Recently in Sun columns Category
My Mar. 24, 2012 Sun column;
Obama's sleight of hand
Feigned support of Keystone pipeline by the U.S. president will only fuel gas prices for the American market
U.S. President Barack Obama posed in front of a stack of pipes this week, promising to cut through the red tape on the southern leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas.
Which is great. Except that the Oklahoma-to-Texas part of the pipeline was already approved. It had nothing to do with Obama — he only has jurisdiction over the part of the pipeline that crosses the Canada-U.S. border. And he vetoed that part of the pipe last fall.
So it's like Obama has approved attaching one garden hose to another garden hose. But he refuses to attach any of it to the faucet.
There is some utility to the lower leg of the pipeline — there is a bit of a bottleneck in Cushing, Okla., that this pipeline will address.
But it's the line from Canada itself that's so important — that could add about 800,000 barrels of oil a day to the U.S. economy.
That oil won't make Americans drive any more. It would only replace current U.S. imports from Venezuela — the Keystone XL would go all the way down to the very same Texas refineries where Hugo Chavez sends his oil, coincidentally 800,000 barrels a day. So it's a pretty straight swap of Canadian ethical oil for Venezuelan conflict oil. And Obama chose Hugo Chavez over us.
He made that choice last fall, and he's paying a political price for it now — gas prices in the U.S. are as high as $1.30 a litre, which is a shock in a country that is used to paying less than a buck a litre (they measure it by the gallon down there).
It's strange for Canadians to pay less for gas than Americans do. But then a lot of things have changed under Obama. Our unemployment rate is 2% lower than theirs. Our corporate tax rate is 20% lower than theirs. Our credit rating is higher. We haven't had any banks fail.
It's like Opposite Day meets Groundhog Day. We're stronger than them, and getting stronger all the time.
Keystone XL has been studied for three years by the U.S. government. The Environmental Protection Agency gave it a thumbs up. The refineries want the oil. All the states involved want the pipeline. Transcanada, the pipeline company, agreed to reroute the pipe in a politically sensitive region of Nebraska. Both the Democrats and Republicans there gave it the thumbs up. But not Obama.
The problem is that he actually hates oil — even though he is the world's largest consumer of it, between his SUV motorcades and his Air Force One jets.
He believes in electric cars — even though there is no market for $41,000 vehicles that only drive for an hour. He believes in solar panels — even though they're unworkable without massive subsidies. His own secretary of energy, Steven Chu, told a Congressional hearing last week that the government's mission is not to lower gas costs — but to get Americans off gas altogether.
Hey, great idea — when we invent that fantasy fuel of the future. But until that happy day — until dilithium crystals are invented — we're stuck with oil and all the wonderful things that come from it, ranging from gas for our ambulances and school buses, to petrochemicals for our iPhones.
You can't get off oil until you know what you're getting on to. And right now, there is no practical replacement.
Dreamy alternatives work for unserious people like science fiction moviemakers. James Cameron's movie Avatar talked about a resource called "Unobtainium." Exactly — we haven't obtained it yet. The president of the United States needs to be a bit more grown up.
Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline isn't going to stop a single American car trip. It will simply ensure that car is fueled by Hugo Chavez and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who must have been popping the champagne while laughing at Obama on TV.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Mar. 19, 2012 Sun column;
It ain't feasible being green
Dalton McGuinty has committed Ontario to a faith-based energy policy.
He believes passionately in the theory of man-made global warming, a theory that has been cast into disrepute through not only the misconduct of its high priests but by scientific observation itself: There has been no measurable global warming since 1998, according to satellite weather data.
But McGuinty's belief is deep. And he intends to build massive three-armed crucifixes across rural Ontario. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Rio de Janeiro is only 130 feet tall. McGuinty's eco-idols will be three times that height, but will serve the same imposing purpose.
Do not confuse McGuinty's belief system with a true faith. It is a superstition, the tenets of which are capable of being scientifically disproven. It is a perverse faith, in that it reveres the "environment" ahead of people who live in it. It is a most ascetic superstition, in that it demands we live less happily and less freely and with less prosperity — the opposite of, say, the Protestant work ethic that helped build Ontario.
McGuinty wants to build billions of dollars worth of wind turbines — to call them mere windmills is to mistake their scale. No mere flour mill requires a skyscraper-sized turbine on top of it, a blight that can be seen for miles. And, like the massive cathedrals of medieval times, McGuinty's three-armed crosses are to be paid for with tithes, from the little people.
In other words, through higher energy prices. The government itself estimates that electricity rates in Ontario will increase by 46% by 2015. That's an extra $1,100 a year, after taxes, for the average family just to get the same power out of a wall socket. That's like another GST.
That's called energy poverty.
It's not just hitting ordinary homeowners, of course. It hits industrial users of energy — that is, the very factories that McGuinty claims he wants to keep in the province.
By the end of next year, Ontario's residential electricity rates will be higher than any U.S. state other than Alaska and Hawaii. There are plenty of challenges to Ontario's manufacturing base that have nothing to do with McGuinty, or even with Canada.
But choosing to spend billions on solar panels and wind skyscrapers — and to jack up utility rates on purpose — is only hastening Ontario's decline.
There have been plenty of critics — good faith critics, who want to undo Ontario's shocking descent into the list of "have-not provinces" — who have criticized the premier's fundamentalist zeal in standing by his green schemes. Even Ontario's own auditor general has condemned the haphazard way in which the deals were announced, where the press release came before the business plan.
But that's the thing about religion, or superstition. It's hard to talk someone out of it. Instead of re-evaluating his province's course, he has done something very un-Ontarian: He has lashed out at other provinces, like Alberta, blaming their success for his province's failures.
That will come as news to the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who depend on the oilsands for work, on Bay St. and in manufacturing. But that's not the point.
The point of any zealot is to have an external enemy to blame.
Ontario doesn't need green energy. It needs cheap, plentiful energy — some of it from fossil fuels — and the jobs that will come with it.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Mar. 17, 2012 Sun column;
It's time to raise the curtain ...
Left-wing news website has activists make a puppet show featuring yours truly
A year and a half after my book, Ethical Oil, became a bestseller, foreign NGOs have struck back at me.
With a puppet show. Seriously.
A left-wing news website called The Tyee had some activists make a puppet show rap video mocking me and the oilsands.
It wasn't really funny, and it wasn't too musical. But it's tough to sound light-hearted when you're really angry. And the anti-oilsands left is angry these days because for the first time they're being scrutinized — including their sources of funds.
An extremist group in San Francisco called the Tides Foundation wired $15,000 to The Tyee to help fund their "tar sands" campaign. So The Tyee isn't an independent magazine — they're more of a lobby group. A puppet, which makes their puppet video a little bit Freudian. The fact they rely on foreign money says a lot about the lack of Canadian support for their ideas.
So far, no big deal. A big reason why we're better than oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Iran is that, unlike them, we allow free speech. Even billionaire bullies from San Francisco have free speech here. And there's no law against a Canadian website taking quiet cash payments.
But why should Canadian taxpayers have to subsidize this propaganda?
Because it's not just the Tides Foundation in San Francisco that's subsidizing this anti-oilsands attack. Tides has a branch-plant in Canada, too — Tides Canada, it's called. It is a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Tides Canada lets donors launder their gifts through their Canadian charitable number, and pass the money right on to The Tyee to continue its anti-Canada, anti-oilsands propaganda.
But a magazine is not a charity. Attack videos aren't a charity. It's a business. Or maybe a political campaign. But that's different. That's specifically banned under our tax laws.
Tides Canada invites left-wingers to give them the money, get a Tides charitable receipt, and then they promise to pass the cash right on to The Tyee to do their attack journalism. They're not hiding it. They're boasting about it. They have their own website showing you how to do it.
The Tyee couldn't get a charitable number on its own. No problem, the Canadian branch plant of those San Francisco bullies will make a tax loophole for them.
That's what it is. A tax loophole. So wealthy left-wingers from Canada or abroad can give money, get a charitable tax credit and have it go to attack the oilsands, and to attack me. And that donation can be 100% anonymous.
That's called money laundering. It's scrubbing the identity of the donor, giving him a tax receipt, and passing the money on to a non-charity.
The Tyee positively boasts about it on their own website, saying their Tides money will go to contacting "decision-makers" and to "mobilize citizens to take action."
Sounds great, for a political party. But that ain't charity.
I don't have a beef with some loser lefties making a puppet show out of me.
Frankly, I'm flattered. I don't have a beef with them attacking Ethical Oil. I love the fact that they're talking about my idea.
But I do have a beef with the Government of Canada allowing a San Francisco-based bully to set up a Canadian branch plant and play our charities directorate for a bunch of fools.
And it's especially infuriating, given that the Conservative government has recently condemned foreign billionaires for meddling in our democracy and attacking our oilsands.
But as long as this Conservative government gives Canadian charitable receipts for anti-oilsands propaganda groups like these puppet-movie makers, I think it's safe to say they're not really serious about cleaning up the problem at all.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Mar. 12, 2012 Sun column;
Non-Sun media types have created a fake scandalette
After weeks of front-page coverage in the Ottawa Citizen, a massive public rally on Parliament Hill this weekend gave us a measure of the public's outrage with the Robocall scandal.
Let's just say a sparse crowd showed up, in the most political city in Canada.
Roughly the number of journalists at the Ottawa Citizen writing about the "scandal."
The NSM — the non-Sun media — regularly ignores rallies with hundreds, even thousands of people in attendance, if the purpose of those rallies is not to sell their newspapers.
Last year's March for Life — a non-partisan, pro-life rally — had more than 15,000 people show up on Parliament Hill last spring.
In fairness, the Citizen did put a postage-stamp sized photo of that protest on its front page, below the fold. It was an extreme close-up shot showing fewer than 10 people in attendance. Like looking through a telescope the wrong way.
But even the Ottawa Citizen couldn't make this gathering at the newspaper's anti-robot rally look good enough for their front page. So they chose instead a closeup of a rally in Montreal, where a few dozen anti-robot protesters had the media-savvy to stand close together. That, plus a screaming front-page headline, took up two-thirds of the front page of the Citizen yesterday.
Hey, don't knock it. It's tough to sell the Ottawa Citizen.
But a few protesters is still more than the number of Canadians who say they were tricked by robots into not voting in the last election.
That's the whole excuse for the NDP-Liberal attempt to get a do-over of the election in dozens of ridings: The allegation that misleading robotic phone calls were so persuasive that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of voters simply couldn't find their way to vote. And that Stephen Harper is a democratically illegitimate prime minister as a result.
And yet despite the barrels of ink dedicated to this manufactured scandal, not a single Canadian has come forward saying they were denied their vote. Not one. That's the difference between a fake, media-generated scandalette and something that real people care about. Real people didn't get fooled by the robots. And they're not being fooled by the NSM now, either.
Sure, there are some NDP front groups that have set up web pages trying to get every teenager, foreign citizen and online robot to click on a button to protest the election results. Some of these lobby groups have claimed tens of thousands of clicks. That's not activism — that's slacktivism. Pressing a button on a computer simply meant those activists didn't like the Conservatives, nothing more. Sunday's protesters prove that.
In fairness, in Canada's biggest city, there were several dozen protesters at the anti-robot rally. One of the keynote speakers was Zafar Bangash. Who's he? He's an anti-U.S., pro-Iran extremist in Toronto. My favourite Bangashism is his description of Israel as a "Zionist parasitical state." Listening to him is like reading a translation of the magazine Der Sturmer from the 1930s.
Bangash didn't just crash the anti-robot rally. He helped organize it. He was a keynote speaker at it. But that didn't fit the NSM's narrative of these rallies being filled with severely normal Canadians who were tricked by Harperbots into not voting.
The robot scandal is fake. The real scandal here is the media pack's propaganda.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Mar. 10, 2012 Sun column;
To be charitable, tax breaks for political activism stinks
On Thursday, a registered charity called Tides Canada was summoned before the Canadian Senate to answer for their political conduct.
You don't have to be a lawyer to know that political conduct and charity work are not the same thing.
Charitable tax status is for real charities. You know — training seeing eye dogs. Helping widows and orphans. Feeding the hungry.
But Tides Canada is a political charity. They take money from anonymous billionaires, including foreign interest groups, and funnel it to Canadian lobbyists who do baldly political things. Like fighting against the oilsands, and oil pipelines.
I don't know why that's legal. And neither does the Senate. So they're asking questions about it.
For example, one of the lobby groups that Tides Canada has funneled money to is the Dogwood Initiative in B.C.
Their chief lobbyist, Eric Swanson, boasted on national TV about signing up 1,600 people to oppose the oilsands pipeline to B.C. Their campaign was called "Mob the Mic" — as in jam the hearings with a bunch of Occupy Wall Street types, just to slow it down.
That's political activism, not charity. But he got Tides charity money for it — and the Canada Revenue Agency approved all this.
How's that legal?
Tides Canada, along with its U.S. parent, has funded 36 cookie-cutter anti-oilsands and anti-development lobby groups.
But when asked by the Senate about their anti-oilsands partisanship, they denied it. They fund 36 lobby groups — but they're not taking sides. I'm impressed that they said that without laughing.
Tides gives money to Forest Ethics, the ironically named extremist group.
Forest Ethics is part of the Rockefeller brothers' $7 million-a-year campaign against the oilsands.
Were the Tides executives even under oath when they told the Senate they weren't anti-oilsands?
Forest Ethics — I hate saying their name, because it's propaganda in itself — is famous for their campaigns to get companies to boycott Canadian oilsands product. Last December, they pressured Chiquita Banana to comply.
That ethically challenged company — recently convicted of supporting narco-terrorists in Latin America — announced they would stop using "tar sands" oil in their banana trucks.
How many Canadian jobs did that "charitable" project kill?
That's what Tides does with its charitable status. They fund lobby groups that pressure foreign companies to impose anti-Canadian economic sanctions.
Ironically, it was Grant Mitchell, a Liberal from Alberta, who made the best point in the Senate hearings. Mitchell was the failed Liberal leader in that province until he was given his patronage reward. He's a bizarrely anti-Alberta, anti-oilsands senator. But he made a rare good point last week: The Conservative government of Canada itself does projects with Tides Canada.
Mitchell's point was clever: How can Conservative senators be upset with Tides Canada's political activities, if the Conservative government itself participates in them?
Good point. And it's time to change that.
It's time to stop the practice that the only political groups in this country that are immune from scrutiny are environmental extremists.
Like any other lobbyist or partisan, we can and must question their conduct; their national loyalty; their funding; and their compliance with the law.
Foreign billionaires and their local lobbyists are just doing what we allow them to do — what Stephen Harper allows them to do.
It's a problem that foreign interests are trying to shut down our oilsands economy, the same way they went after our forestry industry and our aquaculture industry.
But it's a bigger problem that the Canada Revenue Agency is allowing them to do so, and give charitable receipts.
And that the federal government is working right alongside them.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Mar. 5, 2012 Sun column;
Sorry, robots didn't highjack the election
The NSM - that stands for the non-Sun Media - thinks robots stole the last election for Stephen Harper by calling up Liberals and using their robotic powers to convince them not to vote.
The NSM is caught up in this conspiracy theory. It's become a mania. They've whipped each other up. It's a study in the madness of crowds, of pack thinking.
It's like the NSM's other bizarre obsessions. Like the long-form census that the Tories made voluntary. Or the NSM's obsession with unfounded rumours about our soldiers' treatment of Taliban prisoners; or the fake freak out over a common parliamentary procedure called prorogation; or, more recently, the fake freak out over the right to have gay divorces in Canada for gay marriages performed in other countries.
What all these fake scandalettes have in common is the NSM deciding, all together, that they've found some Watergate moment that will make them heroes and bring down the hated Conservatives. So any facts that contradict their central theory are discarded.
Today's narrative is that robots stole the election. They say Elections Canada admits that they've received "31,000 complaints" about robots so far.
You couldn't pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV without hearing that stat.
Except that's not what Elections Canada actually said. They said "more than 31,000 contacts have been initiated with Elections Canada by Canadians."
Thirty-one thousand contacts. Not 31,000 complaints. What's the difference?
It means recent form letters sent in by Liberals and NDPers complaining about the scandalette.
In fact, robots have become quite a fundraiser for them and for a left-wing front group called Leadnow.ca -- http://leadnow.ca. They've set up a website automating complaints to Elections Canada.
Leadnow.ca is run by NDPers like Ian Capstick and Judy Rebick. Their "non-partisan" website has generated thousands of clicks on the Elections Canada website - just like clicking "like" on Facebook. It's enough for the NSM to scream that thousands of robot "complaints" are flooding in.
Even Americans are getting in on the game. Avaaz.org -- http://Avaaz.org -- a New York-based lobby group, has asked their members to contact Elections Canada, too. You'll remember Avaaz as the propagandists who tried to get the Sun News Network banned by the CRTC before we even broadcast a single minute on TV. They're asking their international membership to contact Elections Canada.
Talk about manipulating democracy.
But what did Elections Canada's actual 190-page report from the last election say?
It referenced hundreds of irregularities the 2011 election. Most of which were Elections Canada staff sleeping in or otherwise not showing up at a polling station on time. There were a few reports of shenanigans. But here's what they concluded, on page 3: "There was no conduct reported that would bring into question the integrity of the election result overall or the result in a particular riding."
In fact, their report calls media comments to the contrary "speculation."
So were there irregularities? There always are in a country of 34 million people and thousands of temporary Elections Canada workers. But Elections Canada concluded the results were not affected.
Why did the NSM not mention that Elections Canada concluded there was no change to the results?
Because that troublesome fact didn't fit their agenda.
Here's one more inconvenient fact. Not a single Canadian - not one - has come forward to say that some robot phone call made them miss out on voting.
Not a single Canadian was fooled.
Robots didn't fool you. Will the NSM?EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Mar. 3, 2012 Sun column;
Iron Burka descends on Middle East
The term Arab Spring is a dead dream, too sad even to be called a joke
One of the cruelest facts about Saddam Hussein's dictatorship were his two sons, Uday and Qusay.
With Saddam's approval, Uday had descended to a Paul Bernardo level of evil.
It was well known in Iraq that beautiful women had to keep out of his sight, for if Uday wanted a woman he saw, he would simply order his secret police to bring her to him, and then he would rape her.
Even brides out in public on their wedding day. Especially them.
This barbaric act happened so often, Uday had "rape rooms" specially built.
That is the depravity from which Iraqis were rescued when the NATO-led coalition liberated them in 2003.
Now comes news that Syria's dictator, Bashar al-Assad, has rape rooms. A video of one of them — a container truck, into which women are frog-marched to their doom — is on YouTube depicting this horrific crime.
Retired Lt.-Col. Jonathan Halevi, an Arabic-speaking counter-terrorism expert who used to work for the Israeli Defence Forces, brought the stomach-turning video to my TV show last week.
But it's not Assad himself who is the rapist — at least that we know of. It's his soldiers. They gang-rape women — and, according to reports, select the particularly pretty ones for their commanders. Some of Assad's more human henchmen are reported to have actually defected to the rebels after witnessing such barbarism.
Is this an attempt to morally defeat the enemy through grief and horror?
Is it just the sexual expression of Assad's cult of violence and death?
Is it a last unbridled act by Assad's soldiers, sensing the approval of their masters and knowing that they may die soon enough and so, like the Red Army advancing on Berlin, they became less than men and barely more than animals? Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter.
So then it's settled: We are for the rebels.
Except there's one thing about that. Al-Qaida is part of the rebels. We know this in many ways, including that, in response to Assad's depravity, al-Qaida dispatched a suicide bomber against the Syrian government.
So, on the one hand, we have a murderous dictator who has killed more than 8,000 of his own citizens and now countenances indiscriminate rape by his own forces.
So he's a mass murderer and worse.
And on the other side, we have al-Qaida — an unrepentant death cult that murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11 and kills westerners and infidels to this day.
There are no good guys here. There are only two evils: Assad's evil, protected at the United Nations by their dear friends the Russians and Chinese.
And al-Qaida's evil, protected or financed by their dear friends the Pakistanis and Saudis.
It is a given that Bashar Assad will fall — Halevi says it's a matter of short months; other experts like Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum give him as long as two years.
I tend towards Halevi's prediction. But what is certain is that what replaces Assad will be no less totalitarian — it will simply add a layer of theocracy on top of the existing dictatorship that Assad, and his father before him, have wielded for decades.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. This is the pattern across the Arab world.
