been entrusted with,” writes Pratte. “After three and a half years in the Senate of Canada, I have come to this conclusion.
“It saddens me to betray the trust that you [the Right Honourable Julie Payette] and the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, had placed in me. But it would be even more of a betrayal to continue performing a task that I cannot accomplish to the level of excellence expected.”
It’s been nearly 100 years since a party that lost a federal election formed the government.
Since then, the clear political norm in Canada has been that the party with the most seats forms the government. And in most cases, when a leader of a party who was Prime Minister loses power, that leader resigns.
While minority governments often don’t last long, once again the convention has been that the party with the most seats remains in government until they lose a confidence vote, at which case there is a new federal election.
For nearly 100 years, that’s how we’ve done things here in Canada.
But now, the Trudeau Liberals and their media enablers are laying the groundwork for the destruction of those democratic norms, in a bid to remain in power even if they lose.
Let me say this as clear as possible: If the Liberals win fewer seats than the Conservatives, it would be insane, unacceptable, and anti-democratic for the Liberals to remain in power.
Just think about it:
The Liberals went into the election with a majority government. If they not only lose their majority but also lose so many seats that the Conservatives surpass them, then it will be an unmistakable message from the Canadian People that they want Trudeau gone.
For Trudeau to remain in power despite such a rejection from the Canadian People would be a disgrace, and would devastate any remaining faith Canadians have in our national democracy. After all, people would think “what difference does a vote make if you can defeat a government, and then that government stays in power anyway?”
Clearly, there is something very disturbing going on here as the results approach. As pointed out by J.J. McCullough on Twitter, the attempt to normalize the potential of Trudeau’s violation of Canada’s norms is crazy:
“These journalists are all “it’s normal, it’s normal!!” It is absolutely NOT normal. In 150 years of Canadian history, exactly ONE prime minister tried pulling this stunt (in 1925)—and it caused one of the single biggest democratic crises in Canadian political history.”
“I’m sorry—the media’s reporting on this idea that Trudeau doesn’t have to give up power if Scheer wins a minority has been pure propaganda. They never mention what a radical break with 94 years of precedent it would be. They just try to spin something deeply abnormal as normal.”
McCullough is 100 percent correct here. It is not at all normal for Trudeau (or any PM) to try and stay in power after being defeated.
If Trudeau loses and tries to stay in power, it will be anti-democratic, anti-Canadian, and all of us must speak out against it.
Heather Mallick thinks that if you are a young woman in Canada, that means you are vulnerable and need to be told how to think and who to vote for. Writing in The Star, she says: “Careful how you vote in Canada’s federal election on Monday, especially if you’re young and female. You are vulnerable. Think strategically.” She’s playing the game of identity politics by asking young women to come together and vote based on how they fear they may be treated as a group. This is a jarring, striking sentiment, but nowhere in the ensuing article does she back it up.
Instead of letting all young women know exactly how they are in danger, she goes on a tirade about how awful the United States is, how angry Americans all are, and how adept they are with violence. That this kind of violence will encroach on Canada is her fear, but again, she doesn’t back it up. She uses visceral language to play on emotions, instead of driving home facts. Further, she attempts to link Andrew Scheer to Trumpism without any evidence at all. It’s a dirty trick, and it confirms that she really doesn’t think much of her audience (especially the young women).
The kind of language Mallick uses to bemoan Trump and is similar to Trump’s approach to his political rivals. Using methods you condemn when employed by your opposition in order to uphold your own position is completely nonsensical, especially in this case because Trump is, essentially, his tactics.
Why would she caution young women and call them out as particularly vulnerable? Does she think they are not capable of considering all the factors, candidate positions, and making a decision based on those ideas and policy positions?
The goal is to keep young women cowering in fear about a future over which they have no control. It tells them that they should harbour doubt about their own ability to make choices. This is the kind of language we have been seeing at the forefront of so much of the social justice movement, and this style of discourse is one we’ve learned from the much-maligned Trump.
