Media bailout memo to Liberal minister completely redacted by government
A journalist and past president of Canadian Association of Journalists who tried to get a memo to the Liberal finance minister on the $600 million media bailout was informed the entire 27 pages would not be released publicly.
The response letter came from a federal government Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) officer who said that all “the records you requested are excluded” because they’re to brief the minister on government policy.
Maclean’s journalist Nick Taylor-Vaisey said he was looking for “recommendations made by the panel of experts that looked at how to implement new federal money for journalists.”
Earlier this year the Trudeau government created a panel of experts–including anti-Conservative union Unifor that represents thousands of media employees–that are representatives for some mainstream media outlets and conglomerates (including Torstar and Postmedia), to come up with a list of recommendations. Their list of proposals excluded many startups and the CRA will ultimately decide who are “qualified Canadian journalism organizations” eligible for government money. The bailout money is designated specifically for political journalism, which many critics have pointed out created a major conflict of interest (real or perceived) for journalists covering the 2019 federal election.
The Trudeau government promised “everything will be transparent” in regards to the bailout, but much of the process has been done behind closed doors with major industry players representatives sitting at the table.
“I’ll likely appeal it, but the tweet honestly became more than I intended!” Taylor-Vaisey told The Post Millennial about his ATIP return being completely redacted.
Many journalists that file ATIP requests with the federal government have been complaining about a broken access to information system that has only gotten worse under the Trudeau government. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first won office in 2015 he had promised his government would raise the bar on transparency.
“The replies to [my] tweet have definitely reinforced the mega-trust gap between a subset of readers online and mainstream media. Redactions, however they were intended, don’t help that perception,” said Taylor-Vaisey.
Pierre Poilievre is a six-term Member of Parliament, former Minister of Employment and the current Conservative Shadow Minister of Finance.
Lots of advice is pouring in for Conservatives these days.
Much of it from people who have never or will never vote for the party. They have concluded that the Conservative Party, which won the most votes in the election, is so unpopular that it must abandon its entire platform and the 6.1 million people who voted for it. The Globe and Mail, for example, has called for the party to drop its weird obsession with fiscal responsibility and low taxes.
Likewise, this headline recently blazed the pages of the Toronto Star: “Conservatives will pay for Andrew Scheer’s anti-tax stance.” Low taxes are not compatible with “a big-tent party in 2019 Canada, and we know from the past few weeks of federal election campaigning that voters are not won over by the concept,” wrote the paper’s federal finance columnist Heather Scoffield. “It’s an anti-tax, small-government dogma that hearkens back to Stephen Harper and channels Jason Kenney and Doug Ford,” she wrote, referring to three leaders who won majorities on tax-fighting platforms.
Premiers Kenney and Ford won victories in the last 18 months, with many seats in urban centres. But never mind, we’re told that their low-tax messages are unelectable or out-of-date. As for Mr. Harper, the Parliamentary Budget Officer calculated that he “reduced federal tax revenue by $30 billion, or 12 per cent. These changes have been progressive, overall. Low and middle income earners have benefited more, in relative terms, than higher income earners.” The policy helped win Harper three elections (including a majority) and become the longest-serving Conservative Prime Minister since John A. MacDonald. (We wouldn’t want to repeat that track record, would we?)
Canada already has four parties—the New Democrats, Liberals, Greens and Bloc—clamoring for bigger and more powerful government. The media believes Conservatives should become the fifth. It would not be without precedent. Past “conservative” leaders have embraced higher taxes. How did that work out for them?
When Prime Minister Joe Clark’s budget hiked gas taxes, he lost a confidence vote and an election after only nine months in office. When President, George Herbert Walker Bush, broke his “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge, he lost to Bill Clinton. Alberta Premier, Ed Stelmach, raised taxes on the energy sector by jacking up royalty rates and was gone as Premier within ten months. Ernie Eves raised taxes soon after becoming Ontario Premier and promptly lost an election, reversing the back-to-back majorities of taxfighter, Mike Harris. In the early 1990s, the federal Progressive Conservative government introduced the GST and went from a majority government to merely two seats. New Brunswick Premier David Alward’s 2013/14 budget raised taxes by $200 million and in the following year’s election he lost his government and half his caucus. Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government announced hikes to income, gas and alcohol taxes in the 2015 budget and two months later lost to the NDP, finished third place and ended their 44-year dynasty, the longest of any party in Canada’s history.
