CBC’s The Fifth Estate aired a broadcast on antifa Sunday night, and at times the 30-minute episode read more as an advertisement for the extremist group than an investigative report.
“Right-wing hate is growing everywhere, including Canada. And it is being met with a movement desperate to stamp it out.” Fifth Estate host Gillian Findlay said, introducing antifa. The activists The Fifth Estate utilized for the episode were mostly anonymous.
No mention was made of the antifa assaults on CBC and Global News videographers, and the promises of violence against journalists from Canadian Antifa Black Bloc. And despite montages of politicians warning of the threat of far-right violence, The Fifth Estate also failed to note that both the FBI and Homeland Security in the United States have repeatedly warned of the violent threat posed by antifa.
At one point in the documentary, Findlay oversees the doxing of two alleged members of Quebecois nationalist group Atalante. Their names, photos, and places of employment are broadcasted in full by CBC, without redactions of any kind.
The documentary can be viewed here:
When asked about freedom of speech, one antifa member said, “We believe they are not entitled to say things that will threaten the rights and safety of other people.” And then went on to praise violence as a necessary component of their activity.
After Findlay challenged another antifa activist on doxing individuals who had not committed any crimes, he says “A neo-nazi project is by definition a violent program. The difference is that I don’t have a hateful project. My project is based on diversity and inclusion.”
The Fifth Estate’s episode emphasized white supremacist and right-wing violence as a growing concern and comes at a time when a wave of anti-Semitic attacks by Black Hebrew Israelites and affiliated actors is gripping many Jewish communities.
Signs that read “White Lives Don’t Matter” and “Racism against whites doesn’t exist” have appeared in Kitchener/Waterloo, with the culprit yet to be identified.
One sign features a logo that reads ‘Kitchener/Waterloo against fascism,’ a self-described anti-fascism group. Their Facebook page, which has just over 700 “Likes,” call themselves a “new organization dedicated to combatting fascism in all its forms by any means necessary.”
The group, though, denies that the signs are theirs, or that any member of their group had a hand in their posting.
“These are not our posters. It’s definitely some far-right weirdo or weirdos trying to make us look bad,” the group said in a Facebook post.
Anyone with additional information can call the Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
CBC Kids News has published an article in favour of Canadian teens embarking on a hunger strike. The hunger strike was scheduled to start on Sunday; its purpose is to protest the now-cancelled Teck mine project in Alberta. The article details famous, historical hunger strikers, their achievements, and what happens to the body when it is denied food.
The fact that CBC decided to cover a hunger strike involving the participation of children is irresponsible to say the least. That this was promoted on their children’s news platform makes it even worse. Teens are already at higher risk than adults for eating disorders, which are typically about a person wanting to take control over their bodies when they feel they have no control over anything else. This hunger strike is in service to something teens absolutely have no control over, energy policy.
It’s absolutely unconscionable to advocate for children to starve themselves to get the government to change its energy policy. And it is absurd to expect the government to change its energy agenda based on this kind of advocacy. The teens are basically taking themselves hostage, holding their breath until they get their way.
Twitter users were quick to point out how irresponsible and dangerous this article is.
It’s been a few years now that people are so freaked out by climate change that they’re willing to sacrifice their children. But while pundits and armchair climate activists may advocate for the Greta Thunbergs of the world to give up their futures in service to environmental activism, parents are not so sure.
In fact, the article on CBC Kids News had to be amended to account for a parent’s concern. One of the students who intends to participate in the hunger strike was noted to have the support of his mom. However, after the article was published, his mother wrote to say that “she is extremely worried about her son going on a hunger strike and, ‘even more disappointed that young adults feel they need to engage in self harm to be heard by the media and government on this issue.’”
She’s right to be concerned. As a matter of fact, all Canadian parents should be concerned. CBC has crossed a line by promoting unhealthy behaviour directly to young people. They should be ashamed of themselves.
CBC has filed a claim with the Department of Industry to trademark the word “Oh” and “Radio-Canada Oh-dio” with the department’s intellectual property office.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole recently called for the privatization of the publicly funded TV service.