One short year ago, the naive fools of the consensus media looked at the riots in Tunisia and Egypt and Libya and projected themselves onto the rioters.
Look, they use iPads and Twitter and Facebook, just like us! So they must be liberals and democrats just like us, too!
And there were some liberals there in Cairo's Tahrir Square, to be sure. But as is often the case, the gentle revolutionaries are quickly dispatched by the brutal ones. The phrase "Arab Spring" is a dead dream, too sad even to be called a joke. A new phrase must be coined.
Churchill looked at the Soviet Union strangling Eastern Europe and said an Iron Curtain was descending.
Given the theocratic nature of Arabia's revolutions, the "Iron Burka" might be more appropriate.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 27, 2012 Sun column;
Ontario needs Alberta's oilsands
Three years ago, taxpayers were forced to loan $13.7 billion to General Motors and Chrysler because no banks were crazy enough. Some of that taxpayers' money has been repaid, but $5.5 billion will never be recovered.
Could you imagine if Alberta's premier had campaigned against that bailout? Or even spoke out against it now?
It's not like the bailout worked, after all.
There are 2,000 fewer jobs at GM today and 800 fewer at Chrysler. As economist Mark Milke points out, the jobs that were "saved" — at least for now, until the next bailout — cost $90,000 each at Chrysler, and $474,000 each at GM.
That's not a typo. Taxpayers spent $474,000 to "save" each job at Government Motors.
What if Alberta's premier had said: "If I had my preferences as to whether we prop up a failing, obsolete, over-unionized company in the East or lower taxes, I'll tell you where I stand: With lower taxes."
Such a premier would have been called an enemy of Canada. Such a premier would have been accused of being selfish, and money-grubbing, and un-Canadian and destructive of the economy.
But that's exactly what Dalton McGuinty said Monday about Canada's oilsands.
He says he's against them.
He says they're the cause of Ontario's manufacturing recession.
Here are his exact words: "If I had my preferences as to whether we had a rapidly growing oil and gas sector in the West or a lower dollar, I'll tell you where I stand: With the lower dollar."
He claims that the oilsands are responsible for Canada's high dollar — as if other commodities, such as Ontario gold, or Saskatchewan potash, or the relative strength of our economy compared to the U.S., weren't most responsible for the high dollar.
As if the auto workers' union's demand for $75/hour had nothing to do with GM and Chrysler's troubles.
But those explanations don't suit McGuinty. Especially now that he has beggared Ontario and turned it into a have-not province, for the first time in history. So an external scapegoat is needed.
So the West can go to hell.
The one industry in Canada that doesn't need a bailout, that's creating six-figure jobs, that doesn't need a "stimulus program" can go to hell. But we're all expected to bail out Dalton McGuinty's union friends.
It's not even a case of "give me my bailout and I'll give you yours." The oilsands don't need a bailout. That's the whole point.
McGuintynomics is all about bailouts, and lobbyists getting subsidies for favoured companies, and government intervention.
Like McGuinty's master plan to build billions of dollars worth of windmills in Ontario. That's why Ontario manufacturing is uncompetitive: Electricity costs are up 65% since 1999 and are projected to go up another 46% in the next four years.
That's called energy poverty, and it's caused by premiers who build windmills.
Ironically, it's Alberta that will save Ontario. The oilsands are expected to create 65,000 new jobs over 25 years in Ontario — on top of all the heavy equipment manufacturing and financial sector jobs right now. And then there are all the taxes the oilsands pay.
But McGuinty can't take credit for any of that wealth, can he?
Once upon a time Ontario was the leader of the country.
McGuinty hasn't just made Ontario economically weaker. He's become national unity's small man now, too.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 25, 2012 Sun column:
Possession of a dangerous crayon
Where's the liberal media when a child's hand drawing of a gun leads to strip searches?
When Jessie Sansone was picking up his kids from school last week in Kitchener, Ont., he was asked to go to the principal's office.
There were three cops waiting there who arrested him, handcuffed him and took him down to the police station, where he was strip searched.
Then more cops went to his home where his wife, while caring for a 15-month-old baby, was told to go down to the police station, too. And then they searched his house. Without a warrant. Why? What did Sansone do?
Nothing. They didn't find anything in the house when they searched it. They didn't find anything on him when they searched him.
A warrantless arrest and strip search and search of his house. Why?
Because at school, his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun and, when asked about it, told her teacher her daddy uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters. Seriously.
So her kindergarten teacher called Family and Children's Services. Seriously.
And they called the cops. Seriously. And they arrested and searched him. Seriously.
Because a kid drew a picture of a gun. I hear rumours that some kids, especially boys, sometimes draw pictures of robots with lasers, too. And supersonic fighter planes. Maybe we should arrest their parents, too.
But the thing about guns is they're not illegal. Even under the Liberals. We didn't have a gun ban, just a gun registry.
What's the excuse given for the strip search by the Waterloo Regional Police? Inspector Kevin Thaler says it was done "for officer safety, because it's a firearms-related incident," the Waterloo Record reported.
Sorry. Did he just call a child's doodle a "firearms incident?" Is there so little crime in Kitchener that three policemen are dispatched to school because a kindergarten kid drew a gun, and more officers to the home?
The cops were stupid. We pay cops not to be stupid. We pay them not to be political, or bitchy, or to take sides in personal vendettas. They're supposed to be the grown-ups. They're supposed to use their discretion.
A child's drawing of a gun — which does not depict a crime, by the way — is not a public safety matter. It's not a police matter. We have come to expect this anti-family, snitch-style of justice from Family and Children's Services. They regularly abuse families with whom they simply disagree about things, like the style of parenting or religion.
Alison Scott, the executive director of Family and Children's Services, went even nuttier.
"From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there's guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child," she told the Record.
Really? So merely owning a firearm is a public safety matter, time for an intervention?
But Alison Scott didn't have a conversation with parents and child, did she? She didn't give the parents the courtesy of a phone call, or a casual inquiry. She didn't stay calm and normal. She went into nanny state mode. She went into KGB mode. She cut the family right out of it.
Question: Where is the liberal media? You know, the ones who freaked out a week ago when Public Safety Minister Vic Toews proposed a law to allow police to get basic information about their Internet use? Toews just wanted to let cops get your e-mail address, but they'd still have to get a search warrant for anything more. National freak-out.
Here we have a child's crayon drawing leading to a strip search, handcuffing and home invasion. Where's the reaction? Why doesn't the liberal media care about civil liberties when it's a property rights issue or a firearms issue or a family sovereignty issue?
That's the thing about civil liberties. It can't just be for pornographers or Muslim terror suspects.
Civil liberties have to be there for lawful gun owners.
And parents of creative children who are dangerous enough to draw a crayon gun.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 20, 2012 Sun column;
CBC wants censorship
The CBC is throwing a tantrum — using your tax dollars.
They had a lawyer send a letter to us here at the Sun, complaining because we criticize their wasteful spending, their lack of accountability, and their bizarre broadcasting decisions, like their big foray into Internet porn.
The CBC lawyer was really mad because on the Sun News Network, we showed a video of one of their senior executives, Kirstine Stewart, alongside a video of a France-produced porn show on CBC's new online channel.
Here's a quote from their letter: "Placing Ms. Stewart on the same screen as graphic sex scenes is indefensible morally and legally."
Just to be clear, the graphic sex scene their lawyer referred to was from a program on a CBC website. But to show that program, associated with a CBC executive, is apparently illegal and immoral in their eyes.
Uh, nope. It's called accountability. If the government broadcaster is going to get into the online porn business, they have to answer for it to taxpayers. Are they embarrassed?
The CBC's president, Hubert Lacroix, lost his temper and wrote to the entire board of directors of Quebecor, the company that owns the Sun.
Lacroix singled me out and said my show was "simply unacceptable, disgraceful, and intended only to tarnish the image and reputation of one of CBC/Radio-Canada's senior executives." He was also really mad that I called him a "wastrel" and "a money-burning, high-living, party-hard elitist."
Well, gentle reader, you tell me. Is a man who expenses $200 breakfasts to the taxpayer a wastrel? Is a man who throws a lavish five-star party during the Toronto Film Festival — even though the CBC had no film showing there — a "money-burning, high-living, party-hard elitist"?
I'd say he is. I wouldn't care if it was Lacroix's own money. But it's not.
It's taxpayers' money. Any cabinet minister who partied that way would be sacked.
But then Lacroix showed his real character. He told our corporate board that my show was "an act so low and so unworthy that it must be drawn to your attention" — and he clearly wanted them to rein me in.
So the president of the government broadcaster was writing to a private broadcaster and demanding that they censor one of their journalists.
Stop for a moment and think about that. Hubert Lacroix wants to censor the Sun. He expects the Sun's bosses to silence a particular journalist (me). He has his lawyer make threats implying a lawsuit. He sends a tear-stained letter to the board of directors.
What a bully. What a censor. What a man unfit to run a media company.
Could you imagine what it's like to work for him at the CBC?
Let me close by quoting the response to the CBC from Quebecor's v-p of legal affairs, Marc Tremblay:
"We do not know how things are done at CBC, but at (Quebecor) respect for journalistic independence is a sacred principle, one that is applied absolutely, and we cannot imagine by what right the Board of Directors could dictate how the news professionals at our media outlets should act with respect to either the form or the substance of their journalistic expression."
I work for a company that loves free speech, even if that free speech irritates a government bureaucrat.
The CBC is run by a thin-skinned censor.
Reason #462 they should be privatized.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 18, 2012 Sun column;
Media in a lather! #TellVicEverything
What a pleasure to see Canada's consensus media so concerned about the erosion of privacy and civil liberties under a proposed new crime law called Bill C-30, introduced by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
Government snooping didn't bother the media pack when it came in the form of the long-form census and its invasive personal questions — to be forcibly answered on pain of fines and even prison.
It didn't bother the media pack when personal data was collected from farmers and duck hunters for the firearms registry (including information about their romantic lives and medical history).
And the media pack didn't sympathize when consenting adults tried to sell wheat to each other in the privacy of their own homes. The Wheat Board's Soviet-style monopoly was more important.
But the fight against child pornography has Canada's press in high dudgeon.
To be sure, there are problems with the bill. It's called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. But in fact the law allows police to snoop on anyone, for any reason — not just for suspected child abuse. Literally any cop in Canada — and civilian staff working at police stations — can use the law. Not just the vice squad. Traffic cops, too. Even, bizarrely, the Competition Bureau. They have nothing to do with child pornography. They're business deal cops.
That's about 100,000 new snoops.
Under the bill, they can compel any Internet and cell phone company to turn over six different pieces of information about you, without a warrant.
Those cops and pretend cops can get things like your name, e-mail address and IP address (your unique Internet ID, like a phone number), just by making a written request of your Internet company. No need to go before a court to prove that there's any reason for such invasiveness.
To be clear, these cops will only be able to get basic info about you, not about what you're saying or doing or watching. So they can learn your e-mail address, but not what you write from it. They can learn your Internet IP address, but not what websites you're looking at.
For that extra information, they have to go to court and persuade a judge to get a search warrant.
So the grassroots mockery of the bill — thousands of people publishing trivial personal comments on Twitter, accompanied by the phrase "TellVicEverything" — isn't accurate. The truth would be TellVicYourE-mailAddress. Which isn't too much more invasive than what a phone book does, or a driver's licence.
Still, we ought to be able to have private e-mail addresses that government snoops can't find out for any reason or no reason. And that's another thing that the consensus media has missed. Today police call up Internet companies all the time, without a warrant, and simply ask for this information. There are no guidelines in play — it's however tough or persuasive or abusive the cop is, and however stubborn or co-operative or privacy-oriented the Internet company is.
It's unregulated today — whereas C-30 would limit those requests to six kinds of information, and require a report of them to the privacy commissioner. Those controls don't exist now.
This isn't a civil liberties meltdown like the left says it is. But it's refreshing to see the media and opposition care.
This week there was another Internet vote in Parliament, the repeal of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. That's a censorship provision that prosecuted dozens of Canadians for what they write on blogs, using private names, that others deem offensive. Real fines have been meted out. Even jail.
It's not TellVicEverything. It was SayNothingOffensive. For 35 years the consensus media accepted that law because it was used to prosecute conservatives and Christians, and liberals don't mind that. Only a single opposition MP, the great Scott Simms from Newfoundland, joined the government in voting for the repeal of that Orwellian law.
I'm a skeptic of C-30 because I believe in freedom. If only freedom — and not partisan potshots — motivated the consensus media too.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 13, 2012 Sun column;
Ready, aim, misfire
Liberals OK with guns if conservatives are the target
A left-wing freebie newspaper in Toronto, called NOW magazine, has published a photoshopped picture of the conservative mayor, Rob Ford, pointing a gun to his head.
This from a magazine that claims to be against guns and gun violence.
NOW magazine is unimportant to most people, but there is an important point buried amidst its smut: Liberals don't mind promiscuous suggestions of gun crime, if it's someone they hate in the crosshairs.
It's like when the movie, Death of a President, came to the Toronto International Film Festival. It wasn't about a historical assassination. It was a Hollywood liberal fantasy of George W. Bush, then the sitting president, being murdered.
Could you imagine if a conservative made a movie about the assassination of Obama? It would never have been produced; no one would have agreed to be associated with it; no actors would have played in it; no studios would have distributed it; no film festival would have screened it. No critics would have praised it.
Death of a President actually won six film awards, including the International Critics Prize at the Toronto festival, and another at the Banff festival.
Gun control? No. Hollywood doesn't mind when it's a Republican being murdered. They love Che Guevara and Mao. They even wear T-shirts of those mass murderers.
But the same violent crowd tries to tie any murders that they don't like to conservatives who use gun-like language or imagery. Take the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. A clinically insane man named Jared Loughner burst forth at a town hall-style meeting with her constituents, guns blazing. He killed six people and injured 13, including Giffords.
He was crazy. He was schizophrenic. He had been kicked out of school after five incidents involving campus police.
He wasn't political or right wing or left wing. He was just nuts. He believed in mind control, and something he called "lucid dreaming" — that everything in real life was just a dream, so you could kill anyone and it was just pretend.
But liberal media had made a decision: That this was the fault of conservatives. Because conservative politicians use military language, like all politicians do. The word campaign is a military term. So is the term "war room." For years, a popular debate show was called Crossfire. Politicians "target" certain voters. That's all metaphor. We all know that. But the liberal media couldn't help but hang this around the necks of the people they hate because Sarah Palin once used a campaign map with targets on it.
It was a blood libel against her by the very same people who had applauded the Death of a President movie. By the very same people who find the NOW magazine picture so amusing.
Liberals don't find guns offensive. If they did, they'd hate Castro and Mao and Lenin and Chavez and Ahmadinejad. They wouldn't have made a snuff movie about Bush, let alone given it six awards.
No. Liberals only find guns offensive when they're owned by law-abiding citizens who want to go duck hunting, or protect themselves from crime.
And liberals don't mind dramatizing and fantasizing about gun crimes or even suicide, as long as it's a conservative such as Rob Ford who's in the crosshairs.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 11, 2012 Sun column;
Censoring Hitler — and the past
Laws that destroy our civil liberties are dangerous, no matter who passes them
If every Jew in Europe had a firearm, do you think Hitler could have killed six million of them so easily?
He might still have been able to kill them. But not without a fight. Not like lambs to the slaughter.
Lucky for Hitler, the Jews in Germany had been disarmed by do-gooders long before he took power. It actually was part of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War.
These same liberals brought in censorship laws, too — under which Hitler himself was prosecuted.
So when Hitler took power in 1933, much of his work was done for him — civil liberties had already been limited, by the "good guys."
According to the great journalist and historian George Jonas, when Hitler started limiting personal freedom, a left-wing legislator stood up in the Reichstag to complain about it.
And here's what Hitler said: "Late you come, but still you come. You should have recognized the value of criticism during the years we were in opposition (when) our press was forbidden, our meetings were forbidden, and we were forbidden to speak for years on end."
It's a terrifying reminder that laws that destroy our civil liberties are dangerous no matter who passes them, and no matter what good intentions accompanied them.
The lesson is, don't let the government take away your rights.
In a crisis, the only way to protect your rights is with your own gun. That's why gun control was so important to Hitler.
This month, the Conservative government is finally repealing the Canadian gun registry. It was a well-intentioned law, enacted by Liberals, for the most idealistic reasons. Just like Germany's gun laws were.
Larry Miller, an MP from Ontario, noted the authoritarian streak in those who enacted Canadian gun control, and compared it to a gun control quote from Hitler. The opposition clucked.
They don't have to agree with him. That's the point of Parliament. But not according to Parliament's would-be censor, an old Liberal hack named Irwin Cotler.
Cotler doesn't spend a lot of time giving speeches in Parliament these days — at least not in Canada's Parliament. He uses his government-funded office to carry on a public interest law practice for people in other countries.
He's always issuing press releases about clients of his in places like Egypt or Bahrain or Russia. Which is great, but he's supposed to represent his riding here in Canada.
Cotler took time out of his busy international law practice to come to Canada's Parliament last week to condemn Larry Miller for noting Hitler's views on gun control.
But Cotler didn't just want to oppose Miller's views, or debate them or disagree with them. Cotler wanted to censor them.
He stood up and whined to the Speaker of the House of Commons that Larry Miller shouldn't be allowed to compare anything to Hitler — or at least anything the dear Liberal Party has done. He wanted that comparison banned.
Miller did not call Cotler a Nazi, or compare him to Hitler. Miller noted that Hitler relied on gun control.
Are we seriously not allowed to remember that part of Hitler's plan? Because Irwin Cotler so loves gun control, we're not allowed to mention that a brutal dictator did, too?
What other parts of the Holocaust does Irwin Cotler not want us to be able to talk about? What other words does Cotler want us to ban?
Irwin Cotler is a doddering old fool. He's long past his best-before date. He clearly has lost interest in his parliamentary duties — he loves jet-setting around the world for photo ops, with him posing as a civil liberties hero in the Third World.
Funny, that. Because his love for gun control and censorship here in Canada is the stuff of authoritarian bullies, not civil liberties.
And, by trying to forbid Miller from talking about Hitler's odious works, Cotler is interfering with the proper remembrance of the Holocaust and the promise to never let it happen again.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 7, 2012 Sun column;
Terror training camp?!
Ezra's just roasting marshmellows – and liberal views
Wednesday is the last day to sign up for my winter getaway called the Freedom Weekend. Or as John Miller calls it, a terrorist training camp.
But you decide which it really is.
As I wrote a few months ago, Sun News personalities from Charles Adler to Michael Coren to Krista Erickson will join me at a beautiful resort north of Toronto, for the weekend of Feb. 24-26, and I've invited enthusiastic Sun readers to join us for the fun.
We'll talk politics, dine together and go snowshoeing, have a campfire, the works. It will be like joining our newsroom for a weekend of great discussion, food and fun.
But to John Miller, a former editor of the Toronto Star and former chair of the Ryerson school of journalism, it doesn't sound like fun.
Miller checked out my website — FreedomWeekend.ca — and he literally compared the gathering to the Toronto 18 terrorists.
Here is an extended quote from his rant to show that I'm not taking this out of context one bit:
"Makes you wonder when was the last time a group of ideological warriors went north to train in the backwoods and plot to storm Parliament, blow up the CBC, seize the airwaves and spread terror across the land. Oh yeah, the Toronto 18 did that. Didn't police arrest the lot of them and call them the gravest threat to our democracy?
"I think a weekend with Ezra and friends could be something just like that.
"The only thing that sets them apart from the Muslim extremists is that Sun Media will be charging you admission."
Sorry, we're not planning to storm Parliament. Maybe we'll talk about writing some letters to our MPs. We're not planning to blow up the CBC. We just want to privatize it. And we don't believe in spreading terror across the land. In fact, we support our Canadian troops in the war against terror, and don't want that little terrorist Omar Khadr let back in from Guantanamo Bay.
Miller ended by saying "the only thing" that makes us different from those terrorists is that we charge admission.
What a disgusting man.
Why did he liken me, my fellow Sun personalities and Sun readers to terrorists? For one reason only: We're conservative, and we refuse to go along with him and the rest of the consensus media.
The fact that someone as vile as Miller has held senior posts at journalism schools and the largest newspaper in Canada is not surprising. Because both the Star and every j-school in the country believe in a uniform, official left-wing view.