It is true that there are many factors that lead to parties or leaders losing office. But is it just an extraordinary coincidence that voters have promptly driven out of office every federal or provincial conservative leader who raised taxes in the last three decades?
No. It is no coincidence. When conservative parties support tax increases, they get crushed.
The reasons are clear.
First, how can a conservative candidate who supports tax hikes criticize the socialist parties for doing the same? If all parties are going to cost taxpayers more, the election becomes a bidding war where parties compete to offer the most generous government-funded goodies—a bidding war left-wing parties with no fiscal responsibility will win every time.
What we can believably offer is a chance for hardworking and ambitious people to build better lives for themselves, by keeping more of their earnings.
That is who we are. Without our best product (low taxes), we lose our customers. We become a baker without bread or a logger without lumber.
“How boring,” groans the left. Ms. Scoffield, for example, laments that low taxes leave no “room for big thinking on how to confront the next economic downturn, or how to take care of an aging society, or how to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing unless the private sector takes front and centre.” Confront the next downturn through tax hikes? Care for an aging society by raising taxes on retirement savings? Make housing more affordable by taxing the business that builds homes, or the worker saving to buy one? These ideas fulfil the socialist fantasy of making people helplessly dependent on government, but betray people’s desire to fulfil their own potential and chart their own destinies.
Low taxes are not a “gimmick”, like 30 cents off paper towels. Rather, they allow free workers and entrepreneurs to choose what to do with the fruits of their labour and enterprise. Costing people less is just the means. Empowering them to do more is the end.
A dollar can only be in one place at a time. Who decides where it goes?
The person who earned it or the politician who taxed it; the entrepreneur whose investments produced it or the politician who faces no real consequence for squandering it?
Whose dreams are fulfilled in the end, the family saving to start a business, buy a home or afford to make lasting memories taking the kids somewhere special; or the politician who dreams of buying himself a legacy with that family’s money?
Conservatives must be the party of human aspiration and free choice. That means ignoring the big-government cabal and always standing with the hardworking taxpayer.
EXTRA, EXTRA: Reporter evokes Old Testament, asks Scheer if homosexuality a sin, belabouring non-issue
Politics in Canada and media’s coverage of it bear little resemblance to the real-world street these days, and Parliament Hill is a great example of this troubling and widening divide.
On Wednesday, rookie and returning Conservative MPs who voters sent to Ottawa gathered with senators for a caucus at West Block to discuss the federal party’s future and its leadership in the aftermath of a losing, Liberal minority government finish on Oct. 21.
Under the shadow of petroleum icon EnCana’s HQ exodus last week to Denver, Colorado, a nationalized $4.5 billion “leaky pipeline” that cannot get twinned, soured relations with China and uncertain USMCA trade deal ratification stateside, some reporters remained fixated by embattled party leader Andrew Scheer’s position on gay sex.
I use the term “gay sex”, because one reporter’s combative entrée and followup question during Scheer’s scrum, after he survived his first leadership test at caucus, was phrased in rather Biblical terms: “Do you believe that being gay is a sin?”
And the reporter did not stop:
This line of questioning is inspired by a facile notion that if Scheer won’t march in a Pride parade, which he hasn’t, then the public is left with no other option than to believe the Conservative leader would roll back LGBT rights to the Age of Antiquity.
As Scheer attempted to reiterate his party’s inclusiveness–something he’s repeated ad nauseam since longtime Liberal minister Ralph Goodale (defeated this election) tweeted a 15-year-old speech against gay marriage Scheer made as a backbencher –the reporter interjected:
“But you’re not giving your personal opinion,” demanding that he come clean.
Scheer: “My personal opinion is that I respect the rights of every single Canadian… and to always fight for the rights of every single Canadian, including the LGBT community.”
Goodale’s August 22nd Tweet, boosted a day later by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Svengali of divisiveness, Gerald Butts (no longer available on Twitter), triggered media who in the moment, conveniently forgot that like Scheer, and on two occasions himself Goodale also voted against the notion of same sex unions in the Commons.
Goodale’s bit of craven hypocrisy was ably noted by National Post‘s Chris Selley in the same 24-hour news cycle, but the media remained hellbent on the subject, pestering Scheer about it prior to the official election period and throughout, tossing in abortion too because why not – all Christians hate that, too, right?
Even the U.S. Democratic Party took a similar anti-gay marriage position up until the end of President Barack Obama’s second term in 2012.
