Parliamentary Press Gallery has double standard on media “advocacy”
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca)
The Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery has rejected the applications of both Rebel News and True North News to attend and report on today’s political party leaders’ election debate.
Collin Lafrance, Chief of the Press Gallery Secretariat, has excluded both organizations because they are
If Mr. Lafrance is correct in his assessment of True North and Rebel News, then these two media outlets would fit in well with many of the Press Gallery’s existing members, which advocate openly and actively for causes, perspectives and ideologies.
For example, the Xinhua (New China) News Agency is a member of the Canadian Press Gallery, despite being the official state-run press agency of the Chinese government. Xinhua’s president is a member of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party.
In one example of Xinhua’s “news” is this recent article which states: “Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech during Tuesday’s National Day celebrations was warmly embraced across the globe, with politicians and experts in different parts of the world expressing support for China’s social and economic development … China’s remarkable success in the past seven decades since the founding of the People’s Republic of China has come from its own way of governing — socialism with Chinese characteristics …”
That statement from Xinhua comes in the context of an increasingly violent and brutal crackdown of democratic protests in Hong Kong.
Do Mr. Lafrance and the Press Gallery think that Xinhua is not engaging in “advocacy,” or is it that they are OK with this kind of advocacy?
Another Press Gallery member that is “actively involved in advocacy” is our taxpayer-funded CBC, which consistently promotes left-wing ideology in and through its coverage, and even more so by way of what the CBC chooses not to cover.
As just one example, the CBC refused to provide any coverage of the July 4, 5 and 17, 2019 BC Human Rights Tribunal hearings of Jessica (Jonathan) Yaniv’s complaints against female estheticians who had refused to provide a “Brazilian” bikini wax for Yaniv’s male genitalia.
It was not until Yaniv’s human rights cases had made international headlines that the CBC finally wrote one story about this issue, in late July.
Killing stories that do not suit one’s own ideological narrative or preference is not limited to the CBC. Neither the CBC nor the
The website was developed by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (ISMSS), under the direction of Kris Wells, a professional activist and propagandist who headed the ISMSS. This taxpayer-funded GSA website provided children with links to “Super practical sex positions everyone can try at home” and “Eight things they teach you at blow job school.” This website also had links to introduce children to the “Zebra” sexual alphabet: ‘A’ is for Auto-fellatio, ‘F’ is for Felching, ‘U’ is for Urophilia, ‘Y’ is for Yellow and Brown Showers, etc.
Felching is so revolting (and unhealthy) that no decent website or other publication could even describe this practice; google the term at your own risk. Calgary radio talk-show host Danielle Smith is the only media personality who took note of this story, interviewing one of the parents who had exposed the truth about the GSA website. All other media tried to kill the story by not covering something that might embarrass their ideological allies.
In a similar fashion, the CBC and other “mainstream” media provided no coverage when Wells, a
Palpable media bias aside, there are also Press Gallery members who admit to covering the news from a particular angle or perspective, like the Aboriginal Peoples TV, Canadian Catholic News, The Lawyer’s Daily and the left-wing Rabble.ca.
There is nothing wrong with having a perspective, or even a bias per se. Rather, what is wrong is pretending to be neutral and objective when you are not.
Everybody advocates for a certain perspective. What differs between media sources is not the existence of bias, but the honesty (or lack thereof) about its bias. I would sooner read progressive views on Rabble.ca and conservative views on Rebel News than supposedly “unbiased” media which actually denies the fact that they adhere to a political ideology.
By rejecting True North and Rebel News as “actively involved in advocacy” while accepting many media outlets which are also undeniably “actively involved in advocacy,” the Press Gallery is revealing its own bias. Or perhaps the Press Gallery is simply taking its marching orders from the Leaders’ Debate Commission.
The Press Gallery has a Parliamentary email ([email protected]) and receives space from Parliament, exercising immense influence. Its choice to exclude conservative-leaning media organizations threatens a healthy and thriving democracy that tolerates diversity in thought and debate.
As for the Leaders’ Debate Commission, it is clearly a government body. To the extent that the Press Gallery is implementing the will of the Leaders’ Debate Commission, the Press Gallery’s decisions must comply with the Charter. The Charter requires government bodies and agencies to be neutral and to refrain from using ideology as a basis for rewarding friends or punishing enemies.