They believe in every type of diversity — racial, sexual, ethnic — except for intellectual diversity. And instead of debating their opponents, they shun them or accuse them of crimes. Wrong. It's not criminal or terrorist to have a conservative point of view, to be skeptical of the gun registry or the Kyoto Protocol or the Wheat Board or David Suzuki.
Newspapers used to be places where various points of view grappled. But not anymore — is there anything as dreary as the conformity of the consensus media?
As long as we're alive, we'll be independent thinkers. By the way, if you want to join us in Muskoka, visit FreedomWeekend.ca now — registration closes Wednesday.
The only thing going up in flames will be roasted marshmallows — and the liberal monopoly on conversation.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Feb. 4, 2012 Sun column:
Moore can't face Hard questions
Should the Canadian government use your tax dollars to get into the online pornography business?
There really is only one way to answer that question. Which is why the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation never asked permission — they just went ahead and did it.
With your money.
CBC has a French website called tou.tv. They paid French pornographers for a series, called Hard, that they are streaming over the Internet on overnight service.
Anyone born of a mother cannot object to people having sex. And being a French porn star is a more reputable occupation than many other jobs in France, such as being the ambassador to the United Nations.
And those who believe in personal freedom generally shouldn't censor pornography on the Internet. Legend has it, that's what motivated Al Gore to invent the Internet in the first place.
But there are millions of porn websites on the Internet already, according to a good friend of mine. Why is the government of Canada spending tax money to add one more?
We don't even know how much it costs, because the CBC says that's a "journalistic secret."
That's the CBC for you. It's like the Lord of the Flies over there — no grown-up supervision. They're a bunch of unionized, overpaid civil servants who like porn and don't want to tell the rest of us how much we're paying for it.
But what about James Moore? He's the heritage minister, who is supposed to be responsible for the CBC.
Sun Media's Kris Sims asked him about the porn series. But instead of taking responsibility for the CBC and the $1.1 billion a year in tax money he gives them, Moore turned on Sims for daring to ask him such a question, saying she was trying to drive up public anger against the CBC.
But it's the job of independent journalists to hold the government to account for spending — and that includes the black hole called the CBC.
If Internet porn is really what the state broadcaster has descended to then, yeah, it's an excellent question to ask the minister who's funding it.
Moore could have said, "I don't interfere with CBC decisions."
Which would respect their independence but fail to give taxpayers accountability. Or he could have said, "That's outrageous, I'll stop it." In which case he'd be accused of meddling.
That's the problem with having a government broadcaster, it doesn't really work.
So it's no wonder that Moore lashed out at Sims.
But then he went further — implying that the CBC pornography is no worse than bikini-clad SUNshine girls. That's nuts. SUNshine girls wear swimsuits.
They aren't photographed having X-rated sex. And even if they were, the Sun isn't propped up with tax dollars.
But then Moore really blew his stack. According to Sims, Moore implied the entire Sun News Network was not a real broadcaster, but a sham — just a tool used by our owner, Pierre Karl Peladeau, to attack his rivals.
That's not just a baseless personal attack on a great media entrepreneur like Peladeau. It's also a slap in the face of the 100 people who work at Sun News, and have made it the most successful TV news start-up in Canada in more than a decade. It's also a slap in the face to our countless viewers and supporters across Canada.
Not to mention our advertisers and other business partners.
If Moore was some nobody, his conspiracy theories and insults wouldn't matter. But he's the minister in charge of TV stations — for example, he appoints the government regulators, called the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. And he decides how much tax money will be lavished on the CBC. He controls the fate of TV stations, including Quebecor's.
Moore's defence of the CBC porn shows bad judgment. But his vicious, personal attack on the Sun and our president mean he must immediately resign — or at the very least, recuse himself from any decisions affecting Quebecor and the Sun News Network that he so passionately hates.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 28, 2012 Sun column;
CBC taking bite out of ... Apple?!
Nope, not even a nibble — and why do we need a government music store in the first place?
The Canadian government has decided to start a new business, and go head-to-head with Apple's phenomenally successful iTunes online music store.
Others have tried to take on Apple. Canada's most successful hi-tech company, Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry, is having a tough time battling Apple's iPhone.
It's not surprising — Apple has a growing army of loyal customers and a constant stream of new products.
They made a $26 billion profit last year, and are sitting on $98 billion in cash. The only people more fanatic than Apple customers are Apple employees.
This is the market the Conservative government has set its sights on. The government's Crown corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, announced last week it's going to jump into the online music business.
Let's compare the two competitors. The CBC is creaking under the weight of no fewer than 10 different labour unions; its corporate culture is a toxic mix of entitlement and work-to-rule sullenness; it's run by political appointees, not real business executives. And they're going to take a run at Apple's iTunes, which has 88% of the legal online market for music sales. Apple has sold more than 10 billion songs online and now sells TV shows, movies and computer applications online.
That's sort of like a leaky canoe paddling out to take on an aircraft carrier.
There are other companies besides Apple selling online music. Good for them — good luck to them. May the best company win — and may the consumer win. But why the hell is the Canadian government getting into that business?
Does the CBC really attract the best business minds in the country? Is it a hothouse for entrepreneurial talent? Of course not. But they don't have to be. Because they don't have to convince any investor to put up money to take on iTunes, or any bank manager.
When they screw up, their CEO doesn't step down — as happened with BlackBerry's CEOs recently.
The CBC just has to go to the Bank of James Moore. He's the "Conservative" cabinet minister who keeps giving them corporate bailouts year after year — $1.1 billion in 2011.
Graham Henderson, a spokesman for the music industry, says it's an "entrepreneurial" deal. He says it's "good for creators, fans, investors and taxpayers."
If it's good for investors, why does it need government money? If it's good for taxpayers, why do we have to bail out the CBC every year?
Why can't we see the terms of the deal? Why is it a secret?
We're still paying for past government adventures in hi-tech businesses. The foolish "Conservative" government of Alberta once invested in a cellphone company called Novatel.
Oh, they were going to make a killing, and totally flatten Nokia, Motorola and the other private companies of the day. They even boasted their phones came with a free volume control button and a "function" button.
Taxpayers took a bath.
Politicians in France were even more audacious. They planned a government-run alternative to the Internet itself, called Minitel. You could only get it through the French government. It was going to be awesome.
But James Moore thinks he and his CBC friends will succeed where these other government-funded boondoggles have failed.
The CBC is a failure at what it does now. It blows through $1.1 billion a year, and it has been made irrelevant by the 500-channel universe. It no longer has a rationale, other than inertia. It's less relevant than ever, but more arrogant than ever.
Sell the CBC. Set them free.
Let private investors take the risks. Go take on Apple. Go buy BlackBerry. Buy Minitel. Who cares! Just keep taxpayers out of it.
If James Moore thinks expanding the CBC into the Internet business is what being a conservative is about, then he ought to look the word up in the dictionary.
We don't need a government news channel, and we don't need a government music store, either.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 30, 2012 Sun column:
Death and dishonour
Shafia murders the latest sad chapter in war on Muslim women
The jury in Kingston got it right: The evil Shafia family has been sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years, for killing the girls in their family.
Mohammad Shafia, his polygamous wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, and their demon son Hamed Mohammad Shafia, were motivated by a medieval belief that women are the personal property of men, to be owned by men, and disposed of by men.
Mohammad and his son Hamed decided the three beautiful girls in the family needed to be killed, needed to be drowned like kittens in a barrel. Because they didn't want to live in a cage, which is the norm for women in Islamic fascist states like Saudi Arabia, or the Afghan culture from which the Shafias hail.
Zainab, Sahar and Geeti, just 19, 17 and 13 years old, respectively, were murdered. Rona, one of Mohammad's polygamous wives, was murdered, too.
A quadruple homicide.
Paul Bernardo, Canada's most notorious serial killer, was convicted of three murders.
The Shafias killed four. Of their own family.
Judge Robert Maranger said: "It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime."
Difficult, but not impossible to conceive of it. Because there have been more than a dozen honour killings in Canada in recent years.
And there are literally thousands of them each year, predominantly in countries dominated by medieval, fascist interpretations of Islam.
That's what it is: A war on women. But not a war on all women. These are not Amish girls being drowned in a barrel. These are not Australian girls, or girls from Honduras.
What they have in common, in more than 90% of the cases globally, is their killers are extremist Muslim men. Bullies.
It's the logical extension of women being forced to wear the burka. Surveys from Paris, France, show that more than 70% of women who wear a veil say they do so out of fear — including fear of violence.
Forcing women to cover their face is part of the same toxic culture that says young women in Canada must live like young women in medieval Arabia. And if you subscribe to that culture, that code of living, then you can understand the brutal logic the Shafias carried out: If men own women, and women don't obey men, then men can kill the women.
While the court in Kingston got it right in the end, the Canadian government failed these four murdered women beforehand.
The terrified girls called authorities. They ran away from home. They told teachers about the threats of violence they faced from their father and brother. One even fled to a battered women's shelter. They talked to cops.
But every time, authorities saw they were Muslim, so they backed down. In the name of multiculturalism. In the name of cultural sensitivity.
In the name of tolerance, our tolerant society tolerated the intolerable. Only now that they're dead, have we roused ourselves to give a damn.
Either we believe in the Criminal Code or we don't. Either we believe in non-violence or we don't. Either we believe in the equality of men and women or we don't.
Either we believe that everyone is protected by the law — that no one is above it because they're a Muslim man, and no one is below it because they're a Muslim woman — or we don't.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 28, 2012 Sun column;
Toe-to-toe with Greenpeace
Comments reveal why group prefers stunts to debate
Greenpeace is pretty good at stunts — it's their trademark.
Sometimes it's jokes, sometimes it's criminal breaking and entering. Like when they broke out of the Calgary Tower and unfurled their propaganda banners in 2010.
Before that, they specialized in vandalizing oilsands mines and refineries near Fort McMurray. It's easy to get media attention if you're willing to break the law, and Greenpeace certainly is.
In gentle countries like Canada, at least.
So far, no Greenpeace stunts have been recorded in the world's largest oil-producing countries, like Iran or Saudi Arabia.
But stunts aside, what if you could sit down with a Greenpeace executive — no photo ops, no gimmicks — and have a conversation? Is there anything underneath the B.S.?
On Friday morning, I tried just that. The Canadian Bar Association sponsored a debate between Mike Hudema, Greenpeace's anti-oilsands executive, and me.
Ninety minutes of talk — no stunts, no crimes. It was illuminating — and depressing.
Hudema trotted out every shopworn cliché, rumour and slander about the oilsands — claiming it's anti-environment and even anti-aboriginal. (That last one is precious: The oilsands are the number one employer of aboriginal people in Canada. Which is good, considering Greenpeace is largely to blame for shutting down the aboriginal fur trapping industry.)
I made my points, too, about ethical oil — how the oilsands are superior to OPEC oil by four measures of liberal values: Environmental responsibility, peace, treatment of workers and human rights.
Back and forth we went.
So far, so predictable. But near the end of the debate, the conversation turned to how things would be different if the oilsands were somehow shut down. Besides massive unemployment and the loss of billions in tax revenues for the government.
His comments were amazing and show why Greenpeace prefers stunts to debates.
Hudema said two things that still have my head shaking.
He said the oilsands "feed our addiction to oil."
As in, people use oil because the oilsands supplies it. As in, if the oilsands weren't there, people wouldn't be driving.
We know this isn't true, because people were driving before the oilsands were a major producer. The U.S., which takes 99% of our oil exports, simply bought their oil from Saudi Arabia instead. That's what the oilsands do: They don't make Americans fill up their cars with gas. They let them fill up their cars with oilsands gas instead of Saudi gas. China and India are using more oil because they're no longer dirt poor, so they're buying cars too.
They're going to buy their oil from Iran and Saudi Arabia if they don't buy it from us.
Hudema's second whopper was more of a confession: Greenpeace doesn't have a clue of how to run the world without oil.
Hudema drove down from Edmonton for our debate. He jets around a lot too. Hudema calls for a green future, but when pressed on a real life version of that — as opposed to science fiction — he gets vague pretty quickly.
Sorry, we can't run cars on solar panels or windmills. Even experimental electric cars need electricity — much of it generated by coal.
Greenpeace is good at getting attention, because stunts and crimes make headlines.
But scratch beneath the surface and they really have no clue about how to get the world off oil. They just want the world to buy it from OPEC rather than Canada.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 21, 2012 Sun column:
Obama chose conflict Venezuelan oil over ethical Canuck oil, and movie stars over working men, women
U.S. President Barack Obama made a choice last week: He chose Venezuela over Canada.
That's what he did when he rejected the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have taken oilsands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
That pipeline would have delivered 700,000 barrels of oil every day from Canada (and from a new oilfield called Bakken that straddles the North Dakota-Saskatchewan border).
Which is almost precisely the amount of oil Venezuela now ships to the United States, to those same refineries in Texas.
With one fell swoop, Obama could have replaced conflict oil, from a belligerent, authoritarian OPEC regime, with ethical oil from Canada.
But he didn't.
Hugo Chavez, the bully ruler of Venezuela, is a serial human rights violator.
He's a Marxist, too, but that's a different matter. According to impeccably liberal human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Chavez has shredded civil liberties in Venezuela — crushing independent labour unions, shutting down newspapers and radio stations that disagree with him, corrupting the political system and abusing Aboriginal people.
It won't surprise you to learn that a ruler who treats his own people that way threatens other countries, too.
Chavez routinely menaces Colombia, a true democracy, even massing troops on the border and giving cover support to narco-terrorists seeking to undermine Colombia's government.
And Chavez's new ally is none other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — the two men share a hatred for Americans. And they have something else in common: If it weren't for oil revenues, they'd both have been toppled by now.
Venezuela sells an enormous amount of oil to the U.S. About 800,000 barrels a day. At a hundred bucks a barrel, that's $80 million a day.
That's about $30 billion a year America pays to its greatest enemy in the western hemisphere.
It's not just conflict oil, though. Venezuelan oil is some of the most carbon-intense oil in the world — even more so than Canada's oilsands.
So by replacing Venezuelan imports with Keystone XL oilsands oil, not only would Obama have been doing the right thing geopolitically, it would have reduced America's carbon footprint — which Obama claims to care about.
And it's more than environmental.
Venezuelan oil tankers don't give a lot of jobs to Americans. A few at the ports, but that's about it. Whereas a new pipeline coming down from Canada provides a lot of "shovel-ready" jobs for Americans still reeling from the worst recession in that country since the 1930s.
Not only would the pipeline construction create jobs, but Keystone XL would have been the largest property taxpayer in many of the counties through which it flowed.
But Obama made another choice this week: Hollywood celebrities over working men and women.
See, those Hollywood celebrities — mainly airheads, such as Daryl Hannah, or pro-Chavez socialists, such as Sean Penn — will raise tens of millions of dollars for Obama's re-election now that he nixed Canadian oil.
Whereas the thousands of American construction workers — well, they're from states like Nebraska that weren't going to vote Democrat anyways.
Obama's decision is a disgrace, but it's America's business.
So now our business is to sell our oil to Asia.
Not just for our economic success, but to prove we are an independent country.
If Obama doesn't want our oil, well, the rest of the world does.
Obama's decisions are bad for America. They're bad for U.S. jobs, U.S. energy security and U.S. foreign political entanglements.
But they're bad for us, too. Canadians love America — we did before Obama came along, we do now, and we will after Obama is gone.
But let's not sit by the phone waiting for Obama to love us in return.
Let's open up markets in Asia and grow up as a country — a country with friends and trading partners around the world.
It's about self-respect — and it will make America respect us more, too.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 16, 2012 Sun column:
Tempest in a pee-pot
Fascinating response by Media Party to Marines' urinating video
NATO soldiers can shoot Taliban terrorists. They can bomb them from the air. They can fire missiles at them from remote-controlled drones.
But they can't pee on their dead bodies.
That is the latest anti-American, anti-troops "scandal" being cooked up by the Media Party against four U.S. marines videotaped relieving themselves on terrorist corpses in Afghanistan.
The Taliban terrorist group — mass murderers — was outraged by the peeing. Its spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, actually said: "This is not the first time we see such brutality."
So the murderers of thousands, and the enslavers of millions, condemn peeing as "brutality."
All of which is reported with a straight face by our anti-war media.
It's not just our enemies who are calling it brutal. So are our so-called allies.
Arsala Rahmani, part of Aghanistan's "High Peace Council," said the peeing video, available on YouTube, will "leave a very, very bad impact on peace efforts."
Really? Is that really true? Is the peeing incident really the reason why Islamic fundamentalist terrorists want to kill westerners? Is it really the stumbling block — especially in a country where Internet access is a rarity except for the elite class? Is that really the problem and not, say, the incompatibility of a totalitarian Islamic theocracy vs. western liberal democracy?
Peeing has a great place in the annals of war. U.S. Gen. George Patton peed into the German Rhine River during the Second World War. He insisted he be photographed doing it — as a symbol of his contempt for the Nazis.
Could you imagine if President Franklin Roosevelt had denounced his top general and prosecuted him for celebrating a victory over a barbaric foe? And Patton was just a general.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a point of peeing on the German Siegfried Line when the Allies breached that defensive barrier.
There is a moral difference between micturating in a river and a fortress and on a corpse. And an essential difference between our side and the enemy is we fight with certain basic rules of morality and civilization.
But do not forget the currency of war is killing, and peeing on dead terrorists is hardly a capital offence.
Which is exactly how the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has treated it — loud, repeated national condemnations and calls for prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law. This after another round of lusty funding cuts targetting the Pentagon. But it's not just Obama who is happy to defame the Marines. Much more fascinating is the response by the liberal media.
Remember, the same Media Party condemned former President George W. Bush for the violent misconduct by rogue soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.
That, apparently, was Bush's personal responsibility, and that of the defence secretary. The perpetrators were prosecuted by Bush. But it was hung around his neck.
Not so with Obama — the Media Party has not blamed Obama, the soldiers' commander-in-chief. They imply Obama is the PR victim here, not the responsible party.
Allied soldiers shouldn't pee on dead terrorists. But Obama shouldn't throw the book at those exuberant soldiers.
And the Media Party needs to explain why it hanged one offence around Bush's neck, but gave Obama a pass on this one.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 13, 2012 Sun column:
Right down to the letter
Given a chance to refute the allegations against them, these antis prove Oliver was correct on all counts
Last week Joe Oliver, Canada's natural resources minister, fired off a public letter ripping U.S.-funded lobbyists who are trying to derail Canada's Northern Gateway pipeline that would go from the oilsands to the B.C. coast.
Oliver wrote: "These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada's national economic interest."
Those are tough words: Hijack, radical, kill, undermine.
What do the people who were criticized by Oliver's letter have to say in return?
Oliver said three main things about them: They're bankrolled by foreigners; they're radical; and they're trying to rig the rules of the review panel.
Did the antis dispute the truth of his three essential claims?
(Antis are a good name for them. They're anti-industry, anti-oil, anti-pipeline and anti-jobs. But selectively. They've never had an anti-tanker campaign opposing OPEC tankers bringing Saudi oil to eastern Canada. They've never had a protest against the pipeline that brings OPEC oil from a port in Maine up to Montreal. OPEC tankers even sail right up the St. Lawrence. The antis have never complained about that).
But let's ask an anti himself. His name is Eric Swanson. He's with a lobby group called the Dogwood Initiative. That's a great name. Dogwood is B.C.'s official flower. So it sounds very Canadian.
But in fact, the Dogwood Initiative is an American branch plant. Dogwood has accepted more than $620,000 from well-heeled U.S. foundations and their Canadian affiliates.
U.S. billionaires funnel money through foundations to fund puppet groups in Canada to fight against our national interest.
So what does Swanson have to say about Oliver's accusation that he's a foreign hijacker? Does he deny it? Is he ashamed of it? Does he express remorse or regret for taking money to do foreign interests' bidding?
Last weekend on CTV, Swanson was asked about the propriety of taking foreign money. His answer: "If I got dufflebags of money delivered from Martians from outer space I would still take that money."
He'd take money from anyone to fight against a Canadian project from any foreigner, even from aliens. He obviously can't raise enough money from real Canadians. They don't support him. But he has no pangs of disloyalty about going to foreigners.
Let's put Oliver's second challenge to Swanson. Oliver wrote that many of the people who signed up to testify before the government review panel are just jamming the system and abusing the process to delay it. What did Swanson say to this accusation?