But besides the mainstream media’s selective application of its religiosity matrix that lit the firestorm over Scheer and Pride, America’s first black POTUS’ endorsement of Trudeau in the 11th-hour of a campaign blighted by #TrudeauBlackface was ironic in itself, on top of a gleeful reception of it by Butts and Co.
On the matter of Old Testament crime and punishment, affixing it Scheer’s Christianity and employing conjecture that he would impose “God’s law” on Canadians were he ever PM, it’s worth taking some time to unpack this to understand the level of cockamamie logic it took to arrive at such an idea.
So come on a journey back through time to a relatively lawless period about 1,000 years after the invention of soap, and some 3,100 years before the discovery of penicillin, when Genesis was written.
Interpretations differ on what actually happened between Noah and his son Ham in the Old Testament’s first chapter, when God populates the Earth, gives humans free will, then gets very angry when they misbehave.
Some believe Ham sodomized his father, others insist Noah walked in on Ham railing one of Noah’s wives.
Regardless, Ham’s fate for his transgression leaves his son Canaan “cursed”; his descendants known as Canaanites are enslaved by the Israelites, who later murder them all after God commanded the children of Ham be annihilated.
Harsh punishment indeed, and similar incidents pepper the Bible for all types of sexual sinning including God’s destruction of the twin dens of iniquity, Sodom and Gomorrah. Leviticus edicts set down around the 6th century BCE–Babylonian times–have been interpreted as injunctions on incest and homosexuality; citations later weaponized by the Church to persecute gays well into the 20th century.
Though the issue of gay marriage rights in Canada is settled in law, and has been since 2005 when we became the first country outside of Europe to legalize such unions, a largely esoteric debate about Old Testament scripture and “God’s word” on homosexuality continues in theological circles and online forums.
But by and large, anti-gay interpretations profited by those clamouring for the gay marriage law to be reversed, have largely been reduced to fringe views in wider Canadian society.
Unfortunately, outside the castle walls of places like Canada in which hate crimes are pursued and prosecuted, the body count continues to rise for scores of unwitting LGBT victims of Islamic State, Iran, Putin’s Russia and myriad global backwaters where life is cheap and human rights codes, non-existent.
The 20th century is littered with state sanctioned and monitored behaviour regimes, ideological impositions–religious or irreligious–that ended with the murder of millions in places like China, where this very moment the regime rounds up Uiyger Muslim men for re-education camps, Uiyger women left to be raped by the local Chinese.
These parallel applications of guilt-by-association or non-association, in the extreme–and that’s what we’re talking about here, the extreme application of ideology whatever that happens to be–are reduced to trifling footnotes whenever next year’s pride roll call is taken by some of the more militant Pride committees.
While Scheer’s attendance at such an event is demanded to prove his “solidarity” with LGBT, conversely some Pride organizers prevent community police officers from marching in solidarity, or put caveats on their attire; either anathema to the original Pride mantra of inclusiveness and love, regrettably lost as well in this fog of cognitive dissonance.
It’s so predictable in a way, and even used as comedic device in a 1990s Seinfeld episode, where Kramer’s attendance at an NYC March for AIDS is insufficient and he’s beset upon to “wear the ribbon”.
But these contradictions never seem to bother reporters too much, except when the aim is to smear, as Vice magazine did when it “outed” then-Conservative Foreign Affairs Minister John “Rusty” Baird in 2013.
In this abject bit of gibberish–Is Canada Run by a Gay Mafia?–the author remains seemingly oblivious to the fact that if Baird is gay, he likely wanted it kept a secret whilst travelling to commit statecraft in backwaters that still handed out cruel and unusual punishment for homosexuality.
If you can stomach the snark, it is insightful reading for a taste of the mainstream’s paragon of virtue mindset, considering that outside of Western and westernized nations, it’s a hard time whatsoever finding a Pride event, let alone getting any sort of LGBT rights, particularly in the Old Testament’s cradle.
Unless of course, you happen to reside in modern day Jerusalem for example.
In the Holy Land and not far from Jerusalem Pride, LGBT rights are pretty much non-existent. The political strife in Egypt has seen LGBT there harassed and arrested, Syria is in ruin following civil war and Islamic State infestation, and in nearby Ramallah or Gaza Strip, forget about it.
Asylum seeker John Calvin–a Christian convert and grandson of Palestinian terror group Hamas’ co-founder–told CNN in 2015 as much, before his asylum claim was denied by Canadian authorities and Calvin sought refuge in New York City.