CBC’s potential new “Oh” marketing campaign is reminiscent of the network’s earlier attempts to boost sales with previous trademarks such as“Fall for CBC” in 2014, “Canada’s Own” in 2011, and “Trusted, Connected, Canadian” in 2001.
In 2013 the public broadcaster sued a Montréal cable station for $50,000 over the trademark “Ici” (“here”) which they used for their French-language service according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Our public broadcaster is stuck in the past,” said O’Toole in a campaign video on February 14. “An O’Toole government will modernize and reform the CBC,” said O’Toole. “We will end funding for CBC digital and we will cut the CBC English TV budget by fifty percent. Our plan will phase out TV advertising with a goal to fully privatize CBC English TV by the end of our first mandate.”
The CBC receives $1.2 billion grant per year from the government, however, their English-language television ad revenues fell 37 percent last year.
O’Toole said he would keep CBC French-language services and the Crown broadcaster’s national radio network as it is.
In 2017 a Conservative bill to privatize the CBC as an entire corporation was brought forth but was defeated.
Former Conservative MP Brad Trost was a sponsor of the bill, “The Mulroney administration philosophically should have done it, just as the previous Harper administration philosophically should have been prepared to privatize the CBC,” said Trost, in an interview at the time. “Someone needed to take the first steps to get things going.”
“The late former finance minister Jim Flaherty actually broached this subject a few times in the past,” said Trost. “He spoke to me about how it was one of his wishes to privatize the CBC. Jim and I discussed it.”
Bill C-308 An Act To Provide For The Incorporation Of The CBC would have reorganized the network under the Canada Business Corporations Act with plans to have a final sale within the following three years. The bill was shot down in the Commons by a vote of 260 to 6.
Working in the media for over two decades has afforded me the chance to meet many of my heroes. Some encounters lived up to expectation and others were small disasters.
Lighting up an imported stogie with Robert Lantos in his midtown home was delightful. Sitting under a cabana at the Beverly Hilton with Gary Shandling was heavenly. And sitting in the green room with the late Don Rickles in Montreal was emotionally orgasmic.
But how do I describe my exchange with Jordan Peterson?
Let me give it my best shot. Some moons ago, a friend of mine was one of Peterson’s students. She spoke of her intriguing psychology professor and promised that she would let me tag along for a morning lecture at U of T. I passed it off as a flip invite that would never come to be—but I secretly hoped I was wrong.
Sure enough, one day, as I had my face buried in paperwork at my Summerhill intern desk, my friend Sarah stopped by out of nowhere. She told me to pack up my stuff and escorted me to class with her. I should have never doubted her.
Sarah and I did a fast parallel park on Bloor Street West and sauntered over to The Arts and Sciences Building. Cue Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me.” Sound the trumpets. I was in Peterson’s world.
I guess you might say Peterson was enjoying relative obscurity then, in as much as genius can ever be truly obscure. It tends to illuminate, even under the dim of low wattage bulbs. But compared to his ubiquitous fame now, he was an unknown.
The lecture hall filled quicker than a king-sized beer mug at happy hour. The empty glass of water at the podium was a prolepsis for some of Peterson’s epic rants and proliferating insights. The excitement was palpable. And so was the budding adoration for the professor at the helm.
“This guy’s lectures are dope. The best Prof in Canada. Dude’s got game” proclaimed a well-tattooed man sitting one row under me.
I took another look around as Dr. Peterson made his way to the podium. To my surprise, students were devoid of the glassy film that usually covers the eyes of hopeful graduates. Laptops were fully charged. Pens were dipped in fresh ink. Hangovers were whipped into submission by copious amounts of caffeine and adrenaline.
This was not the lecture hall culture that I remembered. This was a brave new world known as Peterson’s Playhouse. Peterson wore blue jeans with a dark cardigan and a dress shirt underneath. He was clean-shaven with an ashen pallor. He was dark under the eyes and looked quite exhausted— which as I understand it now, was insomnia’s doing.