Asked about it on CTV, Swanson didn't deny it, he boasted about it: "We helped sign up 1,600 people to participate at those hearings."
His website calls the campaign "mob the mic."
That's why the hearings have been delayed a year: It's been mobbed with names of anyone who can slow things down. Including foreigners. Elementary school children. Fake names. Even Captain Jack Sparrow.
Sixteen-hundred names. That's more than one-third of all witnesses.
What about Oliver's last criticism, that these antis are extremist radicals? Let's turn to John Bennett for this one. He's an anti with the Sierra Club of Canada, which has taken more than $900,000 from U.S. funders to fight against Canadian resource industries.
He told Sun News Network's Brian Lilley last week that oil was morally comparable to heroin, but actually worse in terms of death toll.
So when you drive the kids to school or hockey practice, you're worse than a heroin user.
That's just insane. These aren't reasonable people. They aren't quibbling about some detail in the pipeline project. They hate all oil. They hate all industry. They're antis.
Joe Oliver was right about the antis. They're foreign-backed, they're rigging the rules, they're extremist and they're proud of it.
EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 9, 2012 Sun column:
Pipeline review boss' double standard for accepting late registrations penalizes patriots
Today, the federal government panel reviewing the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the west coast begins its public hearings. Over 4,500 people — including many foreigners, and even minor children — have registered to testify, just to gum up the procedure.
Sheila Leggett, the clueless bureaucrat running the review, has lost control of the process. Instead of weeding out irrelevant, repetitive and non-Canadian witnesses, she unilaterally declared she'd add on an entire extra year of hearings so that every single man, woman and elementary school child in the world can use the review as some sort of political soapbox. Canada's economic development and thousands of jobs will take a back seat to Leggett's personal Oprah Winfrey Show.
Fortunately, adult supervision has arrived in the form of Joe Oliver, the National Resources minister. Yesterday he announced that if Leggett won't protect the integrity of the review from foreign-funded environmental extremists, he will.
"These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda," Oliver wrote in a public letter. "They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada's national economic interest."
That's all true. But it's worse than that. Leggett hasn't just allowed the panel to be swamped by foreign witnesses, such as Hugo Chavez's state-owned oil company CITGO, and environmentalist front-groups paid for by U.S. billionaires like the Rockefellers.
Being "hijacked" implies that Leggett is just a naive, passive victim of scheming foreigners. But it's even worse than that. Leggett herself is actively demonstrating bias.
Here's an example. The official rules of Leggett's panel say that people who wanted to register to speak had to do so by Oct. 6, 2011.
Clear enough. And rules are rules, right?
Wrong. Leggett kept letting new people register to testify against the pipeline after the deadline passed. Over a hundred new people were sneaked in after Oct. 6 including Kat Haber from Alaska. Patricia Rypka from New York. And Ines Gudic from Brazil.
These aren't experts in pipelines. They're just people who clicked on the review panel's website — little more effort than clicking "like" on Facebook. Yet Leggett let them sneak through and register after the rules said registrations were closed.
You can see the full list of 4,522 registrations online, sorted by date, on their website (the site loads slowly).
They're fun to click on. Some are Canadian. Some are fake. Some are duplicates. Some are minor children. But Sheila Leggett has agreed to hear from all of them. Even those registered after the rules said they weren't allowed to.
As a test, a representative of EthicalOil.org, the Canadian NGO I founded, contacted Leggett's staff to see if a pro-oilsands supporter could register late, too.
No way, was the answer.
If you're an anti-Canadian activist from Alaska or New York or Brazil, Leggett will let you jam up the hearings. Even if you register after the rules say registrations are closed.
But if you're a Canadian citizen who supports the oilsands, Leggett will slam the door in your face.
It's bad enough that Leggett has allowed foreign moneyed interests to hijack her panel. But by having two sets of rules for who can register — one standard for foreign meddlers, and a stricter standard for Canadian patriots — Leggett shows not only incompetence, but bias, too.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 7, 2012 Sun column:
A non-foreign affair
Pipeline review hearings allowing foreign input is ridiculous — we don't need another country's permission. It's all Canada
Who should decide whether Canada should build an oil pipeline to our west coast — Canadian citizens or foreign interests?
That's what the fight over the Northern Gateway pipeline is about. Sure, it's also about $20 billion a year for the Canadian economy and thousands of jobs. It's about opening up export markets in Asia. It's about enough new tax dollars to pay for countless hospitals and schools.
But it's really about Canadian sovereignty. Do we get to make our own national decisions, or will we let foreign interests interfere?
The answer should be obvious to any self-respecting Canadian: This is a Canadian matter, and Canadians should decide it. Unlike the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have crossed into the U.S., we don't need another country's permission. It's all Canada.
The federal government's review panel begins public hearings this week. But the bureaucrat in charge, Sheila Leggett, has done something bizarre: She opened up the hearings to foreign citizens, foreign lobbyists and even foreign governments.
Here's what Leggett says on her website: "Our job is to make sure that everyone who wants to talk to us about this project has an opportunity to be heard," she says. "We'll take whatever time it takes to ensure that everybody's views are heard."
The world's Canada-bashers laughed, then signed up to testify. Almost 5,000 of them. Including Hugo Chavez's state-owned oil company, CITGO. Including foreigners from Uruguay to Louisiana to Italy to Austria.
Then something really crazy happened. To ensure all those foreigners have time to talk, Leggett announced she was adding an extra year to her review.
Instead of telling foreigners to butt out, Leggett told Canadian workers to lean on their shovels while she listens to people who don't live here, work here or have any connection here.
It's not just foreigners. A classroom of children from Tahayghen Elementary School signed up. Maybe Leggett will build in nap time and snack time to her hearings.
Captain Jack Sparrow has signed up. Seriously. So has "Cave Man." And 20 different people, all with the same e-mail address: email@example.com. John Stevenson signed up under his own name. Then he signed up again as J. Stevenson. Same address. And on and on.
It's a circus. But the biggest threat isn't the clowns. It's the well-paid foreign professional lobbyists who used Leggett's weakness to take over the process.
Like the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation. They've hired the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation to "prevent the development of a pipeline and tanker port" in B.C.
That lobby group took $200,000 to do the Rockefellers' bidding. They're signed up to speak at the hearings.
San Francisco's Moore Foundation has poured in more than $9 million to Aboriginal groups on the north coast of B.C. to oppose resource development.
Their Canadian lobby group, Ecotrust, will testify to Leggett also.
According to research by Vivian Krause, the U.S. Tides Foundation and their Canadian affiliate have poured millions of dollars into 36 cookie-cutter groups to oppose Canadian resource industries.
They all sound so local and real — the Dogwood Initiative, the Rainforest Action Network, the Natural Resources Defence Council, etc.
But they're just tentacles of the same foreign foundation.
I don't blame foreign billionaires like the Rockefellers. It's normal for them to want to control other people, even other countries.
I blame their Canadian puppets for taking money to undermine their own country's interests.
One group, the Pembina Institute, was recently caught soliciting money from a foreign embassy to fight against Canada (they got $60,000).
On Friday, Stephen Harper warned that the pipeline review "cannot be hijacked (by) foreign money to really overload the public consultation phase of the regulatory hearings, just for the purpose of slowing down the process." So who's going to win?
Foreign billionaires? Or Canada?
The prime minister has now taken sides publicly. It will be fascinating to see if Leggett listens to him — or to Hugo Chavez and the Rockefellers instead.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Jan. 2, 2012 Sun column:
Grim reality check
A glance around the globe reveals a not-so-rosy picture
This will be a year of disillusionment. But it is better to live in reality than under an illusion.
Abroad, it's the year the so-called Arab Spring will bear its bitter fruit. Syria's dictator, Bashar Assad, will surely tumble. A year ago, some utopian fools, mainly in the press gallery and the White House, would have suggested he would be succeeded by some sort of democracy.
That self-delusion isn't possible anymore after the disasters in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, where dictatorships were replaced by even worse Islamic fundamentalist parties.
Barack Hussein Obama had promised an outreach to the Muslim world more effective than that of George W. Bush — a bumbling Christian cowboy, in the eyes of foreign affairs sophisticates.
Today, the Middle East is in flames, America is even more despised, and its influence at its lowest ebb since Jimmy Carter. Obama's much ballyhooed speech in Cairo in 2009 was an American embarrassment — no president has ever been so mealy-mouthed about democracy and freedom. But his audience listened carefully. They learned Obama would stand by meekly and do nothing, just as he was deaf to the pleas of Iranian democracy activists.
But to say the Middle East is an American policy failure misses the point. It's a failure for the people of the Middle East, who lost their chance for a Berlin Wall moment. The world is darker there and will get worse in 2012.
Europe is in for a reckoning, too. The artificial creation of a single European pretend nation, with a single currency and a central bureaucracy that often trumps governments in individual countries, is staggering to a halt. Is there any doubt that their economic laggards — Greece, Spain, Portugal, perhaps Italy — will collapse, either dragging down Germany and France with them, or causing Germany and France to escape from an economic treaty in which they subsidize perpetually vacationing unionized workers in the Mediterranean countries?
Lucky for the United Kingdom, it never gave up the British pound. The dream of a unified Europe was always a stepping-stone to the bureaucrats' dream of one world government. That will end in 2012, as will Kyoto.
The United States became disillusioned with its own president within a year. During the greatest recession since the 1930s, Obama chose not job creation or tax relief, but the opposite — the nationalization of that country's heath-care system, bank bailouts and a borrowing streak that has even his Chinese bankers worried.
In reaction, Americans have tilted Republican.In 2010, the Republicans won back the Congress with a 50-seat majority. Mitt Romney, a bland, centrist ex-governor will surely be the Republican candidate. He's not inspiring, but he doesn't have to be — Obama's 9% unemployment and a $15-trillion debt are all the inspiration Americans will need to change course.
In Canada, we had a spate of elections in 2011, and on the whole, Canadians voted for stability. Unlike America and Europe, we've been cutting taxes and reducing our deficits. But Ontario, the largest province, has been spending like Greeks and Californians. Can a Euro-style credit downgrade of that province be far behind? 2012 will tell us.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Dec. 31, 2011 Sun column:
All means all
Calgary mayor thinks religious tolerance is a one-way street, a point he made again brutally at Christmas
Calgary's Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi, has been held up as a symbol of the city's tolerance. Which is ironic, given his own anti-Christian bigotry in return.
Last week, Nenshi ordered city police, backed up with a ridiculously large contingent of private security, to arrest a Christian pastor and five of his congregants who had the temerity to lead a Christmas service in the public atrium of Calgary's City Hall.
Artur Pawlowski, lead pastor of Calgary's Street Church, had foolishly taken the mayor at his word when he described city hall as the city's "living room," open to all.
What Pawlowski didn't understand is that Nenshi didn't mean Christians. Nenshi meant his own co-religionists — no, not Muslims, but the leftist activists who had comprised the Occupy Calgary protests for two months with Nenshi's blessing.
Nenshi permitted that two-month trespass in a public park, claiming the "Charter" prevented him from evicting the socialists, communists, anarchists and petty criminals who inhabited downtown Calgary's Olympic Plaza.
Of course, there is no Charter guarantee to set up tents, do drugs and have public sex in a city park.
Here's how Nenshi defended turning a blind eye to law breaking: "It's funny, the number of people who have talked to me in the last couple of days who have said ‘the Occupy Calgary people need to get off Olympic Plaza so that all citizens can have rights to their front lawn.' And I say, OK, so all citizens except the ones you don't like should have a right to the front lawn. Because all means all in my opinion."
All means all.
Unless they're Christians having a peaceful, drug-free, sex-free celebration of Christmas in the people's "living room." Then Nenshi sends in boys with the billy clubs. For a pastor singing Christmas carols and reading Bible passages.
This isn't the first time Nenshi — or the city of Calgary — has harassed Pawlowski or his Street Church. Over the past six years, Pawlowski has literally been to court more than 70 times fighting against a series of tickets, charges and other fabricated penalties cooked up by City Hall — none of which was applied to Nenshi's favourites in the Occupy movement.
He has been charged by the City of Calgary for such horrific crimes as serving food and drink without proper permits.
But Pawlowski's mission is to bring meals to the homeless who are turned away from official shelters because they are still abusing drugs or alcohol.
Occupy didn't have permits for their food, either. But because Pawlowski does so in the name of Christian charity, Nenshi targeted him.
Don't take Pawlowski's word for it. Judge after judge has condemned the city's behaviour. One trial judge said the city bylaw officers engaged in "abusive conduct."
This year, an appeal judge said the city's bullying of Pawlowski came "precariously close to being excessive and an abuse of power."
For a few weeks, Nenshi's policy of anything goes on public property was a reprieve for Pawlowski. While Occupy Calgary was allowed to break the laws, Pawlowski was allowed to minister to the homeless, too. But now that it's cold and Occupy Calgary has gone back to their parents' basements, Pawlowski's brief enjoyment of his real Charter rights — freedom of speech; freedom of religion; freedom of assembly — has been curtailed.
Speaking of grown men who live in their parents' basement, Nenshi is once again enforcing the law with precisely the brutality and bigotry that Calgary's courts warned him against. And during Christmas, no less.
Nenshi is a left-wing mayor. That's not new — Calgary's last four mayors have been Liberal, as are most of its city councillors. He's a minority politician in Alberta — that's hardly new either, in the province that gave us everyone from the Famous Five suffragettes to Canada's first Hindu and Muslim MPs.
What is new is that the Muslim mayor thinks religious tolerance is a one-way street — a point he made again brutally this Christmas.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Dec. 26, 2011 Sun column:
Take off to the Great White North and join the Sun Media team
Hey, what are you doing on the weekend of Feb. 24 to 26?
I've got a suggestion: Come hang out with me and some of the Sun Media's most interesting personalities for a weekend of fun.
Along with my friends Charles Adler, Brian Lilley, Michael Coren and other great Canadians, I'm hosting something I call the Freedom Weekend.
And you're invited to join us.
We're all getting together at the gorgeous J.W. Marriott resort on the shores of Lake Rosseau, north of Toronto.
We'll have some panel discussions about current events — sort of like a live, in-person version of your favourite Sun News TV shows.
But the real fun is the informal part of the agenda.
For example, you'll sit with a different Sun personality at your table each meal.
So you can talk politics with David Akin over pancakes, or let the great Jacqui Delaney regale you with her tall tales over dinner!
Six meals, six chances to buttonhole your favourite Sun Media commentator.
And that doesn't even count the informal get-togethers, like the welcome reception.
But half the fun of being out at Lake Rosseau is being in the great Canadian outdoors.
It's absolutely gorgeous out there in the winter. We'll have outdoor activities too.
Come snowshoeing with me and Krista Erickson! (Don't worry, we'll actually have a skilled nature guide, too.) When you're out in the country away from the city lights, it's perfect for star-gazing at night.
We've got an astronomy evening, too. Seriously, this is going to be fun. My favourite — I just know it — will be sitting around the bonfire roasting marshmallows. I get the feeling that Charles Adler has some great campfire stories, don't you?
This idea is really unprecedented in Canada, the chance to spend a whole weekend with your favourite Sun Media personalities in a beautiful and relaxed setting.
It's great politics. And great food. And just plain fun. Of course, there's a theme. And it's right there in the name — the Freedom Weekend.
We'll talk about how to strengthen our freedoms here at home, and project freedom abroad to the world.
It's perfect for a political news junkie in the family — but even if your spouse isn't such a politico, there are so many other things to do at the resort, from hiking trails to the spa.
There's something for everyone. You can check out all the details, and see pictures of the resort, at our website — FreedomWeekend.ca.
It's my hope this turns into an annual event — a yearly winter getaway.
For folks who love the Sun newspapers and who are hooked on our new TV channel, this is the perfect weekend. It's a chance to actually be a part of the action — to really become part of the Sun Media team itself.
I hope to see you there — and don't worry about bringing your snowshoes, they have plenty to spare!EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Dec. 19, 2011 Sun column:
Yes, we have no bananas
Chiquita banana thought it could fire a cheap shot at Canada's energy industry and get away with it. That didn't happen.
Last week, Chiquita announced it was asking all of its truckers to boycott Canadian ethical oil. Since no one has invented Star Trek's dilithium crystals yet, that likely means Chiquita will now run on conflict oil from places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela instead.
Chiquita probably thought this would be a cost-free PR stunt. The company certainly needed a public relations boost. In 2007, Chiquita was fined $25 million for giving protection money to South American terrorist paramilitaries, including the notorious FARC.
If it sounds shocking to you that a fruit company would be financing terrorist groups, then you don't know the history of Chiquita — or the United Fruit Company, as it was known for most of the last century.
It was such a corrupt company that the countries in which it operated literally became "banana republics" - they were undermined democratically and became mere arms of the company itself. The rule of law, treatment of workers, civil rights all were subverted to the will of the United Fruit Company. We don't call them pineapple republics; we don't call them tomato republics. We call them banana republics, because of Chiquita banana.
Their terrorism fine shows that, as recently as 2007, their corporate DNA was still hard-wired to be unethical.
Not exactly the best folks to be criticizing Canada's oilsands, and implicitly supporting countries like Venezuela and Iran.
Hundreds of Canadians immediately expressed their shock at Chiquita shock at their smear that we're unethical, and shock that a company as sordid as Chiquita would be the smearer. Chiquita did what it does best — it simply deleted the critical comments from its Facebook page. Chiquita loves customer feedback — but not if it's critical.
This isn't the first time that a foreign company has tried to pull itself up by pulling Canada down. Lush Cosmetics did it — they operate in Saudi Arabia, where women must walk around in body bags. But they hate our Canadian oil. What hypocrites.
But this time the response from Canadians was different — and overwhelming.
Maybe it's because Chiquita is so odious. Maybe it's because we all eat bananas, and boycotting Chiquita bananas is a way to fight back. (Chiquita also makes Fresh Express salads, so boycott them, too.)
But it's bigger than that. Canadians are sick of being bullied by foreigners. Those foreigners include dictatorships like Saudi Arabia which threatened Canadian TV stations that dared to run ads favouring Canadian oil over Saudi oil. They include even allies like the British government which paid $60,000 to Alberta's Pembina Institute to trash our oilsands. They include U.S. billionaire foundations that have funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars into Western Canada to block our resource development.
We're sick of being interfered with. And we're fighting back.
Let's all fight back. Follow BoycottChiquita on Twitter, as hundreds already are. Visit Facebook.com/BoycottChiquita. Almost 1,000 Canadians had signed up as of last night.
Do what cabinet ministers like Rona Ambrose and Jason Kenney have publicly promised to do: Buy Del Monte or Dole bananas instead, not Chiquita.
Canada has the most ethical oil in the world. We won't take false and slanderous attacks from disreputable companies like Chiquita or anyone else.
The fight back against the foreign lobbyists has begun!EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Dec. 12, 2011 Sun column:
Muslim women win
New rule shows sexual equality is non-negotiable in Canada
Canada's new rules forbidding women from wearing Muslim veils while being sworn in as citizens is such an obvious amendment that not even the opposition parties can muster their disapproval.
Certainly not the far-left NDP. There are few special interest groups that the NDP wouldn't favour over our own Canadian culture. But today's NDP is first and foremost a populist party of Quebec. And that is the province most frustrated with the ever-expanding definition of "reasonable accommodation."
It is not reasonable accommodation to obliterate the personal identity of a woman and to blur the separation of mosque and state. Our liberal democracy permits people to dress as they please, but let that be in their private lives. An oath of loyalty to our country and our Queen is not a private act that may be done behind a mask. It is a public promise, a vow that must be made for all to see — including the citizenship judge himself.Even Parliament's Shiny Pony, Justin Trudeau, knew enough to keep his mouth shut. Trudeau learned that lesson when he denounced Jason Kenney's last move against radical Islam, a citizenship pamphlet calling honour killings "barbaric." Even a fool can learn, and so Trudeau kept silent yesterday.
There are sputterers out there, of course, hinting that Kenney, the minister of Citizenship and Immigration, has dark motivations of Islamophobia. Such innuendo cannot be taken seriously when leveled at the same minister who has brought annual immigration numbers to record highs, and who in the course of his business attends mosques more frequently than most Muslims do.
No, Kenney is not an attacker of Islam, but a connoisseur of Islam — literally, one who knows it. Kenney knows the difference between the religion itself and a barbaric medieval cultural custom which has muscled itself into modern life through the threats of extremist imams, usually in the pay of Saudi Arabia.