Yet Scheer’s Pride avoidance–perhaps a national record of some kind, like his claim he won the “strongest majority government in Canada’s history” in #elxn43–remains a constant source of aggravation for members of the press gallery, despite plenty of issues arguably more worthy of asking Opposition members’ to opine upon.
Our country is on the brink of total Balkanization. There is no doubt about that. It’s spurred by separatist sentiments in the West, a resurgence of separatists Bloc Québecois and Indigenous leaders, like Treaty 8 chiefs caught in the middle who are speaking out. The situation only becomes more contentious with Bloc MPs holding a go-to power balance in the Commons.
When this East-West divide couldn’t get any worse, we remain a doormat for illegal migrants making bogus asylum claims that further burden an already overloaded immigration system.
Given this totally unnecessary, quasi-domestic/foreign affairs baggage and presented with former Immigration critic for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel, media still required a few minutes from her to opine on Scheer’s Pride no-shows.
Here is a two-minute exchange on the issue that occurred during Conservatives’ Wednesday confab, when MPs slip out to fill news slots and talk politics without divulging any specifics about ongoing caucus deliberations. In this context, without anything else to talk about, reporters were primed and so was Rempel.
But how many will pay any mind or attention to other aspects of Rempel’s response–a laundry list of real discrimination LGBT folks in Canada still face and how her party is committed to addressing them.
For G.T. Lem–who bills himself on Twitter as “1 Source For Videos That Cut Through The Right-Wing Noise & Counters The Anti-Liberal Bias Narrative With FACTS”–his takeaway is that Rempel “DEFENDS” Scheer’s choice, while downplaying her (rather accurate) description of what’s become a “symbolic” political litmus test.
Forget that there are LGBT people who do not go to Pride, for whatever reason and non-LGBT folks, who love it. Having freedom of choice and rights also means the right not to participate or being kowtowed to do so, but if you’re Scheer or anyone who takes a position contrary to supposed mainstream progressivism, then look out.
If you had just arrived from another planet, or were transported by time machine from Ancient Babylon, you’d probably think the entirety of Planet Earth had gone mad; mankind’s inhabitants anyways, or as Trudeau calls us: Peoplekind.
Whatever the collective mental state of the nation, CBC’s Rosemary Barton is also under the spell of Scheer’s take on LGBT rights and took to Twitter to punctuate his response to the low-rent ‘is being gay a sin’ query.
And so the inordinate amount of time spent on Scheer’s Pride record, apparent harbinger for low information voters and media types who believe a Conservative Scheer government would quash all and sunder rights for our LGBT neighbours, friends and colleagues. Nobody credible seriously believes this garbage, yet media remain transfixed it’s a totally real possibility and one the day’s most pressing issue.
Unfortunately, or fortunately–depending on one’s political persuasion or adherence to social mores–the Q&A moment about alleged gay sinners competed against what was perhaps Scheer’s finest stump speech hour, given in fewer than seven minutes to reporters, and seven weeks too late.
With a nod to “a frank discussion (in caucus) about the last election campaign”, acknowledging his disappointment and desire “to get it right the next time”, Scheer launched into a rebuke of Trudeau that rings as true today, as it was when the campaign began on September 11.
“The sad truth is, Trudeau has left this country more divided than ever before,” said Scheer. “Picking fights with premiers, pitting region against region, Trudeau has set the stage for a national unity crisis… this is Trudeau’s mess but Conservatives are here to clear it up.
Though it’s never too late for Scheer to attend one of Canada’s smorgasbord of annual Pride events, even in a far flung place like Inuvik, Northwest Territories, for Conservatives’ governing fortunes, their leader’s newfound gumption isn’t going to re-order the planets or turn back the clock to August 22.
That’s when Scheer and his advisors should have hit this head on. But they didn’t and here we are in this parallel universe of litmus tests and virtue signalling, heading into the 44th federal government frame, a minority government no less, as serious national challenges boil in realpolitik, both domestic and foreign.
After his caucus voted down a change to the party’s constitution enabling it to toss their captain–a mandate that still remains within party’s membership purview–Scheer emerged swinging for the fences promising to restore “ethics and accountability” and getting “the energy sector back to work.”
As Trudeau spent the last few days at his favourite surfing spot in Tofino, B.C., home of Pacific Rim National Park, Scheer demanded the PM return to Ottawa and blasted our G7 surfer dude for “stok(ing) the revival of the separatist Bloc Quebecois and has sown the seeds of disunity in the West”.