The Federal Court will consider these issues upon hearing the applications of True North and Rebel News to overturn the decision of the Press Gallery and/or the Leaders’ Debate Commission.
Staff in Justin Trudeau’s Prime Minister’s Office decided to conduct governmental business using a private Gmail account, sparking outcries from the Office of the Information Commissioner, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
The member of staff to blame was Trudeau’s senior speechwriter Gabrielle Cesvet, who describes herself as an “annoyingly proud Montrealer.”
It subsequently turns out that she may also be an annoyingly reckless staffer, as she broke a “public duty” outlined by the Information Commissioner: namely, the “retention of all emails that are records of business value.”
She did this by inviting CVs to her personal Gmail account through twitter. On Jan. 10, Cesvet tweeted “The Prime Minister’s Office is looking to hire a new English or bilingual speechwriter! Candidates should be good writers, hard workers and team players. If you’re interested, message me.”
After a tsunami of emails, Cesvet then concluded that using her private email may be easier, tweeting “I’m having trouble answering everyone, so new plan! If you are interested, email me your CV, writing sample and cover letter to [email protected]”
By using a Gmail account for governmental business, Cesvet essentially made it inaccessible to the Canadian public. Freedom of information requests cannot be conducted on private Gmail accounts.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is going ahead with legal proceedings against the University of British Columbia after the Canadian university refused to reinstate Andy Ngo’s speaking engagement on antifa violence.
The JCCF issued a press release that stated: “The Free Speech Club and UBC entered into a contract on November 25, 2019 to hold the event, and the club paid the required booking deposit. The UBC Executive unilaterally cancelled the event in December 2019, stating in an email shortly before Christmas that this was necessary due to concerns ‘about the safety and security of our campus community.’ No specific concerns were stated. If UBC had safety concerns, it did not communicate any specific concerns to The Free Speech Club, or make efforts to address such concerns.”
The JCCF previously sent UBC a letter demanding that the event be reinstated. Lawyer Marty Moore stated that “UBC’s decision effectively punishes a victim of violence by banning him from speaking at UBC, in what appears to be an attempt to appease the violent group antifa.”
Ngo, who is the Editor-at-large for The Post Millennial, said, “The appropriate response to violent extremists who threaten access to information in the academy is not to give in to their demands by cancelling the event. As is demonstrated over-and-over elsewhere, appeasing Antifa ideologues only emboldens them to make more demands. Their goal is to silence opposition through intimidation and violence.”
On January 7th, The Post Millennial reported that a Professor at the University of Calgary tweeted about failing students if they cited Jordan Peterson. Ted McCoy, chair of the Law and Society program at the UoC, apologized shortly after his tweet went viral, asserting that the flippant comment was “a joke” and insisting that he did “take seriously … students’ right to free expression.”
In wake of the social media fallout, sources from within the University of Calgary have come forward to The Post Millennial to assert that McCoy’s comments were anything but a joke. The identities of those who spoke out are being protected for their safety due to their proximity to McCoy.
“He absolutely was not kidding. He absolutely does penalize students for holding divergent views.” Said one source, a former professor at the University of Calgary and current professor at another institution.
“He literally tells students to not read Quillette,” the source revealed, drawing from discussions had with McCoy’s students, “He’s walked into class and expressed how disappointed he was in the amount of conservative ideas being expressed.”
The source noted that students often came to her with complaints about McCoy’s in-class political proselytizing, fearing poor grades because of their ideological differences.
“Students have just learned to shut-up and parrot whatever he wants to hear.” The source revealed that McCoy was the only professor teaching a mandatory capstone exit course required for some students’ successful degree completion in the Law and Society program.
Being the coordinator for the Law and Society program, McCoy is also responsible for hiring new faculty members. Noting that a great deal of faculty has abruptly ceased teaching in the program, the source claimed that all of the new hires have been people who “share [McCoy’s] ideological perspective” and “have no qualifications whatsoever to teach Law and Society.”
A student who took McCoy’s class corroborated the faculty member’s comments.
“I have actually told other students to not enroll in the Law and Society program because of McCoy,” he said, noting a number of distressing interactions with his former Professor.