After gathering his thoughts, Peterson started lecturing. He quickly led us into a comprehensive examination of why both individuals and groups participate in social conflict, and the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (ideological identification) that result in mass killing and pathological atrocity.
Just another day at the office for Alberta’s most influential intellectual export. Midway into his 2-hour lecture, Peterson started to speak about the Holocaust and the horrors of Auschwitz. He did this as an academic adjunct to his primary supposition about belief systems.
Unexpectedly, he went into a searing psychological examination of the Nazis and the hundreds of thousands of German soldiers who were left bereft of human conscience as they dangled in the throws of ideological imposition by the Hitler regime.
Now I have attended many Holocaust remembrance events over the years. Each one, heart-rending in its own way. I have sat with survivors of the camps—each conversation sending shivers down my spine and taking me into the deepest recesses of spiritual pause.
But this was something different. Peterson struck an isolated chord.
Maybe it was the surprise of seeing a gentile Professor speaking with such passion and conviction about a topic that was so personal to me. I am not quite sure. But as Peterson’s voice cracked with raw emotion, I felt my own connection with the worst tragedy of Jewish history, grow deeper and stronger.
“We read about the Holocaust, and study it now, but we have no way to actually comprehend this kind of evil. This kind of unbridled malevolence,” Peterson said, eyes watering and body trembling.
“You don’t think it can happen again, well guess again man,” the professor exclaimed.
“Don’t underestimate the human capacity for evil. And it lives in all of us. You need to know how bad you CAN be, to commit to how good you MUST be,” said Peterson, as though it was his last breath.
I was so taken by the emotional power of the lecture that I waited 40 minutes after class to shake Peterson’s hand and thank him personally. I watched from a distance as he met his perfunctory obligations and shook hands with students.
The line moved quite slowly but I finally got to meet him.
“How can I help you, young man,” he said to me playfully.
“I just wanted to thank you, Professor, for such an amazing lecture,” I said. “As a Jewish person
I found your words about the Holocaust to be soul-stirring. I did not expect such words in a university environment,” I said nervously.
He said, “What is your aspiration? What are you hoping to do in life?”
I said, “I am a poet and aspiring writer, director, producer.”
“Well, history is in the hands of our best writers. So make us proud,” he said with a smile.
I would like to say the chat went on longer but that was it. Over before it really began. Some shlemiel came out of nowhere and nudged me to the side with an oversized Macbook. I could have sued. Diamond and Diamond could have sent me into early retirement with that one.
When I see Peterson on the big American talk shows or speaking at sold-out theatres across the world, I think back to the early lecture I attended. Was there any sign back then of the international fame that awaited him? Was he earmarked for world influence?
I don’t think anyone, including him, could have predicted the Peterson phenomenon. But I do think he was always an eminently smart and compelling character. And his proclivity to hold firm on his beliefs, and still confess deep vulnerability, was so rare.
So yeah, I think the signs were always there from the beginning.
Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has dominated the best-sellers charts in dozens of countries. Estimates say the popular self-help book has moved in excess of 3 million copies worldwide. The book has given inspiration, insight and hope to struggling folks in virtually every corner of the globe.
Thank you, Dr. Peterson, for doing so much good. I can always say, I knew you—briefly—way back when.
In recent weeks, there has been much written about Peterson’s health challenges (and near-death experience) with a dependency on and severe reaction to clonazepam, a commonly prescribed drug in the benzodiazepine family. He started taking the drug shortly after he found out his wife, Tammy, had terminal cancer.
When a prominent self-help guru loses his footing, I suppose there is a sense of irony and morbid curiosity that naturally ensues. But that does not justify kicking a guy while he’s down. Some of the remarks directed at Peterson and his family, since news of his medical condition emerged, have been downright grisly.
It’s sad that being ill and bed-ridden in Russia gave his political adversaries an opening for rancour and an opportunity to push their own twisted agendas.
But this is the world we live in.
Be that as it may—even if Peterson were to never speak publicly again, I am convinced history would remember him as a brave friend to humanity. Maybe not the kind that one expected or summoned for. But one that said what needed to be said. And one that did what needed to be done.