“These are pressing issues of national importance that need to be addressed so I am calling on Justin Trudeau to reconvene Parliament as soon as possible, to do so.”
So will Canadian voters give Scheer a second chance and will media extract the same pound of flesh from Trudeau for his perceived shortcomings? That remains to be seen. Conservative Party members will have the first say anyways, at a mandatory leadership review set for their April convention next year.
As for Trudeau, his immediate future will depend on the confidence of the House, pretty much a sure-thing given he can tack right or left for support without having to compromise with Conservatives.
And as for Scheer and the LGBT issue, stay tuned for Pride Month June 2020, if he even lasts that long. In the interim, Scheer said that Baird has been tapped to conduct “a thorough and external review of the campaign”.
TorStar, the company that owns the Toronto Star, has seen its stock plummet to historic lows. This came after the company reported an unexpected loss of $40.9 million. This financial hit is so extreme that the company may have to shift the balance of power amongst the company’s shareholders, according to BNN Bloomberg.
The company’s publicly traded shares dropped to 53 cents, the lowest ever for TorStar. By midday, the shares had recovered to 60 cents, largely due to TorStar’s damage limitation tactics, including telling shareholders the company will weather the storm.
TorStar’s Chief Executive John Boynton has told analysts that the newspaper is looking to diversify their income so to mitigate the decline of print sales. Although TorStar continues to report losses, Boynton is said to be content with their subscriber revenue, stating that it now represents a large portion of their revenue base.
TorStar continues to make $30.2 million from online and print subscriptions, which is an improvement from 2018 where they made $29.6 million.
Despite the Trudeau government’s media bailout, which allocates $115,000 per week to the Toronto Star, the newspaper’s financial difficulties have hardly been offset by the government’s subsidies.
The Toronto Star previously blew tens of millions of dollars on a tablet version that was later scrapped. Star Touch reportedly cost $14 million in prelaunch costs alone.
What will come as an additional concern to TorStar’s shareholders is that the PostMedia Network, TorStar’s main competitor, has reported its first profit in two years, with $7.9 million in net income.
Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have been spreading misinformation every single day of this election campaign.
They’ve claimed the Conservatives are cutting billions, which is a false claim, since all the Conservatives are doing is reducing the growth of upcoming government spending. As we can all grasp, reducing the growth of spending is not the same as cutting spending. So, the Liberals are lying.
The Liberals have claimed Scheer will re-open the abortion debate, even though he’s repeatedly said he will not, even though Conservative Party policy is to leave the debate closed, and even though the Conservatives didn’t change abortion laws in their 10 years in power under Stephen Harper. So again, the Liberals are lying.
And of course, the Liberals have repeatedly said that Andrew Scheer is somehow a “risk” to the rights of LGBT Canadians, even though official Conservative Party policy supports same-sex marriage, and Scheer has also made clear that he will not make any changes in that regard. So again, the Liberals are lying.
See a pattern here?
The Liberals have based their entire campaign around lies designed to demonize Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives.
Yet, have you seen the media accuse Trudeau of “misinformation”?
Have you watched reporters straight-up call Trudeau’s claims “lies,” “falsehoods,” or “made up”?
Of course not.
Instead of calling Trudeau out for his endless lies, the media has reported them as facts, forcing the Conservatives to spend precious campaign time responding to Trudeau’s repeated spreading of misinformation.
Yet, the second Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives speculated about the potential dangers of a Liberal-NDP coalition, the establishment media jumped all over them and accused them of lying.
Andrew Scheer made the reasonable point that since the Liberals and NDP are promising tens of billions of dollars in spending that isn’t paid for, it’s likely that tax hikes would be used to pay for it. And to get that kind of revenue, a Liberal-NDP coalition would have to raise the GST to 7.5 percent, a massive hike from the current 5 percent.
But, instead of forcing Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh to explain where they’ll get the money, and instead of reporting Scheer’s speculation as facts, the establishment media instead accused Scheer of “lying,” and said his claims were “made up.”
A total double-standard.
What this shows is that the anti-Conservative bias of the establishment media is getting even worse as election day nears. The establishment press is trying to turn the Canadian People against the Conservatives, and is trying to ensure Justin Trudeau stays in power.
It’s a level of manipulation that is profoundly anti-democratic and dangerous to the future of our democracy.