“The first day of class, within the first fifteen minutes, he explicitly states ‘the goal of this course is to radicalize you. Before you leave University, I want to radicalize you.’” The former student, who identifies as “left-wing” politically, says McCoy immediately introduced the class to a bizarre coding system by which participation was noted for grades.
“[McCoy told students] that he will make a mark beside your name when you contribute to the class discussion. He told us he has a symbol system for if a student made an insightful comment, all the way up to ‘what you said was batshit crazy.’” The former student says the class was “immediately politicized,” with students fearing to vocalize their opinions if it contradicted McCoy’s ideological perspective.
The former student also revealed that McCoy assigned his own writings as well as books written by his Ph.D. supervisor as mandatory readings for the class, leaving students fearful to express criticism. When one student did, noting the lack of objectivity in one of the readings, McCoy berated him.
Recalling another class, the former student says that McCoy blasted Jordan Peterson to the class.
“He came into class with his head in his hands and looked upset. He was shaking his head and sighing.” When a student asked what was bothering the Professor, McCoy went on to complain about Jordan Peterson. “He said he had been reading a lot of Jordan Peterson, and said he ‘cannot believe’ how Peterson ‘thinks he knows everything.’”
After a student defended Peterson, McCoy reportedly went on a tangent.
“He said Peterson is basically espousing hate speech and he ought to be deplatformed in the strongest sense.” the former student said.
“I was distressed that a Professor would take such an obvious political stance in his teaching,” the former student said, going on to reveal he felt “unsafe” with McCoy’s control over his grade. Because of this student’s concerns about entering graduate school, he said he learned to stop challenging McCoy.
“I basically kowtowed in my papers. I would just tell him what he wanted to hear.” Going on to note that conservative students never spoke in class out of fear of angering McCoy.
Since graduating, the former student says his friends who have entered McCoy’s class have texted him for help navigating the Professor’s extreme ideology.
“[McCoy] was unequivocally one of the worst professors I’ve ever had, and it was because the class was more about politics than it was critical thinking.”
On January 9th, McCoy tweeted and quickly deleted a post suggesting he had only apologized at the advice of administration.
The Post Millennial has reached out to Dr. Ted McCoy, the Law and Society program, and Sociology department head Dr. Fiona Nelson at the University of Calgary, but have not received a response by the time of publication.
Lawyer John Carpay is the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca), which acts for The Free Speech Club at UBC.
Will the University of British Columbia (UBC) honour and uphold its own commitment to free expression, or pander to violent Antifa thugs?
This question arises from UBC’s cancellation of a campus event featuring journalist Andy Ngo, who is also editor-at-large at The Post Millennial. Mr. Ngo was physically assaulted by Antifa (short for “anti-fascist”) in Portland, Oregon in June of 2019, while covering a protest.
In November 2019, UBC approved a speaking engagement for Mr. Ngo, sponsored by The Free Speech Club, entitled “Understanding ANTIFA Violence.” The Free Speech Club paid a deposit to UBC, set up an Eventbrite page, and booked the flight for Mr. Ngo to come to Vancouver on January 29, 2020.
On December 20, 2019, UBC suddenly cancelled the January event, citing vague “safety and security” concerns without specifics.
Mr. Ngo, who is of Southeast Asian descent and is openly gay, has frequently reported on Antifa protests and violence, making both himself and his work a target of Antifa. Antifa is a loosely organized coalition of left-wing activists and self-described anarchists who use direct action, including vandalism, physical violence, threats, cyber attacks, and blockades, often to shut down events or protest opinions they oppose. Antifa protestors typically dress in black and wear masks to hide their faces.
Pandering to Antifa is completely contrary to how UBC describes itself: “a forum where ideas can be expressed, debated, and challenged, and where participants can gain insight and greater mutual understanding.” Cancelling an event obviously prevents people from gaining “insight” and “greater mutual understanding.”