A survey of Muslim women in Paris suburbs found that three-quarters of them wear their masks out of fear — including fear of violence. It is not an unreasonable fear, as more than a dozen Canadian victims of so-called honour killings have learned. The prosecution of the recent quadruple homicide in Kingston — three Muslims sisters and their step-mother — suggests that the evil that demands women not show their face to strangers is a close cousin to the evil that kills those same women for doing so.
Make note of those who object to Kenney. This will be an informative moment. Make note of the Muslim clerics who object — mark them as un-Canadian, who fail to understand that there are some non-negotiables in Canada, the equality of men and women being one. Make note of so-called feminists who decry this decision. Don't laugh — there are some. There's an old, government-funded group of feminists called LEAF that is right now are at our Supreme Court arguing for Muslim women to have the right to testify in court with their faces obscured by veils. That's the new ideal of women's liberation for LEAF — women in a cage.
Make note of those in the media who tut-tut this as intolerance. Nine out of 10 of them mock any Christian who dares utter the gentlest peep about his religion in the public square. Their new support for Islamic medievalism isn't tolerance — it's a proxy for their own anti-Canadian, anti-Christian intolerance.
Canada became a bit freer yesterday. And Muslim women were the big winners.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Dec. 10, 2011 Sun column:
Fire pipeline bureaucrat
Opening Gateway hearing to 'anyone' — literally any person, any child, any foreign citizen — just a waste of time, moneyStephen Harper must fire Sheila Leggett.
Leggett is the bureaucrat chairing the government's review of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from the oilsands to the B.C. coast. That pipeline would create thousands of jobs and bring in $20 billion a year for Canada, based on today's oil prices.
It's a recession-buster, and it will open up Asian markets for us. It's as strategically important today as building the Canadian Pacific Railway was 130 years ago.
Leggett has been reviewing the project for two years already. Public hearings are set to start next month. But last week, Leggett announced she was going to add on an additional year for discussions. Just like that, this little environmental empress decided that thousands of jobs and billions of dollars will have to wait.
She's happy to explain why. There's a video of Leggett on her website.
"Our job is to make sure that everyone who wants to talk to us about this project has an opportunity to be heard," she says with a strange, 1,000-yard stare. "We'll take whatever time it takes to ensure that everybody's views are heard."
Foreign lobby groups like Greenpeace saw that bizarre video and responded with gusto — as of Friday, 4,453 people had typed in their names into Leggett's website, signing up for the right to make a presentation.
Her website allows anyone in the world — literally any person, any child, any foreign citizen — to simply type their name and address and get the right to testify before her panel.
It's as trivial as clicking "like" on a Facebook page. That's why Leggett needs another year. If another 40,000 people click on her website, will she delay things 10 years?
Skimming through the names is like reading petitions where wiseacres sign up as "I. P. Freely" or "John A. Macdonald." Much of it is just junk, to jam up the system.
The website allows people to write a comment. Many of them are word-for-word replicas of each other. It's a form letter campaign, arranged by professional environmental lobbyists. And it's working. The only question is whether Leggett is naive, incompetent or biased against the pipeline.
Some of the forms have been faxed in. They helpfully have the fax signature stamp at the top of the page, showing which foreign-funded lobby group is working to gin up names. Like the Sierra Club, which received a $909,000 contract from the U.S. Tides Foundation and their Canadian affiliate to gin up opposition to the "tar sands."
Those foreign billionaires are getting their money's worth — they've managed to delay the hearings by a year before they've even started.
Many of the names on the petition are real people, of course. One of the foreign interests that filled out the form is the oil company owned by the authoritarian leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. That company, called CITGO, wrote to Leggett, saying they don't want Canada to build a pipeline to the coast.
Leggett will listen with great empathy while a lobbyist for OPEC tells Canadians that we should not be able to sell our oil overseas.
So there are famous people. But there are unknowns, too. What will Jeanette Donato from New York have to say? What will Robert Coon from Chicago have to say? Who knows who these foreigners are? Leggett will soon. Because she's promised to listen to anyone.
She's Stephen Harper's bureaucrat, but she's taking direction from foreign meddlers. For "whatever time it takes."
What a fool. No court would permit such a gong show. And Leggett has court-like powers.
Last month, when Barack Obama delayed the Keystone XL pipeline from the oilsands to the U.S., Harper was appalled.
But Leggett was appointed by Harper. And she just pulled an Obama on our own country.
Leggett must be fired. Her job is not to listen to everyone in the world with an Internet connection. It's to make the best decision in Canada's interest.
Her Oprah-style hearings are unacceptable, and Harper should make that clear by sacking her.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Dec. 5, 2011 Sun column:
Keep it to yourself
Obama may not want our oil, but let's not sabotage ourselves
Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced his refusal to approve Keystone XL, a pipeline that would bring almost a million barrels a day of Canadian ethical oil to the U.S. to replace Venezuelan conflict oil.
That's Obama's idea of promoting America's interests. He's dead wrong. But what crosses the border into the U.S. is his business. He made his choice.
Our choice has to be to putting Canada's interests first. We should do everything we can to press Obama to approve Keystone XL. But we've got to work on Plan B: Finding other markets for our oil.
Which is why the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is such an obvious answer.
That pipeline would go from the oilsands to the B.C. coast, where it would fill up tanker ships from places such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India and China. Together, those countries are a far larger market for oil than the U.S.
It would sell about 550,000 barrels a day. That's about $22 billion a year.
It would be a win for Canada. And a win for the communities in B.C. ravaged by anti-logging extremists who killed their lumber industry. International lobby groups such as Greenpeace, along with billionaire foundations from the U.S., drove thousands of British Columbians out of work, and destroyed dozens of towns that depended on forestry.
This pipeline would help rebuild that damage, through construction and operating jobs and through tax revenues and benefits for Indian bands along the route.
Last week, Elmer Derrick, a hereditary chief of the Gitxcan Indian band in B.C., announced he'd come to an agreement with Enbridge for the pipeline.
Well, the foreign lobby groups who hate the oilsands blew their stack. Here was an Indian daring to side with the oil companies! How dare he!
Immediately these foreign lobbyists swung into action. Some claimed Derrick wasn't a real chief, or that he couldn't speak for the band — even though he is the band's official treaty negotiator.
This isn't a debate amongst Canadians. It's a war between foreign interests and Canada itself. Earlier this year, when EthicalOil.org, the NGO I'm involved with, ran TV ads comparing how Canada treats women to how Saudi Arabia does, the Saudi embassy threatened me with a lawsuit.
It's not just OPEC dictatorships. It's left-wing billionaire playboys in the U.S., too. The U.S. Tides Foundation has funneled millions of dollars to 36 different anti-oilsands groups in Western Canada. Canadians might think there's a wave of anti-oilsands feeling in Canada. But all 36 are cashing cheques from the same U.S. puppet master.
A handful of big U.S. foundations have given $190 million to undermine Western Canadian resource development over the past decade — including $10 million to David Suzuki's foundation. According to research by Vivian Krause, in 2008 Tides' Canadian affiliate paid two Indian bands $27.3 million specifically to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline. (Ed. Note: See CORRECTION below) It's working.
Shame on those chiefs for taking U.S. money to oppose Canada's national interests — and the economic interests of their own people. So much for self-government: Some B.C. bands are selling out their people for cash.
This cannot stand.
Keystone XL was stopped by Obama. He's a fool, but it's his decision. The Northern Gateway pipeline is a completely Canadian matter. It's about our national interests. And it's time our government — and any self-respecting Aboriginal leader — blew the whistle on foreign interference.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCYCORRECTION: Researcher Vivian Krause did not report that the "2008 Tides' Canadian affiliate paid two Indian bands $27.3 million specifically to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline." Ms. Krause reported the grant was "to fund conservation planning projects and conservation initiatives" and was earmarked for the Nuxalk and the Lax Kw'alaams." For her report, click here.
My Dec. 3, 2011 Sun Column:
Crisis of management
Attawapiskat reserve plunged into despair while $34 million is squandered
Each family on the Attawapiskat Indian reserve in Northern Ontario gets about $70,000 a year from the government, user fees and casino revenue. So why is their town a slum?
The NDP MP who represents Attawapiskat, Charlie Angus, released video showing that some people there live in Third World-type squalor. He blamed Stephen Harper. Angus has been received as a media darling, as if he was an investigative reporter blowing the lid off a secret scandal.
Except Angus has been the MP there for seven years. This is his town.
These slum-like conditions didn't pop up overnight. It's not a news scoop.
He's not a TV reporter blowing the whistle on politicians who don't care. What has Angus done to relieve the plight of his own constituents? Not enough to fix the problem after seven years.
But it wouldn't be fair to blame Angus alone. At least it wouldn't be any fairer than his attempt to blame Harper.
What about the people who are directly responsible for the Attawapiskat town? The Indian band themselves?
Attawapiskat isn't poor. In fact, it's extremely rich. It's got about 2,000 people in it. But it received $34 million from the government and other revenues last year. And the year before.
That works out to almost $70,000 per family of four. That's just the official revenues of the local band council. That's not taxable income. That's money that the local band council spends in town every single year.
That's all on top of regular income — what you and I would call "jobs." So every family gets $70,000 as a starting point, tax free, before they even work.
But the money doesn't go to individual families, it is administered by the chief and council. Translation: Politicians. And because we're all so afraid to ask tough questions of the chief and council because they're Indian, we let them get away with corruption and waste that we would never let a non-Indian politician get away with.
That's the soft bigotry of low expectations. It implies that Aboriginal leaders can't live up to Canadian standards of fiscal responsibility and fiduciary duty. It's guilty white liberal racism. It's racist, because it implies that corruption and waste are "normal" for Indians. And it's racist because it sentences the whole town of Attawapiskat to living under such a wasteful, foolish political leadership.
What are they doing with $34 million a year?
Some of it went to a school, but that was cleverly built on a diesel fuel spill, so they tore it down. Is Stephen Harper to blame for that? Is racist, white Canada to blame for that?
So more money came in. But the local band council built a gorgeous hockey arena instead. And they brought in a Zamboni. Those cost about $70,000 each.
There actually is a lot of wealth in Attawapiskat. You can't spread 34 million bucks a year around without it landing in some people's pockets.
Like all the very important people who work with the chief.
Chiefs, that is. The former chief, the acting chief and the deputy chief are all on the payroll. So are 19 councillors.
Could you imagine a town of 2,000 people with three mayors and nineteen aldermen?
Charlie Angus and the NDP have turned the town into poverty pornography to serve their own political careers.
They didn't blame the local Indian band. In fact, they blamed Harper for sending in an independent manager to take over from this wasteful, corrupt band.
Yes, corrupt. Spending money on a hockey rink instead of a school is a breach of fiduciary duty.
It's not racist to say so. In fact, it's racist to make excuses for such a band, because we'd never make excuses for a white town council that did the same things.
Stella Wheesk lives in a trailer with her husband and one-month-old baby. In other words, she's a victim here, not a perpetrator.
Who does she think has screwed things up?
"I'm not angry with the government. It's mostly the band office."
Clearly, according to Angus, she's just a vicious racist.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 28, 2011 Sun column:
It's time to sell the state broadcaster
Yesterday I debated against four CBC executives at once. It was hardly a fair fight.
Unfair for them, I mean.
Four on one would have been a good idea if the CBC's goal was to rebut everything I said four times.
But their own arguments made the case to defund the state broadcaster better than I did.
The debate was hosted by the International Institute of Communications — and the opening remarks were by none other than Hubert Lacroix, the CBC's president, fresh from his humiliating defeat at the Federal Court of Appeal. Last week that court unanimously ruled that, under Lacroix's leadership, the CBC would be forced to hand over information about how it spends our money to the federal transparency ombudsman. Yet he still had the chutzpah to ask for another another $1.1 billion bailout.
The CBC is 75 years old. It has received a government bailout every one of those years. If you add it up since 1936, including the interest on that debt, the cost of the CBC is greater than Canada's national debt, $571 billion.
When I revealed that calculation, the room of CBC supporters laughed. It was the sound of people laughing all the way to the bank.
Carol Off, one of the CBCers who was debating me, was particularly hard to argue with. Because she made all my points for me.
She is supposed to be a journalist. But she declared herself a public servant. As in, a government worker. Hey, that's my line!
She said she envied the state broadcaster in North Korea, because it never had trouble forcing political guests to appear on its shows, as Off apparently does.
I heard that authoritarian streak several times in the debate. Marie-France Bazzo, a former CBC host, said that in a democracy such as Canada, there are too many voices — and they need someone to sort through them and filter them. Not surprisingly, that someone would be her and her CBC friends. She said the CBC was a "way to structure society."
And you thought it was just an expensive channel on your TV dial.
Patrick Beauduin, the executive director of French CBC, wasn't as ideological as Bazzo or Off. He said the CBC's advantage over its private rivals is that it is smarter and more thoughtful. So, an extra helping of self-esteem and snobbery. He obviously has been hanging out with Lacroix.
It was sad, actually. Once, the CBC had a great mandate. Seventy-five years ago it was to build a national radio network. Perhaps 25 years ago it was to provide public affairs content that was available nowhere else.
But today, 500 channels from the History Channel to A&E to Bravo clean the CBC's clock. YouTube and Netflix are coming to finish it off. The CBC is reduced to airing Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. We need a government broadcaster for that?
As its national importance has fallen, its self-importance has skyrocketed.
We used to have a national gas station, called Petro-Canada. We used to have a national airline, called Air Canada. We used to have a national train, called CN. All had some political justification in the past. All are privatized now, and doing great.
The CBC had its moment. That moment is gone. Time to sell it.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 25, 2011 Sun column:
'Environmentalists' spend our millions in exotic locations while talking about the weather
The annual convention of global warm-mongers gets underway at the resort city of Durban, South Africa.
It's gorgeous down there. There's surfing right in the city. Safari parks aren't too far away. It's full of great hotels and fancy restaurants. It's a bit of a party town. Which is why it was chosen by the world's global warming professionals as their latest winter getaway convention.
This is the annual United Nations get-together to talk about reducing our carbon footprint, which means using less fuel.
Of course the best way to do that is for thousands of very important bureaucrats, diplomats, Greenpeace fundraisers and politicians to jet from all over the world to South Africa. The only place further away by jet would be Antarctica, but that would miss the point — to give their global warmists a free sun vacation in winter.
They went to Cancun last year. They've been to exotic retreats like Bali and Marrakech. They get to see their friends every year at another five-star resort, all paid for by you and me.
This annual five-star party has been going on for nearly 20 years.
It got started in Rio in 1992. It moved to Kyoto, Japan in 1997.
If those cities sound familiar it's because global warming treaties are named after these meetings. Between gourmet meals and tax-paid massages, these bureaucrats and diplomats cook up new taxes and treaties. Like the Kyoto Protocol, which would have forced you and me to pay more for fuel.
If these global warm-mongers wanted to reduce fuel use, couldn't they meet by Skype, or by conference call, instead of jetting to Durban or Cancun?
Just kidding. Then they couldn't go to the beach.
This conference is a good time to look at a major global carbon emitter, a multinational corporation that makes a big profit off Canada's oilsands.
Greenpeace is a $350-million-a-year multinational corporation, headquartered in the Netherlands. They are a huge energy consumer — not just jetting around the world to fancy press conferences. They've also got heavy-oil-burning ships. Greenpeace has the carbon footprint of a city.
Greenpeace attacks Canada in a way they attack few other countries. Because they can. We don't give them the Tiananmen Square treatment that they'd get in China if they dared to criticize the government there.
So they hate Canada, but they love us too. Because we're a profit centre for them.
The 2010 financial report for Greenpeace's Canadian branch plant tells the story. Their Canadian operations sent $2.28 million to other Greenpeace business units around the world, and paid a $595,000 fee to Greenpeace headquarters in Holland, called the Stichting council.
So that's close to $3 million dollars annual profit that Greenpeace wrings out of Canada.
That's pretty good money.
Just to be clear, that's Canadian money they're not spending on environmental issues in Canada. It's repatriating corporate profits to their executives overseas.
Perhaps Canadians are wising up. We're sick of being fleeced of our money and abused. In fact, according to Greenpeace documents, Canadians are abandoning Greenpeace by the thousands. According to Greenpeace's own statistics, their Canadian membership plunged last year by 4,000 people.
Four thousand Canadians quit Greenpeace last year. They see Greenpeace for what it is: A branch plant for the big multinational company based in Holland.
But Greenpeace doesn't care. They still took nearly $3 million out of our country to pay for their lavish offices and fancy jet-setting overseas.
Greenpeace used to be a charity in Canada. But they were stripped of that status by Revenue Canada, since they broke the charitable laws.
I'm sure Greenpeace will have a big contingent in Durban. It's their kind of get-together. Fancy, big budgets, five-star hotels, lots of money. A great opportunity to disparage Canada on the world stage.
Welcome to the Green movement in 2011. The only green movement they care about is the green of your money.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 21, 2011 Sun column:
Mental defect 'joke' a real knee-slapper
A few days ago Pat Martin, the MP from Winnipeg Centre, came unglued. He was writing on Twitter and he just went nuts.
He said the Conservative government was a "f------- disgrace" and was engaging in "jackboot s---." When someone criticized him, he told them to "f--- off."
The man's been an MP for 14 years, giving speeches every day. And that's the height of his eloquence.
So, how was his filthy-mouthed tirade treated by the media?
Why, he was the toast of the town!
The Globe and Mail actually ran a headline that said: "NDP profanity marks Parliament's hastened decline under Tories." Got that? NDP vulgarity is Stephen Harper's fault.
Martin's a New Democrat — the self-proclaimed party of civility.
It was their holy leader, Saint Jack Layton, who worked with his party's spin doctors to craft one last press release to be released after his death.
"Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear," he wrote.
I think I read that on a Hallmark greeting card once. Trouble with that is Saint Jack didn't live up to it in his lifetime.
Dr. Alex Sevigny of McMaster University went through question period in the last Parliament, one question at a time, and ranked MPs in terms of their rudeness.
Saint Jack was ranked the absolute lowest, the absolute rudest out of all 308 MPs.
Same thing with other leftist saints, like David Suzuki. He gave a one-word review of my book Ethical Oil to the Calgary Herald: "Bulls---," he told them. That's his "scientific" opinion. And he runs a "charity," you know.
It probably sounded clever in his own mind.
Not all left-wingers are rude, and not all conservatives are polite. But there's a double-standard in how the media treats rudeness.
On Sunday, I was on the receiving end of some invective from a leftist named Emmett Macfarlane. He called me a "mental defective" because he disagreed with my criticisms of the Occupy Toronto protesters.
Calling me a mental defective isn't even going to make the top 50 list of insults that I get in an average week. It was just some inarticulate boor reaching into a bucket of slop and throwing it at me. Boring.
But Macfarlane is a PhD, a teacher at the University of Victoria. He's one of those fancy types who always likes to prove he's more politically correct than you.
Here's an excerpt from a letter he wrote in the Globe and Mail in 2008: "I've taught at Queen's for five years. Several times, I've rebuked students for offensive language in the classroom. I hope that any private citizen would confront someone who spouts racist, homophobic or sexist language."
So he's a language cop.
Of course, since Macfarlane is a PhD, he didn't call me a "retard." He used the phrase "mental defective" because he's fancy that way.
I asked him if mental illness was a standard insult for a UVic teacher. He said it wasn't an insult, it was a joke.
But that's not any better, is it? If you have a child who is mentally retarded, is Macfarlane's joke funny? Is being retarded a moral flaw?
I'm not for censorship. I'm just pointing out that the leftist elites think of themselves as civil when they're as capable of as much rudeness and bigotry as anyone.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 19, 2011 Sun column:
No more witch hunts
Persecuted sure to win reprieve from ridiculous, costly hate laws
For 34 years, Canada has had a disgraceful censorship law that violates our human rights.
In 1977, Pierre Trudeau rammed through the Canadian Human Rights Act — an Orwellian name for a law that actually destroys real rights.
The entire law is a corruption of justice — it creates a kangaroo court, run by non-judges, that does not follow the same rules and procedures of real courts, but has massive powers to punish and fine people who aren't politically correct.
But the worst part of the law is Section 13, the censorship provision. Section 13 creates a word crime — the crime of publishing or broadcasting anything that can cause hurt feelings.