With regard to climate change, we are consistently told to behave as though our “house is on fire.” Angry climate activists glue themselves to pavement or buildings, block traffic, and generally make an unruly mess simply because they want to raise awareness about their position.
When racism, classism, and sexism are talked about, we hear that these things are getting worse. The only way in which these conditions can be said to be worse is that our expectations keep getting higher. There’s nothing wrong with high expectations, but we have to measure progress based on how far we’ve come, not on how far we’ve yet to go.
Instilling fear in young women, saying that they are particularly vulnerable to a change in leadership, is a fear-mongering tactic that hopefully most Canadian young women will see right through. Our vulnerability comes in mindlessly believing what we are told, and that acting in our best interests is something other people than ourselves can determine.
This kind of inflammatory hyperbole is an insult to independent free-thinking young women across the country. Action is never best undertaken in anger and fear.
So, I have my own message for young Canadian women: You are not weak. You are not vulnerable. You know better than to let some elitist Toronto-based think-piece specialist tell you who you are and what you should do.
You are strong and you are smart. Vote in accordance with your convictions. You got this.
This decade has been a deeply troubling one for the Bloc Quebecois. The humiliations of the 2011 and 2015 elections have made the party very plainly marked with nostalgia, not just for the days of Lucien Bouchard or Jacques Parizeau, but anyone who could lead the party without creating a factional divide or electoral thumping.
Until a few weeks ago, separatism, and the Bloc Quebecois along with it, had been considered dead. Although the 2015 election saw some improvement for the party, they still fell two seats short of official party status.
The Bloc’s abrupt frailty in this decade has been placed on their inability to stop banging on about separation and independence referendums. There is now an inertia in Quebec with separatism that the Bloc failed to perceive or adapt to. This, alongside Jack Layton’s folksy charisma cast the Bloc Quebecois into a lonely irrelevance.
The 2018 provincial election only seemed to confirm this diagnosis. The CAQ, which is composed of many ex-separatist politicians, stormed to power on a ticket that could hardly be bothered with separatism at all. The polling only corroborated this, with 82 percent of Quebecois now stating that separatism was a non-issue.
In many ways, the CAQ’s roaring success has served as a bitter lesson to the Bloc. Although separatism is indeed a “non-issue,” nationalism, and a desire for greater sovereignty certainly is not. Francois Legault’s CAQ capitalized on this sentiment, pledging to protect Quebec in Canada whilst creating demagogic policy (Note the secularism bill).
The efficacy of this strategy is plain. A year after Quebec’s provincial election, the CAQ remains a deeply popular party amongst the Quebecois, with a 74% approval rating.
The Bloc’s leader, Yves-François Blanchet, has evidently understood this new phenomenon. He has meticulously copied the CAQ’s 2018 manifesto and has defended the actions of Quebec’s government in the debates to an irritated Canada.
If the polling is correct, Blanchet’s plagiarism has been entirely successful. In national polls, the Bloc are nearly two whole points higher than their polling in 2015. And so, if Canada discovers there is no majority tomorrow, Blanchet may find himself as the kingmaker.
There are, perhaps, other explanations for the Bloc’s success. For the more cynical amongst us, their success has to do with the NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh. The NDP leader is, of course, the first minority leader in Canada’s history. Many have argued that Quebec is simply “just not ready” for a brown Prime Minister.
Nevertheless, if these polls are correct, and Blanchet’s Bloc Quebecois does as well as they are expected to, then Canadians across the country should clench their jaw in concern. Separatist sentiment is unpredictable— it waxes and wanes naturally, and can explode through seemingly innocuous events. Catalonia and Scotland have made this starkly clear.
Whatever your opinion of Legault and Blanchet may be, it is necessary to understand that they are deeply sophisticated politicians, willing to capitalize on the inevitable shifting of separatist sentiment within Quebec.
If tomorrow, the Quebecois choose to elect a strong separatist party into Ottawa, supported by an equally strong CAQ in Quebec City (whose opinions on separatism are far less clear) then we have to be prepared that separatism is much more alive than we think.