UBC claims to support the freedom “to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion” for students as well as invited guests. UBC claims that “suppression of this freedom, whether by institutions of the state, the officers of the University, or the actions of private individuals, would prevent the University from carrying out its primary functions.” UBC clearly recognizes that free speech is threatened not only by censorship from the authorities above, but also by censorship from the mob below: “the actions of private individuals.” The freedom to speak–along with the equally important right of people to hear and listen to diverse opinions–cannot exist when individuals shut down events by screaming, shouting, throwing stink bombs, pulling fire alarms, vandalizing property, threatening violence, or physically obstructing access to events.
Antifa is very clever to wrap itself in the undeniably admirable cloak of “anti-fascism.” Yet Antifa uses violence, threats of violence, and physical obstruction as methods to silence speakers they disagree with. These are the same tactics used by fascists across Europe in the 1930s, who rejected debate and intellectual inquiry and instead took action to silence their opponents.
Using physical force (whether violent or non-violent) to silence opponents is not limited to Antifa.
For example, the University of Alberta in 2015 condoned a mob physically obstructing a peaceful, stationary pro-life display on campus. Using sheets, towels, banners, and mega-phones, the mob made it impossible for passers-by to view the signs. The mob effectively silenced intellectual discussion and inquiry. Prior to this physical obstruction and disruption of a university-approved campus event, the University’s president had stated publicly that the pro-life group was entitled to express its opinions on campus. But her statement was not taken seriously by campus security or anyone else. The University’s campus security repeatedly told members of the obstructing mob that they were violating the Code of Student Behaviour, which expressly prohibits interrupting and obstructing university-related activities and events. Yet campus security took no action to stop the obstruction, or to discipline students who boasted publicly on social media about their success in silencing a message they disagreed with.
The University of Alberta ignored the fact that any threat to safety and security that may have existed on campus came uniquely from those who physically obstructed and loudly interrupted a university-approved event. Rather than render an invoice to the self-identified and self-confessed rule-breakers, the University instead told the small pro-life club that it could no longer set up a display on campus unless it first paid $17,500 in security fees.
This blame-the-victim approach is wilfully blind to reality. Blaming the victim means ignoring the important distinction between those merely exercising their legal rights to express opinions peacefully in a free society, and those who threaten safety and security by breaking university rules against obstructing and blockading campus events. Universities with legitimate concerns about security costs should present invoices to those who openly, publicly and proudly threaten safety and security by breaking university rules. These students should also be disciplined for misconduct, up to and including expulsion from the university.
To date, few Canadians have cared much about mob censorship (perhaps because almost all of it has been directed against pro-lifers). Respect for free speech in Canadian society depends on Canadians having a thorough understanding of why free speech is necessary to the pursuit of truth, and beneficial to the development of good policies and just laws. Supporting freedom of expression only for opinions you agree with does not qualify as support for free expression. A society which thinks that it’s OK to suppress one opinion is not going to fight, suffer or sacrifice to defend another opinion.
Andy Ngo was invited to speak at UBC on January 29 about “Understanding Antifa Violence,” yet UBC ironically cancelled the event for fear of Antifa violence. How perverse: a man assaulted and injured by Antifa is prevented by UBC from speaking out against Antifa violence, because UBC seeks to appease potential Antifa violence.
By pandering to threats of Antifa violence, UBC emboldens and empowers Antifa. If UBC does not reverse its decision to cancel the January 29, 2020 event, then Antifa will see itself–accurately–as having the right to decide who can and cannot speak on campus, based on Antifa’s beliefs and values. Antifa will learn that their actions shut down conversation and cause fear, and thus their violent methods are, in effect, rewarded.
UBC President Santa Ono needs to ask himself whether he actually agrees that “UBC must be an open forum where members of the university have the freedom ‘to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion.’” Does Dr. Ono agree that “all members of the University must recognize this fundamental principle and must share responsibility for supporting, safeguarding and preserving this central freedom”?
UBC claims that “[b]ehaviour that obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas that are safe and accepted, but of those which may be unpopular or even abhorrent, vitally threatens the integrity of the University’s forum. Such behaviour cannot be tolerated.”
By canceling Andy Ngo’s January 29 event, UBC is tolerating and encouraging Antifa-like “behaviour that obstructs free and full discussion.”
UBC has until January 10, 2020, to reverse its cancelation decision. If UBC does not honour its original commitment to have the January 29 event proceed, it may have to explain its position in court.