Back in 1977, that law was focused on telephone lines and answering machines. But 10 years ago, it was expanded to include the Internet.
So it even covers things like whatever you post to your Facebook page. Section 13 says "it is a discriminatory practice ... to cause to be ... communicated ... any matter that is likely to expose a person ... to hatred or contempt."
So if you publish anything on Facebook, or on your cellphone voice message, that might make one person feel bad about another, you've just broken the law.
Truth is not a defence to being charged with "hate" under Section 13. Fair comment is not a defence. Religious belief is not a defence. Telling a joke is not a defence. The law has nothing to do with truth or the right to have an opinion. It's about whether or not you've offended someone or hurt their feelings.
Section 13 is an insane law. So un-Canadian, so contrary to our traditions of liberty that go back centuries, inherited from the United Kingdom.
It's no surprise that this law had a 100% conviction rate in Canada for the first three decades of its existence. This federal law was copied by provincial legislatures. B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan all have censorship provisions, too.
I found out about this the hard way. In February of 2006, I published a magazine called the Western Standard. We reported on the major news story that month — riots around the Muslim world purportedly in response to some pretty banal Danish newspaper cartoons of Mohammed. Those riots killed more than 200 people, and we wanted to show our readers what all the fuss was about. But a radical Muslim imam in Calgary named Syed Soharwardy complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
He said I violated his human right not to be offended. He wanted to ban the cartoons, and his hand-scrawled complaint even bitched about the fact that I dared to publicly defend my right to do so.
I laughed off that little nut-bar. I mean, get a life — you're in Canada now, not Saudi Arabia. But to my surprise, the Alberta Human Rights Commission took his complaint and ran with it.
The Alberta government, using its provincial version of Section 13, prosecuted me for 900 days, with no fewer than 15 government bureaucrats and lawyers. It spent $500,000 prosecuting me, before dropping the case — and leaving me with my $100,000 legal bill. But sometimes freedom wins a round.
Last week, the federal justice minister, Rob Nicholson, stood up in the House of Commons and answered a question about Section 13.
The question was about a private member's bill, put by Brian Storseth, an MP from northern Alberta. Storseth has introduced a private member's bill, C-304, to repeal Section 13. But private member's bills have little chance of passing without the endorsement of the government.
But Nicholson did endorse it. He called on all MPs to support it, too. Bill C-304, Storseth's bill, is now effectively a government bill. And with a Tory majority in both the House and Senate, this bill is as good as done.
No more witch hunts by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. No more persecuting their political and religious enemies.
This is the best thing the Harper government has done in five years. Freedom is on the march.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 14, 2011 Sun column:
Obama prefers Saudi conflict oil
Barack Hussein Obama announced America's new energy policy: He prefers Saudi conflict oil shipped in on tankers over Canadian ethical oil in a pipeline.
It's a bizarre decision for the president of a country with 9% unemployment, that could use the thousands of well-paying jobs that will be created building the state-of-the-art pipeline.
It's not just jobs and the property taxes that the pipeline will pay in perpetuity. It's the energy security. There's no risk of a Gadhafi-style revolution in Canada.
There's no need to spend $1 billion on a Pentagon mission to secure Libyan conflict oil, with friendly Canada to the north.
But in some ways, Obama's decision isn't surprising. He has adamantly opposed drilling in northeast Alaska, though his own administration estimates that would provide an additional 800,000 barrels a day, almost as much as America imports from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela.
Obama doesn't much like drilling in the Gulf of Mexico either — his moratorium there caused many deep-water rigs to move to other countries, costing more than 100,000 lost jobs in states like Louisiana, jobs that won't come back for years.
Who benefits from Obama's refusal to use oil from North America? The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will. Those dictatorships are on track for $1 trillion in revenues for the first time in history.
But, as luck and geology would have it, we Canadians are sitting on top of the world's third-largest proven oil reserves — 175 billion barrels, 99% of it in Canada's oilsands. And over the past decade, the oilsands managed to push the Saudis out of top spot for the number one source of U.S. oil imports.
The Saudis obviously hate the oilsands. So do Hollywood B-list celebrities such as Daryl Hannah and Mark Ruffalo, who have tried to use this issue to change their airhead reputations.
Obama values the Saudis' approval and Hollywood's political donations more than he values American energy security.
Canada will still have enough pipeline capacity to sell all our oil to the U.S. for the next few years, even without Keystone XL. But it's simply prudent for Canada to consider what might happen if Obama does eke out another win next year.
The biggest market for oil these days isn't America. It's Asia. It's China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
There is a proposal, called the Northern Gateway, to pipe oil to the B.C. coast and ship it to Asia — 550,000 barrels a day.
That would put $20 billion a year in our pockets and could cut our trade deficit to China in half. It would be a strategic blunder for Canada not to speed up the approval of this pipeline.
But there's another idea too. Did you know that Eastern Canada actually imports most of its oil? We sell our oilsands oil to the U.S., but Eastern Canada burns Saudi oil. Russian oil. Algerian oil. We're an oil exporter, but we also import OPEC oil.
Let's fix that. Let's look at pipelines running from the west to the east.
Not built by any government fiat — we don't need another National Energy Program telling us what to do.
But let's at least permit it.
There is an MP who proposes doing just that. She's not a conservative. But maybe you've heard of her: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 12, 2011 Sun column:
Ganging up on the enemy
Shocking e-mails show Mother Corp.'s panic as we push for full financial disclosure
Three months ago, I visited the CBC's Toronto headquarters to shoot a brief promotional ad for a TV show I was doing on privatizing the state broadcaster.
But while I was down there, I thought I'd see if their president and CEO, Hubert Lacroix, was available for a chat. I presented myself to security, and asked if he or another spokesman was in.
No, they said, but they sent four security guards to ask me to leave. I waited for 15 minutes, and then had a good laugh about it on our show.
But last week, I received copies of an e-mail exchange amongst CBC brass — including Lacroix himself — about my visit.
They were in panic mode, all because I showed up at the state broadcaster to ask questions.
Literally 20 people at the CBC sent or received these panicky e-mails.
Take Julie McCambley, the director of radio production. She authorized the CBC to call the police to come.
Didn't the CBC just have a week-long field day about how laughable Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was, for calling the police when the CBC sent someone to his home?
Didn't the CBC mercilessly mock Ford for that — even though they were on his private property? I was in the public atrium in the CBC building. And a CBC radio producer says call the cops.
Other CBC brass started coming up with reasons to kick me out, too. Fred Mattocks, a CBC manager, sent a panicky e-mail around, saying "we don't allow any media to shoot in the building without advance permission."
And no one less than the CBC's Senior VP, Kirstine Stewart, asked, in desperation, "He needs a permit? R (sic) we a public space?"
Could you imagine the ridicule and scorn that the CBC would heap on someone else who tried to hide from their cameras in the same way?
They can dish it out. But they sure can't take it.
The CBC has an enemies list with people like me and Rob Ford and other conservatives on it.
For the people the CBC hates, nothing is off limits. Including its own journalistic independence.
One of the most shocking e-mails was written by Elizabeth Lea, the CBC's director of public affairs. She's a suit. She's not supposed to be involved with journalism.
But she wrote to her fellow brass: "Why don't we send 22 min to their lobby?"
She meant the comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
She was directing them to do a political attack. To do corporate work. To shape their comedy into attacking their political enemies.
And Lea's e-mail was not corrected by anyone. She sent that suggestion around — and no one said they don't do that.
In fact, the opposite. They got in on it. Bill Chambers, the CBC's VP for corporate affairs, said "No, I meant to send 22 min as a counter attack."
The CBC directs their journalists to do "attacks" on their enemies.
How many other editorial decisions have been made by suits — by Lacroix himself? Have reporters been told to "attack" MPs who have asked the CBC tough questions about their government funding?
But the most shocking revelation was an e-mail from Stewart, the senior VP.
She was in panic mode. Security has been called. But then she had a brainwave. It's an old trick she's used before to silence critics.
She wrote: "We need to hire this guy."
Seriously — to pay me to stop criticizing them.
Nothing else was working. So she reached for some of her $1.1 billion slush fund.
And Bill Chambers wrote back approvingly.
The CBC, in its own words. Thin-skinned people who can dish it out but can't take it.
A place so over-staffed that 20 people responded to my visit.
A place where journalists are told to attack political critics.
A place where, when all that fails, they just try to buy you off.
Our state broadcaster is a national disgrace.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 7, 2011 Sun column:
The western WallMedia elite reporting on Saskatchewan brings comical results
Brad Wall has been re-elected the premier of Saskatchewan by a landslide.
The final results were not available by the time this newspaper went to press. But put it this way: Tommy Douglas, Canada's first official saint (the second being Pierre Trudeau) never received more than 54% of the popular vote in that province. An opinion poll last week put Wall's Saskatchewan Party at 66%, with the man himself at a stratospheric 83% in personal approval.
Here's another statistic for you: 4.1%. That's the new jobless rate in Saskatchewan, as of Friday. That's down from 4.6% last month. So now it's barely half that of Ontario. Saskatchewan is a have province. Ontario isn't anymore. There's news out here.
It's tempting for the consensus media to ignore Saskatchewan. It has barely a million citizens, and most people in the centre of the universe will never go there it's flyover country for our media elites. So you won't learn anything about Saskatchewan by reading the Toronto Globe and Mail or watching the CBC. But you'll learn a fair bit about the media themselves.
Take the Globe's unintentionally funny story yesterday about Wall's looming win. Here's their headline: "Wall's lead unhurt by wheat-board feud."
The Canadian Wheat Board forces prairie farmers to sell their wheat only to the government but lets Ontario farmers sell their wheat to whomever they choose. The Globe is puzzled that Wall's opposition to the wheat board's bullying hasn't hurt him. Because everyone on Front Street in Toronto knows that the wheat board is what farmers want.
Perhaps we will see another headline from the Globe about how Wall's stubborn refusal to deliver half his speeches in French surprisingly did not hurt his electoral chances, either. Or how shocking it is that Wall didn't lose the election, with his inexplicable opposition to having Saskatchewan duck-hunters register their shotguns.
The Globe is on a bit of a roll, reporting news about the prairies from downtown Toronto. Last month, when Alison Redford that is, a woman became Alberta's new premier, the Globe ran a banner headline, "Alberta steps into the present." Yes, Alberta has won the approval of Toronto's opinion elites Alberta, home of the Famous Five suffragettes; Alberta, home of the first woman magistrate in the British Empire. Yes, those Alberta dinosaurs now have the grudging respect of the Globe, which has yet to appoint a woman editor-in-chief. Sometimes the Toronto narrative about the west is so strong, mere facts can't get in the way. After the 1999 election in Saskatchewan, Paul Wells gave his assessment in the National Post. The NDP "makes it look so easy,"he wrote. "Saskatchewanians wonder how long Roy Romanow's dynasty can last," and "New Democrats everywhere wish his luck would rub off."
Really? You wouldn't know that the Saskatchewan Party had just won the popular vote in that election, and pushed Romanow's governing NDP into a minority position enough to make Romanow call it quits. At least yesterday when Heather Hiscox, a CBC reporter, said this election was a "close race," she said it before the landslide had happened, not after.
Oh well. Let the Globe and the rest of the consensus media nurse their fantasies about the prairies. Judging by how few Saskatchewanians watch the CBC or read the Globe, no-one out here even cares.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Nov. 5, 2011 Sun column:
Saskatchewan booming: Premier set for a landslide return
Imagine a province where migration from other provinces is up 40% — where people are streaming in from places like Ontario and Quebec, and even Alberta.
A place that's cutting taxes — but still running a surplus. A place that the recession seems to have missed completely. Where is this lucky place? Why, it's Saskatchewan, the great success story of the past decade in Canada.
Saskatchewan used to be a socialist, have-not province. The NDP had such a lock on it that this rectangular-shaped province used to be called "red square." Not anymore — it's so business-friendly that companies have fled neighbouring Alberta to set up shop there. World commodity prices have helped. Saskatchewan is blessed with oil and gas, uranium, potash and wheat — all of which are in high demand these days.But Alberta is blessed with resources, too — and yet it's running record deficits and has higher unemployment. And Saskatchewan has always had these resources in the past — but never truly benefited from them before.
So what's changed?
The answer is red square turned green — the colours of that province's new Saskatchewan Party, led by Canada's most dynamic premier, Brad Wall. The Sask Party was born in 1997 out of the ashes of the former PCs. The new party, with Wall as its leader, finally broke the hammer-lock of the NDP and their labour union bosses.
In 2003, the Sask Party came within two seats of winning a majority and in 2007 it vaulted ahead, with 38 out of the 58 seats in the legislature. Monday is the next election, and the latest poll has the Sask Party at 66%, with Wall personally at 83% approval. The only real question is, how big of a landslide will it be?
Saskatchewan and Alberta both joined Canada on the same day, Sept. 1, 1905. They were originally going to be one big province, called Buffalo, but the Liberal prime minister of the day, Wilfrid Laurier, thought that would be too powerful a block, and would challenge Ontario and Quebec's dominance in Canada. So Buffalo was split in two, the western half named after Queen Victoria's daughter, the eastern half taking an Aboriginal name. For the first 25 years, the twins boomed. And then the Great Depression hit — and it hit the Prairies the hardest.
Both governments teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Farms were foreclosed, eastern banks were blamed, with some justification. And both provinces sought radical political solutions. Alberta turned to a preacher named Bill Aberhart, with a kooky economic theory called social credit. Saskatchewan turned to a preacher named Tommy Douglas, with a kooky economic theory called socialism. Aberhart's ideas — like printing his own money, called prosperity certificates — were thrown out by the Supreme Court. And in 1943, he passed away, with his deputy, the great Ernest Manning, becoming premier, a post he would hold for 25 years.
Manning got rid of the cranks and nuts and social credit, and set Alberta on a path of prosperity. Tommy Douglas didn't die, and neither did his socialist ideas. For the better part of a century they dominated Saskatchewan, and had a strong influence on national politics.And so the twins, which had grown together at more or less the same pace, started to look quite different.
Saskatchewan's population peaked in the Great Depression, and 80 years later, it's pretty much the same. Zero population growth. Compare that to its twin, Alberta, which is now close to four million people. Now, Saskatchewan is growing again. Saskatchewan's economy now is the stronger one. Now, resource companies favour the eastern side of the border, not the western side. Now, it's Alberta with the big taxes and regulations and deficits and labour union bullies. Saskatchewan was stuck in amber for 75 years. Brad Wall hauled it into the future — with a gentle hand and a smile.
Monday will be a landslide.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 31, 2011 Sun column;
Arrival of Mohawks takes Occupy up a notch
The Occupy Toronto protest has been pretty empty these past weeks — there are a lot of tents up, but they're empty. They're like flamingo lawn ornaments, or political lawn signs. They're for show.
Even two weeks ago, it was clear that most of the protesters there went home at night, when the media wasn't there to notice, because they wanted to sleep in comfortable beds and to have hot showers. Other than union organizers, only a few genuinely homeless people stayed there full time — people who were on the streets long before Canada's labour unions decided to copycat the U.S. Occupy Wall Street protests.
The whole thing was rather pitiful: Effete, elitist, rich, spoiled, entitled white kids pretending to find common cause with homeless and disturbed people.
Canada's protests have been embarrassingly lame — even if they have cost police millions of dollars in overtime.
So what's next? In the United States, Occupy protests have decided to stay relevant by turning violent. Oakland, Calif., saw outright riots. It's not accidental: This is the next stage of the protests, to spark a violent encounter with police in the hopes that the police response will gain them public sympathy and give them the political credibility that their whiny incoherence hasn't provided so far.
But last week, a group of hard-bitten men dressed in camouflage gear showed up and camped out in the ruined Toronto park, too.
They call themselves Mohawk Warriors. And they don't believe that the laws of Canada apply to them.
Being exempt from Canadian laws has become a specialty of the Mohawk Warriors. These were the folks who had a two-month armed standoff with police and the Canadian army in Oka, Que., that led to the murder of Quebec police corporal Marcel Lemay and the injury of 10 RCMP officers. The Canadian Forces had to be called in.
The Mohawk Warriors conducted another military mission in the Ontario community of Caledonia in 2006, when they occupied a residential development site — again, setting up barricades, harassing and threatening citizens.
This time when the police came, they didn't try to stop the Mohawks — they stopped the law-abiding community from fighting back. The illegal, gun-toting criminals were protected by the police; mere taxpayers were the ones driven out.
So now the Mohawk Warriors have moved on to their biggest and boldest target yet: Downtown Toronto.
They watched how the vegetarian hippies managed to stare down Toronto's police. And if these weak, pale suburban rich kids could occupy a Toronto park illegally, why couldn't some hardened Mohawk Warriors?
What's going to happen next? Will they start demanding that passersby now stop at a Mohawk checkpoint and show their passport? That's what they did at Caledonia and Oka. Will they block the streets?
We saw that when Tamil extremists blocked a major Toronto highway in 2009 — putting children on the middle of the road to stop cars. The cops didn't arrest anyone, and neither did child protection services.
The cops didn't do anything when Occupy Toronto illegally set up camp.
And now they're getting set to do sweet nothing, with the heavy artillery moving in.
Do you think they'll enforce the law if Mohawk Warriors bring their machine-guns to downtown Toronto?
Or do you think they'll pull another Oka or Caledonia — just cut a big cheque to the criminals, and give them the park?EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 29, 2011 Sun column:
CBC's plan backfired... big time
Last week, the CBC brought back an old war-horse named Mary Walsh to do a political attack on Toronto's mayor, Rob Ford.
Walsh used to be on the CBC's low-rating comedy show called This Hour has 22 Minutes. It used to be funny back when Rick Mercer was on it, but it's had a tough time since then.
The CBC said goodbye to Walsh a long time ago, and she spends her time doing the left-wing political protest circuit now. But last week, for some reason, they flew her in from Newfoundland for one last mission: Take a run at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
So they sent Walsh to his house, unannounced, in an unmarked car, to shout at him and block him from getting into his vehicle.
Rob Ford is the mayor of Canada's largest city. He occasionally receives serious death threats. It's surprising that he doesn't have a security detail at all.
And instead of interviewing Ford at city hall or at a public event, the CBC sent a C-list celebrity, in an unmarked vehicle, with no notice, to his home early in the morning.
She shouted at him, repeatedly pushed him and actually blocked him from closing his car door and leaving — all on his private property, Ford alleged. In the end, she wouldn't move — so he retreated into his house and called the cops.
It's astounding that the CBC ran the footage of that alleged assault and trespass. It wasn't funny — even when the CBC added in a laugh track. It was pitiful.
It was bullying. It was gross. It was a political smear job on the CBC's conservative enemy.
It backfired, big-time — precisely when the CBC is before the federal Conservative government, begging for another bailout.
So the CBC's war room went into overdrive. It decided it couldn't lose face.
So the unionized government bureaucrats at the CBC spoke with the unionized government bureaucrats at the Toronto Police Service, who are mad at the mayor, too, because he cut their budget by 4%.
And their union brothers at the police told them that when the mayor called the cops about the angry woman on his front lawn, that the mayor misbehaved.
The CBC said the mayor called himself Rob f---ing Ford, and called the 911 dispatchers "bitches."
That's what the CBC told the country. It didn't have the tape — but it reported the rumours anyway.
It was the CBC's own home invasion that prompted the mayor's concern for his safety and property. But then, to distract from their alleged lawless behaviour, they thought they'd smear the mayor, by critiquing the nuances of his 911 call.
When Toronto Sun reporters called our police sources, they denied the story. Mayor Ford didn't call anybody "bitches." He did swear in frustration, but not at anyone.
So who's telling the truth?
It will be easy enough to find out. Let's hear the audiotape of the 911 call.
The mayor managed to keep a civil tongue in his head when that big moose from the CBC was badgering him on his driveway, allegedly pushing him and blocking him.
He didn't hit her, he didn't shout at her, he just politely asked her to move.
She didn't. She's the alleged trespasser and assaulter. The mayor was polite, and then left his own driveway to get out of the situation.
So, maybe he swore at the 911 operators. Maybe.
Or maybe it's yet another CBC lie. It wouldn't be the first here.
They already lied by claiming that the mayor hid from them in the bushes. That's lie number one. Then they claimed they tried to talk to him at city hall first. Lie number two.
Let's hear the tapes. If he did not call the 911 dispatchers "bitches," if it's all part of the CBC smear campaign against conservatives, the CBC bullies who concocted this smear must be fired — and the CBC's bailout cancelled.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
Libya's new gong show
Gadhafi may be dead, but a different dictator reigns
Meet the new dictator of Libya — pretty much the same as the old dictator, but with a less-crazy fashion sense.
When the Berlin Wall fell, democracy activists such as Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel took the reins of power.
In Libya, we've just got Mustafa Abdul-Jalil. Who is he? He is the new dictator. What did you think? He was elected?
But he's totally different from Gadhafi. Sure, he spent his whole life working for Gadhafi.
In 1975, right after he graduated from law school, he became a prosecutor, pursuing Gadhafi's enemies. In 2007, Gadhafi appointed him to be the dictatorship's "justice minister."
Being a justice minister under a dictatorship is a contradiction. It usually means presiding over sham trials. Which is exactly what Abdul-Jalil did.
In a ham-fisted attempt to cover up horrendous hygiene conditions in Libyan hospitals, and to blame foreigners for a rise in AIDS cases, Abdul-Jalil's "justice system" convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, claiming they purposefully infected 400 children with AIDS.
It goes without saying that the charges were bogus. It was classic dictatorship distraction, blaming an outside group for a huge domestic screw-up. And Abdul-Jalil's courts came down with a death sentence. It was only when senior European politicians intervened that the accused were let go.
That's what a justice minister does under a butcher like Gadhafi. He tries to put a lawyer's robe on a dictator's actions.
For four years Abdul-Jalil was happy to do Gadhafi's bidding. It was only this spring, when Gadhafi started to fall, that Abdul-Jalil fled, and claimed he was always against Gadhafi — yeah, that's right. Always against him.
Well, he's the dictator now.
Abdul-Jalil didn't just study law at law school. He studied Sharia law, that is, law where the constitution is the Muslim Qur'an.
Last week, Abdul-Jalil declared that Libya will be a Sharia state. And he took the first steps to making it so, repealing Gadhafi's ban on polygamous marriages.
He also announced that he's going to take Libya's banks back to the medieval age, banning interest, and only allowing Sharia-compliant banking.
So when it comes to being an Islamic fundamentalist, Gadhafi was a moderate compared to the new guy. Look, there's nothing new here. So one Arab dictator was replaced with another Arab dictator.
Well, there's one thing new here. We Canadians fought for this. Canada sent over 500 men and women, from our air force and navy, to help pummel Gadhafi into submission. We did Abdul-Jalil's fighting for him.
Thank God no Canadian Forces died in that foolish effort to secure Europe's conflict oil for them — God forbid Europe would have to buy its oil from someone other than Libya or Saudi Arabia for a change.
Why did we root out Gadhafi? Why are we pledging more money and help to the new dictator? Why are we standing by while Gadhafi's justice minister implements Sharia law?
We never had a proper reason to go to Libya. It made no sense. We don't have a Canadian national interest over there. It was crystal clear from the start that the only reason NATO cared about Libya, and not Syria, for example, is that Libya has a lot of oil.
But is me-tooing Europe really reason enough? Why are we still going along with this gong show?EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 22, 2011 Sun column:
CBC running scared
State broadcaster's false attack ads demonstrate how financial probe is desperately needed
The CBC — the mega-corporation that is demanding yet another $1.1-billion bailout from taxpayers this year, just like it demanded a $1.1-billion bailout from us last year — is panicking.
For weeks it's been sweating about a parliamentary investigation into its bad behaviour, including its violation of the Access to Information law. That's an important law to allow taxpayers to scrutinize how government agencies spend our money.
The non-partisan information commissioner has given the CBC a grade of "F" for its secrecy — but it still violates her order for it to disclose the truth. It's spending millions in legal expenses to hide how it's spending billions in other expenses.
This bad behaviour was coming to a head last week when Parliament was going to turn over some rocks and see what was going to go scurrying.
And so it panicked.
On the eve of the Parliamentary inquiry, it used part of its $1.1 billion — money that is supposed to go to journalism — to launch a crazy, personal attack on the president of Quebecor and QMI Agency, Pierre Karl Peladeau, one of Canada's most successful private-sector media entrepreneurs.
Unlike the CBC, Peladeau built his company honestly and with his own efforts. He took a newspaper company started by his father, Pierre Peladeau, and turned it into Quebec's most successful media company, Quebecor — and then joined with English-Canada's biggest newspaper company, Sun Media Corp. And then he built the Sun News Network.
All without a billion-dollar-a-year bailout.
And so last week, the night before Peladeau's testimony to Parliament, the CBC freaked out.
In an unprecedented move, it issued what can only be called an attack ad against Peladeau. It wasn't a news story. It was a false and defamatory attack on our company, as vengeance for our questions about how the CBC spends taxpayer money.
If any other government department had done something like this, whoever responsible would be fired immediately. It wasn't just unprofessional. It wasn't just outside of its mandate of what it is given its government money for. It was an attempt to destroy a private-sector competitor.
Imagine, for example, if Canada Post had raised the price of a postage stamp by five cents — and then used those profits to launch a blistering attack on its private-sector competitor, UPS.
Not to deliver mail. To attack a rival. That's what the CBC did to us.
But here's the thing. The CBC's attack campaign didn't answer our questions about its spending, or secrecy. It didn't even pretend that it wasn't doing what we claim it is doing. The CBC just responded with a wild accusation that we live off government handouts, too — a half billion dollars over the past three years, it claimed.
But it's a lie.
The CBC numbers are made up. They claim Quebecor received a $333-million subsidy for a cellphone licence. That's just factually not true. Quebecor paid $555 million to the government in a public auction for cellphone spectrum — the highest of any new company. So that's money from Quebecor to the government — something the CBC is unfamiliar with.
In its world, money only flows from the government to the CBC. The CBC also claims Quebecor took $20.8 million from something called the Canadian Media Fund last year. That's true. But Quebecor paid $21.5 million into that same fund. The CBC left that out. Because it lies. (By the way, it took $95 million from that same fund, which it didn't mention).
The CBC is desperate. And it's using tax money to attack a private competitor with those lies. But it actually makes the case, more than ever, for increased accountability and scrutiny of its annual bailout, don't you think? If some private company wants to use its shareholders' money to attack a rival company, no problem. If shareholders don't like it, they can sell their stock, or fire the company president.
Let's privatize the CBC. If some private billionaire wants to use the CBC as a weapon, that's his business. In the hands of the CBC's unethical management, it's everybody's business — and it's got to stop.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 18, 2011 Sun column:
Occupy protest stinks
You know those dirty hippies who gathered in a New York City park last week, and were threatened with eviction for hygiene reasons? They came to Canada on the weekend.
"Dirty hippies" is not an insult. It's an epidemiological assessment of their week-long war against hygiene at a cramped, garbage-strewn, semen-stained camp. The crowning moment was when one hippie defecated on a police car as some sort of political statement.
Not all the Occupy Toronto protesters are dirty hippies. Some of them are professional protesters--folks who go out whenever there's a chance to be counter-cultural. These are the black bloc types who came to agitate in Toronto during the G-20.
Others are union bosses, usually from government unions. That's who created this movement in the U.S. and who promotes it in Canada now.
For them, Occupy Wall Street is a scheme to shift the blame for the U.S. recession away from the White House, and onto someone else other than the Democratic Party.
Banks are still failing in the U.S., unemployment is at 9%, annual deficits there are a trillion and a half dollars, and the U.S. lost its triple-A credit rating. All on President Hope and Change's watch.
So they've come up with new slogans, like the one that claims these protesters represent 99% of Americans, and Wall Street represents the richest 1%. It's class warfare. If it were about helping people, they'd focus on the bottom 10% of Americans. It's the politics of jealousy.
But that sour message isn't clicking in Canada. We haven't had a bank fail.
So not one has been bailed out. Our unemployment rate is 7%. Which is 2% lower than in the U.S. Our national deficit is down to $33 billion. Our credit rating is golden.
Which is why so few people bothered to show up for the Occupy protests across Canada.
By Monday morning, only 20 protesters were left downtown in Toronto's financial district. How did they even know that was a protest? There are longer line-ups at Toronto hot dog carts.
But the CBC, the state broadcaster, went into Olympics- style mega-coverage over the weekend, sending out dozens of reporters and producers to cover the protests as if it were an election. They became a PR agency. They helped organize and promote the events.
One excitable CBC host actually claimed that the protests had spread to "more than 1,000 cities" around the world with "hundreds or thousands" of protesters in each. That's just false; there were protests in a few dozen cities, but in most the number was under 100.
The CBC was engaging in a telethon for the union protests. Not just promoting them, but skillfully editing them, too. They carefully kept off camera any embarrassing yahoos. That's the opposite approach the CBC takes with a genuine protest, like the annual the March for Life rally.
Every year well over 10,000 people march on Parliament Hill against abortion. They don't threaten revolution or anarchy. They don't crap on police cars.
But because they are pro-life, the CBC downplays them. They grudgingly report their rally. And they do their best to hunt for the nuttiest person in the crowd, and pretend that they speak for the whole mass.
I've got an idea. Let's occupy a mega-corporation that demands a yearly $1.1 billion bailout from taxpayers, violates transparency laws and doesn't register its secretive lobbying.
Yeah: Let's occupy the CBC.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
Defending free speech
Because we believe in a society where freedom is more important than hurt feelings
Bill Whatcott doesn't like homosexuality.
A few years ago, that point of view would be called "mainstream." In fact, until the 1960s, homosexuality was a crime in the Criminal Code. That's been amended.
But there is another book out there, called the Holy Bible, that is equally critical of homosexuality.
It hasn't been amended yet, and some people still believe in it.
That's called freedom of religion.
Whatcott doesn't quietly believe homosexuality is wrong.
He's noisy about it. He hands out literature on the subject.
He's not diplomatic; some of his flyers are downright rude.
But he's always peaceful. Whatcott has never called for or committed violence.
What Bill Whatcott is doing is expressing himself.
He's upset about things — about a sexual practice he disagrees with, and the political acceptance of it.
But he's going about his disagreement in a very Canadian way — peacefully protesting about it.
But that's illegal in Saskatchewan, under section 14 of their human rights law, which reads in part:
"No person shall publish or display … on any lands or premises or in a newspaper, through … television or radio … or in any printed matter … or by means of any other medium … including any notice, sign, symbol, emblem, article, statement of other representation tending or likely to tend to deprive, abridge or otherwise restrict the enjoyment by any person … of any right … or that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person …"
That's a massive, vague and subjective limit on free speech. And it limits Whatcott's freedom of religion, too.
What mature society makes it illegal to "affront" someone's "dignity"? That's how kindergarten teachers treat their children. But this law applies to adults. This law makes it illegal to "likely" cause someone to feel the emotion of hatred.
If that's all it took to wipe out the human emotion of hate — a natural emotion that is part of a normal personality — then we could just pass the Love Each Other Act and be done with it. But people don't work that way.
Turning anger into violence is wrong — and we have a Criminal Code and real police to deal with that.
But simply being mad isn't a crime. And neither is saying words that are mad. In fact, that's blowing off steam — it's a safety valve.
Countries that don't let you blow off steam peacefully, through mere words, are exactly the places where people are so frustrated they turn to violence. Think of the Arab world.
Human rights censorship laws are so vague, they become nothing more than the expression of the personal whims of the human rights commission enforcers. It's quite revealing. Canadian censors have persecuted Mark Harding, a Christian pastor concerned about Islam being taught in public schools.
Human rights commissions have gone after Father Alphonse de Valk, a 70-something Catholic priest in Toronto.
They investigated Calgary Bishop Fred Henry because he wrote a pastoral letter against gay marriage.
They hunted down the Christian Heritage Party. They convicted Rev. Stephen Boissoin of Red Deer, Alta., and subjected him to a lifetime ban on giving public sermons, or even writing private e-mails, criticizing gay marriage. The conviction was overturned in 2009.
What do these victims have in common? Pastor, priest, reverend, bishop, Christian party. Canada's human rights censors aren't declaring war on hate. They are declaring war on Christianity. Scratch a human rights commission, find an anti-Christian bigot.
That's Bill Whatcott's crime: He believes the Bible, which these kangaroo courts regard as hate literature. It's time the Supreme Court ended this politically abusive censorship. It's time the Canadian government treated free speech with respect. Not because we necessarily support Bill Whatcott or what he says.
But because we believe in a society where freedom is more important than hurt feelings.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 10, 2011 Sun column:
No common sense
There's a word for what the OHRC allows: Bigotry
The Ontario Human Rights Commission says it's illegal to advertise an apartment for "students" or "seniors" only — that's age discrimination.
But when the OHRC was asked about dozens of "Muslims-only" apartment-for-rent ads in the Toronto area, they said it's out of their hands.
Earlier this summer, the OHRC was clearly short of real work to do, so it started creeping through apartment rental ads online — cyberstalking is what some people might call it. It was appalled by severely normal things landlords were saying.
They came up with an official list of illegal words to use in apartment ads. "Perfect apartment for a student" is illegal. Seriously — that's one of the examples from the OHRC website. It said that's age discrimination. Calling your apartment an "adult building?" Illegal. "Perfect for female student". Illegal.
This summer, the OHRC threatened landlords and even the websites that advertised these "discriminatory" words. But reporter Sarah Boesveld was poking around the website Kijiji.ca and found 32 apartments that say "only Muslims need apply." She called up the human rights commission … which said it's out of its hands.
Now, a part of private property is the right to choose who gets to come on it — no matter what your reason is. Think of the middle-aged male who wants to move into a sorority house. But that right goes further — including the right to exclude people for any reason at all. If you don't like their personality, their annoying laugh, the colour of their eyes. And even the colour of their skin. That's the point about private property: You have the right to be wrong — you even have the right to be racist.
We don't like the idea of people being racist. "Muslims only" is another way of saying "no Jews allowed" or "no Christians allowed." But it's their property, not ours. If people don't like it, they can have a little picket outside the property, on the street. A restaurant that discriminated that way might soon lose the business of fair-minded customers. But there is a market for some kinds of discrimination.
Take women-only fitness clubs. Surely they have the right to discriminate against men. Surely the Black Students Society can only allow blacks in. Surely a movie theatre can charge kids less than adults.Discrimination is something we do every day — it's really another word for choosing. Sometimes people make choices for odious reasons. That's the price of freedom — and it's a far lower price to pay than the costs of having a government so invasive that it can barge its way into every wrinkle of our lives, including our own homes.
I'm not for prosecuting these 32 Muslims-only landlords. If they want someone who follows their religion — for example, who won't bring pork or alcohol into the house, and who will respect their religious traditions — that's fine.
But the Ontario Human Rights Commission doesn't believe in property rights or freedom of association. They believe in counterfeit rights — like the right not to be offended. Except, of course, if the person doing the offending is Muslim, and the people being offended are Jews and Christians and Sikhs and Hindus and atheists.
There's a word for people like those at the OHRC who have different standards for different religions: Bigots.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 8, 2011 Sun column:
CBC gets kid-glove treatment
State broadcasting corporation doesn't want same scrutiny it dishes out
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is used to criticizing others — often, quite viciously. But it sure doesn't react well when it is the mega-corporation being scrutinized.
Last week their president, Hubert Lacroix, lashed out at critics who are asking basic accountability questions about the CBC.
To Lacroix, having to answer for the CBC's mismanagement, luxurious perks and wasteful spending isn't acceptable. In a new conspiracy theory he shared with a friendly reporter, Lacroix says questions about CBC's secrecy and lack of accountability are just attempts to "weaken" the CBC. He says it's a scheme cooked up by his competitors — and he mentions the Sun specifically.
Is Lacroix really saying that being corrupt and wasteful is a sign of strength? That if the CBC isn't allowed to hide, say, its liquor budget and its limousine budget, it won't be a strong broadcaster?
The CBC likes to ask questions about other corporations. But they don't want the same scrutiny for their own corporate mismanagement.
The CBC likes to file access to information requests against the government and they complain if their responses are slow or incomplete.
But the CBC itself is also subject to access to information laws — and according to Canada's non-partisan information commissioner, Suzanne Legault, the CBC gets a score of F for compliance.
Apparently she is part of the plot to weaken the CBC.
Lacroix disrespects the idea of openness. He also disrespects the law — he has refused to comply with court rulings demanding he turn over his expenses. He's spending millions of dollars fighting accountability.
Stories of CBC wastefulness aren't new. But what's new is how the CBC is fighting back.
Lacroix is pulling in favours from media outlets that depend on the CBC for money. He's getting other media to shill for him — other companies who take money from him.
Lacroix spoke to Jennifer Ditchburn of the Canadian Press (CP) — she's the one who lovingly reported Lacroix's conspiracy theory last week.
Why would CP — an independent, private news agency — give such a friendly forum to the CBC, their government-owned competitor?
Well, the CBC is also the Canadian Press's biggest customer. CP sells its stories to newspapers across the country. The CBC buys millions of dollars worth from CP.
Would it would be financially dangerous for CP to ask tough questions of
their best customer?
And even Ditchburn herself arguably has a conflict of interest. Nominally, she works for CP. But the CBC regularly pays her to come on their TV panels. Not only does that supplement her CP income, it gives her a bigger media profile too.
Put aside money; even for social reasons, she would never be tough on her TV colleagues.
Do you really think she could ever ask tough questions about CBC's spending – when she herself is a beneficiary of CBC spending?
Same thing with the Toronto Star, same thing with the Globe and Mail — both are co-owners of Canadian Press. So they get a lot of the CBC's
$1.1 billion in tax dollars. It makes them pull their punches.
Even the conservative-leaning National Post has been bought off. In 2009, the CBC signed a big commercial agreement with the National Post to share editorial content — and even to sell ads into each other.
And even Canada's largest private broadcaster, who you'd think would be a critic of the CBC, has been co-opted, too. CTV has now teamed up with CBC to make a joint broadcasting bid for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.
Well, the Sun hasn't been bought off. We ask questions about the CBC's mismanagement of tax money.
Not for malicious reasons. We ask because it's our right as taxpayers to ask. And anyone who would tell us to shut up about it is disrespecting taxpayers.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 3, 2011 Sun column:
PM's chance to defend freedom of speech
After five years in power, the Conservative government finally has introduced a bill to repeal the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
After five years in power, the Conservative government finally has introduced a bill to repeal the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
That provision — called section 13 — gives the government the power to censor anything on the Internet "likely to expose a person … to hatred or contempt".
So it covers a Facebook link that you share that has an off-colour joke. Or a comment that you make on a blog that isn't quite politically correct.
Finally, the Conservative government has taken the first baby step to repealing it.
Well, that's not quite accurate. The Conservative government and the Justice Minister haven't done a thing. But a backbench MP from the northern Alberta riding of Westlock-St. Paul has. Last Friday, Brian Storseth introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-304, called "An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (Protecting Freedom)." Normally when a private member's bill is introduced, it's merely a symbolic act — pretend busy-work that's little more than a press release, that has little chance of being passed, and often doesn't even get a chance to be debated.
But Storseth's C-304 isn't at the end of a long line. It's near the front — it's 15th in line. So it's quite likely that the bill will actually be debated, as soon as November, and voted on this year.
It should be a slam-dunk. Freedom of speech is so important to our society, it's bigger than left wing versus right wing, or conservative versus liberal.
During the Conservatives' two terms of minority government, they were afraid of offending the small group of Canadians who make their living by being professionally offended by things.
Literally a thousand lawyers and bureaucrats across Canada collectively take about $200 million from taxpayers to "work" in human rights commissions. And then there are all the lawyers-of-fortune and other shakedown artists and hangers-on out there who don't work directly for the industry, but who have a stake in it.
Of course these censors have a political agenda of their own. They don't believe in diversity — diversity of opinion, that is. All the people prosecuted by the Canadian government under section 13 fit a pattern. To use the language of the complaining left, the human rights commission engages in racial profiling. One hundred per cent of the people prosecuted under section 13 have been white and Christian. And 90% of them have been too poor to afford a lawyer.
Since the law was enacted by Pierre Trudeau, not a single case of Muslim extremism or Tamil extremism or Sikh extremism has ever been prosecuted by the censorship police. They just go after blue-collar white folks who tell immigrant jokes instead of fancy folks making fun of Christians or George Bush.
No doubt the complaining industry will lobby hard against this bill. But the Conservatives have the votes to do it — and probably enough truly liberal supporters in the opposition, too.
But how about the prime minister himself? In 1999, Stephen Harper said this: "Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society. It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff." It has been a dozen years since then. Will Harper restore our freedom of speech, by supporting Storseth's bill?
We're about to find out.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Oct. 1, 2011 Sun column:
CBC: Canadian Bash Corp.
Best feature at taxpayer-funded TIFF party for 'cool people' — riot gates to keep non-cool folks at bay
How has your household income done over the past few years?
Was the recession a tough time for your family? What do you think the looming double-dip recession is going to do to your cash flow?
Those are real questions for most Canadians. But not for the CBC.
In 2005, when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, the CBC wrung $982 million out of taxpayers. That's a staggeringly large sum.
Luckily, a fiscally conservative Stephen Harper took over. That's a joke: Since the "Conservatives" took over, the CBC's annual welfare cheque has rocketed to more than $1.1 billion.
Have you had a double-digit raise over the recession?
The CBC — and the more than 10 government unions who live off it — are having a party while the rest of the economy has been under stress.
Literally, a party. A month ago, the CBC threw a luxurious party at the Hazelton, Canada's most exquisite hotel, during the Toronto International Film Festival. They blocked off the street, and had stars like the band U2 on their red carpet.
The CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos hosted the party. But he isn't in any film. He just wanted to — in his words — party with "cool people." That's what he said.
When the Sun asked how much money they blew on this vanity party, the CBC refused to answer.
That would be fair enough if the CBC were like the other companies putting on the ritz during the film festival — private companies promoting movies or fashion.
If they want to spend their shareholders' dollars on a party, that's their business
But the CBC doesn't spend shareholders' money. They spend our money.
And they didn't even have a film at the film festival. They just wanted to be amongst the "cool" people.
I asked the CBC's spokesman Jeff Keay if the party cost more or less than $1 million. He refused to say.
One of the things that made the party expensive was the police-style riot gates to keep ordinary taxpayers at bay. Remember, they had to block off the city streets to really party hard. But that might have meant some non-cool taxpayers might have wandered in.
Taxpayers have their place at a CBC party: To stand back and gawk, in order to make the cool people feel cool. And, of course, to pay for the whole thing.
According to a poll by Abacus Data, more than 80% of Canadians do not know just how much money the CBC gets — half of them think the CBC liberates $150 million or less a year. No — it's almost ten times that much.
If the CBC's vanity party at the film festival did indeed cost $1 million, that really shouldn't be so shocking to us. The CBC burns through $1 million of our tax money every eight hours.
It's not just inappropriate for this Roman-style party to be going on in the middle of a recession, deficits and private sector cutbacks. It's also unacceptable competition against entrepreneurs in the media.
Because of its $1.1-billion subsidy, the CBC can decide, on a whim, to engage in uncompetitive practices. It can, for example, bid for exclusive broadcasting rights to shut out other companies. Not just for sports events, but for public events.
For example, the CBC bought up the rights to the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.
Only the CBC was allowed full, end-to-end coverage of the Canada Day festivities.
Seventy-five years ago when the CBC was founded, there might have been some reason for their subsidy.
Today, in an era of 500 TV channels, YouTube, iTunes and Netflix, there is no reason for one favoured channel to get $1.1 billion a year.
Sure, the big government unions love it.
And so do the "cool people."
But the rest of us have to live in a recession.
Cut off the CBC — and let them succeed or fail on their own merits.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 27, 2011 Sun column:
Extremists' oil protest puzzling
On Monday, about 250 environmental extremists from across Canada and foreign countries travelled to Ottawa to protest oil.
Plus a couple of dozen "journalists" from the CBC, there to cheer them on.
Greenpeace, the $350-million per year multinational corporation headquartered in Amsterdam, was one of the organizers. So was a group called U.K. Tarsands Network.
So, foreigners. Foreigners telling us what to do here in Canada — and boasting about trespassing in secure areas of Parliament Hill.
Try that in Saudi Arabia. Or Iran. Try that in the United States, post-9/11.
These foreign meddlers pick on Canada precisely because we are the gentlest country in the world. And it would be too tough to try to protest in Iran or Saudi Arabia. The Saudi embassy is just a few blocks away from Parliament Hill, right on Sussex Dr. Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer in the world. They have the biggest oil reserves in the world. If this protest really was about oil, why didn't they go there?
We clean up our oil spills; Saudi Arabia covers up theirs. We engage with our critics; Saudi Arabia imprisons theirs. We use our oil money to finance peacekeepers. Saudi Arabia finances terrorists. We treat minorities and women with respect. Saudi Arabia abuses them through sharia law.
But don't tell that to the c-list celebrities like Dave Thomas, who have endorsed this Blame Canada approach to oil protesting.
No, not the famous Dave Thomas, the late president of Wendy's. The lame Dave Thomas — the least-funny cast member of SCTV who hasn't been heard from since then, for whom this protest was a great way to get a little PR. Though he couldn't be bothered to attend himself. Until a month ago, all of this was just normal: A bunch of self-righteous activists denouncing us for driving cars, and then getting in their cars to drive away.
But then we found out that the Saudi dictatorship was also orchestrating anti-oilsands skullduggery in Canada, by threatening TV stations who aired a pro-oilsands TV ad.
Sort of puts this whole Parliament Hill protest in a new light, doesn't it? And maybe it helps explain why the protesters haven't protested outside the Saudi embassy.
But here's a real head-scratcher: The boss of a big labour union came out against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would ship the oil from Alberta to the U.S. David Coles, the boss of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, bizarrely said it would cost Canadian jobs. Truth is, if the Keystone XL pipeline isn't built, tens of thousands of union jobs are in jeopardy. If the oil can't get to market, his union members won't have a job producing it.
The craziest part of Coles' comments was when he said: "Oil workers, whether they work in North Africa, Chile or Venezuela, are oil workers." But that's not true. Oil workers in Canada have the right to unionize. Even non-unionized welders and pipefitters can make $150,000 a year or more.
But in OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, work is done by minimum-wage foreign labourers, who are forbidden from unionizing.
Since when does a Canadian union boss defend foreign indentured workers, and bash a domestic industry — including his own dues-paying members?
Perhaps this is a cry for help from Coles. Who knows? Maybe the Saudi embassy made threats against the Canadian labour movement, just like it did against Canadian TV stations who dared to criticize Saudi conflict oil.
Canada believes in open debates. But perhaps the first question we should ask anti-oilsands protesters should always be: Which foreign country is paying you today?EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 24, 2011 Sun column:
Saudi threats a SLAPP in the face
Blocking Canadian-made ad brings a taste of Saudi Arabian censorship to Canada
It's been a week since the Saudi fatwa against CTV became public and nothing has been done.
Of course, Saudi Arabia didn't actually issue a fatwa, like their fellow jihadis in Iran did when they condemned author Salman Rushdie to death in 1989 for writing a book they didn't like.
The Saudis are so much more sophisticated than that. They hired Norton Rose, one of the world's largest law firms, with 2,600 lawyers at their disposal. And instead of being driven mad by a novelist, the desert sheiks are braying about a 30-second TV ad by the Canadian NGO called EthicalOil.org , a group with whom I'm a volunteer.
EthicalOil.org produced the low-budget ad that says what everybody already knows: Saudi Arabian princes treat women in that society worse than they treat camels. That's not a joke. Women aren't allowed to drive, they're not allowed to vote, their testimony in court is worth half that of a man's. But at least the Saudis don't force their camels to go out in the desert heat wearing a burka body bag.
Of course the Saudis don't like that ad. The truth hurts. And the ad will never air in Saudi Arabia because they don't have a free press there.
But that's where Norton Rose's 2,600 lawyers come in. They're trying to bring a taste of that Saudi censorship to Canada.
Norton Rose threatened CTV, demanding it not run the ad. And CTV obeyed.
Was it because CTV just didn't want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending a nuisance suit against a foreign dictatorship with more money than morals? Probably.
But CTV is also owned by Bell Canada, which has done an enormous amount of work in Saudi Arabia, building their telephone infrastructure. Did the Saudi sheiks pressure Bell Canada to shut up their CTV television station? I asked CTV's spokesman and he wrote back to me. He didn't confirm it — but he didn't deny it, either.
This is bigger than a legal quarrel. It's not really a legal quarrel at all. It's one step away from outright blackmail. It's what our Canadian courts call a "SLAPP" lawsuit — strategic litigation against public participation. It's not a real suit. It's abusing the courts as a weapon.
It's lawfare. It's prosecuting the jihad — with lawyers, not suicide bombers.
CTV should have stood firm. It should have told the Saudis to go pound sand. It should have realized freedom of the press is its corporate life blood, and even to spend $250,000 to fend off a lawsuit — a lawsuit the Saudis would never really have gone through with, for fear of public and diplomatic backlash — is a small price to pay for freedom.
I don't accept CTV's capitulation, but I understand it. It's a hostage here. And it needs to be rescued by someone bigger than a law firm. It needs Prime Minister Stephen Harper's help. CTV is being attacked by a foreign country. It needs our sovereign head of government to fight back — and I say this as a competitor to CTV.
Former cabinet minister Stockwell Day says there is no precedent for this kind of interference by a foreign power into Canada's media.
Even during the Cold War, the Soviet Union did not hire lawyers to threaten Canadian media that criticized its totalitarian regime.
Put another way: Imagine the national outrage if the United States started threatening TV stations that said anti-American things.
This isn't a legal matter. And it's not even about the oilsands, or about women's rights in Saudi Arabia. That's what it should have been about, had the ad aired.
But when a foreign dictatorship decided to destroy Canadian free speech, it became a matter of national security, counter-intelligence and national sovereignty.
The prime minister must summon the Saudi ambassador and tell him to call off Norton Rose and have them issue an apology to CTV.
If he doesn't — send him packing back to his desert.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 19, 2911 Sun column:
Take your secret Saudi threats and shove 'em
Saudi Arabia has hired lawyers to threaten Canadian broadcasters who dare to run a TV ad critical of Saudi conflict oil.
I know this because I am the volunteer chairman of EthicalOil.org, the non-profit website that promotes Canada's oilsands as an ethical alternative to the conflict oil of Saudi Arabia and other OPEC dictatorships.
Alykhan Velshi, who runs EthicalOil.org, produced a 30-second TV ad comparing the treatment of women in Canada with the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. That's a place where women can't drive, can't vote and can't even get medical care without the permission of their husbands/owners.
Compare that to Canada, where the mayor of the oilsands capital, Fort McMurray, is a young woman named Melissa Blake.
Saudi Arabia doesn't like criticism like that, though. They are a fascist state without a free press or any opposition political parties. And now they've hired one of the world's largest law firms, a 2,600-lawyer monstrosity called Norton Rose, to threaten Canada's media into silence, too.
Rahool Agarwal, one of the lawyers at Norton Rose, has been contacting broadcasters across Canada, threatening them if they air the ad. Already two networks have capitulated in the face of such threats, including CTV, Canada's biggest private broadcaster. Agarwal has also threatened EthicalOil.org with a lawsuit, too. He won't say for what - he clearly has no legal case. But the point is silencing dissent. And it's working.
The only way we heard about this campaign of threats was when one concerned Canadian who received a threat tipped us off. When our lawyer contacted Agarwal, he sounded genuinely surprised that he was caught. The Saudis prefer to operate under the radar.
Saudi Arabia is an enemy of Canada. They're an enemy of the West. They're an enemy of freedom. This is not a new revelation. Fifteen out of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden was from a prominent Saudi family. Saudi Arabia continues to finance terrorism around the world.
Normally, Islamic extremists focus their hatred on the Great Satan - the United States. But Canada is now an enemy of the Saudis, too. Because we're competitors to them for oil. Within ten years, the oilsands could totally replace Saudi exports to the U.S.
Recently, Saudi billionaire Prince Walid bin Talal said it was in his country's interest not to let the price of oil get too high, lest alternative sources of oil become practical. Well, the largest unconventional oil reserves in the world are in the oilsands. He didn't use the word, but he clearly meant it.
Like Greenpeace, the Saudis hate our oilsands. They're usually content to let Greenpeace do the heavy lifting. But this time, the Saudis were caught red-handed.
The oilsands can take care of themselves. But what about Canada's media? At least two broadcasters have already caved to this Saudi legal pressure. The Saudis are destroying our culture of freedom and replacing it with their sharia culture of tyranny and bullying.
Foreign Minister John Baird must summon the Saudi ambassador at once. If their foreign meddling and bullying doesn't cease immediately, he should be expelled.
Canada is free, and our media should be free - no matter what some dictatorship wants, and what that dictatorship's well-paid lawyers threaten in secret.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 17, 2011 Sun column:
Fire this man immediately
MP's secret affair with Chinese journalist leaves way too many questions to keep him around
Bob Dechert is disloyal to his wife and derelict in his duty to his country.
So why is Stephen Harper standing behind him now?
Dechert is Canada's parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs. It's a position of trust. Dechert has a secret security clearance. He sees things that are confidential. He is in a position of responsibility and discretion.
He is checked out by the RCMP. When people meet with him to lobby him, by law those meetings have to be publicly disclosed in a registry.
In other words, Bob Dechert is kind of a big deal.
He's influential on China policy. He is the vice-chair of Parliament's Canada-China Legislative Association. He accompanied Prime Minister Stephen Harper on an official trip to China.
Which is precisely why the Chinese dictatorship sees him as such an ideal target.
CSIS estimates China has 1,000 agents in Canada working not just to undermine us militarily, but also to steal useful information. CSIS estimates China steals a billion dollars each month in technological and industrial secrets -- which is about as much as they buy from us legally.
It's so bad that CSIS spends 50% of its counter-intelligence efforts battling against Chinese spying.
Which is why Bob Dechert's secret affair with a Chinese agent named Shi Rong is so unacceptable.
Shi is the Toronto boss of Xinhua, the Chinese press agency. Of course, there is no free press in China, so Shi actually works for the Chinese government -- the Chinese Communist Party, to be accurate. Xinhua was set up by them as a propaganda arm. But it is now also a de facto spy agency -- not just gathering news, but gathering secrets. Dechert knows that. But he decided to have an affair with her -- a secret affair.
And it was only when Shi's husband found out about their affair by reading her e-mails, and then sent copies of those e-mails to everyone on Shi Rong's e-mail address list, that the world found out about it.
In other words, Dechert didn't come clean about this relationship on his own. CSIS and the RCMP didn't detect it -- even though they gave him security clearance. It was only an angry, cuckolded husband that revealed this disastrous security breach.
Asked about it by reporters, Dechert admitted the e-mails were from him. But he said it was no big deal -- he said they were merely "flirtatious."
Telling someone their hair looks nice is flirtatious. Telling someone that you love them, you miss them, you can't wait to see them again is not flirtatious. It is an intimate relationship. Whether or not Dechert had a physical relationship is not known to us -- Dechert has been hiding from the media.
But the Chinese government surely knows. And if they did have physical contact, if they slept together, or even if they just had a private date, it's surely all photographed by the Chinese government. Probably videotaped, too.
It's called a honey trap. It's the oldest trick in the book.
Dechert should be fired for sheer stupidity for having an affair with a Chinese government agent. That's not just stupid, it's malicious -- because he clearly knew it was wrong, since he kept it hidden. So he knew he was doing something improper, but still did it anyway.
There are many unanswered questions. When did the relationship start? Who initiated it? Besides love letters, what else did Dechert send her? Did they ever talk about Canada-China relations?
What did she ask him about? Since their affair began, what input has Dechert had into Canada-China policy? What has he said in caucus, or to the prime minister? Or as vice-chair of the Canada-China committee?
And here's the most important ones: What else is he hiding? Did he do things that made him susceptible to blackmail? Is he being blackmailed with photos or phone call recordings or videos, right now?
Fire him immediately. Then have CSIS and the RCMP investigate the depth of his damage.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
Accurate 9/11 memory will compel us to act
Why did Sunday's ceremony for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 ban police, firefighters and clergy from the program?
Some parts of the ceremony were well done.
The physical memorial itself — two waterfalls, shaped like the square footprints of the two towers — were visually powerful.
And the rebuilding of one tower — still not done after ten years — is a sign of hope.
Reading the names of the murder victims was a touching moment for their families and friends.
But it is not enough merely to remember the dead and to grieve. We must remember why these men and women were killed; why it was so profoundly evil that they were; why we cannot let this stand, and what we are going to do about it.
The central characteristic of the 9/11 attacks was not the loss of life. It was that the loss of life was the result of human purpose.
It was not a tragic accident or a natural disaster.
Nor was it just a crime. It was a horrendous act of terror motivated by evil ideas. Remembering that means we have to do something about it. Namely: Fighting against our terrorist enemies until we win and they lose.
Instead of calling for victory, though, the official memorial aimed for a tone of closure. New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg said people should no longer even say the words Ground Zero, because that is in the past.
Erasing from the public narrative any trace of the war on terror would be like holding a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, a year later, in December of 1942, and remembering the dead and their families — but not talking about that infamous attack, not calling for courage in the fight ahead, not promising that the dead will be avenged and that freedom and peace will be won on our terms — and not naming imperial Japan.
It would be like Winston Churchill touring London during the blitz, and comforting the victims but not calling for courage and victory.
To this day, hundreds of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Canadians continue to fight with marvelous courage and ingenuity to defeat al-Qaida, the Taliban and their other terrorist allies. And we Canadians have been a clear voice against terrorism and its apologists at the United Nations.
But there are other ways that we must fight, too — not just to honour the memory of those murdered on 9/11, but to protect ourselves and our families and communities, and our freedom that is under attack.
The first way for those of us not in uniform to fight back is to fight for a control over the language of 9/11. The anniversaries of 9/11 ought not to be a day of service and volunteerism — the official purpose of both the U.S. and Canadian days. Volunteerism is a noble thing, but it is not what 9/11 was about.
We must make sure it is a day of proper and accurate memory.
An accurate memory of what happened that day compels us to take action until we win, until 9/11 becomes a day to mark the beginning of our successful counterattack on to victory.
But we're not done yet. We haven't won yet. The other side knows that. And we ought to as well.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 10, 2011 Sun column:
Lest we forget
Ten years ago, the forces of Islamic fascism tore a hole in New York City, and our hearts.
Nineteen al-Qaida terrorists, 15 of them from Saudi Arabia, attacked America that day, in the name of a violent interpretation of Islam promoted by Wahhabi clerics.
Al-Qaida had attacked the West before. As far back as 1993, they tried to destroy the World Trade Center in New York City with a truck bomb - it killed seven people and injured hundreds more. The response from American authority was to shrug it off, to treat it as a criminal matter for lawyers to deal with, instead of a military matter or a strategic attack on the West.
And it's easy to see why - the world was still enjoying the illusion of perpetual peace that came with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. There was a sense, as Francis Fukuyama wrote, the world was at the end of history - that everything was resolved, that it would only be a matter of time before everyone believed in freedom and there were McDonald's in every corner of the world.
But alas, the world isn't that way. There are people in the world who want to kill us or enslave us. And in the case of al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorists, that is the choice they offer us: To submit to Sharia law, to submit to the global rule of Islam in a new medieval-style theocracy or to die.
Islamic radicals like to split the world into two houses -- they call it Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam, or literally the house of submission) and Dar al-Harb (the house of war).
In case you're wondering, we're in the house of war.
The two most devastating attacks on 9/11 were aimed at the World Trade Center in New York City, the twin towers that were for several years the tallest buildings in the world.
They were the symbol of other great ideas, too - the free market, the idea of world trade. And of course, all in the heart of the most vibrant city in America, perhaps the world - home to immigrants from a hundred countries, entryway to generations of immigrants seeking the American dream.
The World Trade Center wasn't just an economic target and a target full of thousands of people - it was a symbol of American greatness and aspirations and leadership.
But even amidst the horror of that day, American greatness showed. In the first responders who rushed in to the World Trade Center, knowing it would likely mean their own deaths. In the passengers on United Flight 93 who initially thought they were the victims of a garden variety hijacking. But when they learned, by making phone calls from the plane, about the other attacks that day, they decided to do something very American. They decided to fight back.
Todd Beamer was one of the men who stormed the cockpit. The last words heard from him by GTE phone operator Lisa Jefferson were "let's roll."
They lost their own lives, of course, but likely saved hundreds of others at the U.S. Capitol building. They were proof of the noble American instincts of freedom and rebellion and self-sacrifice and courage.
Those values are still alive. But in the 10 years since the horrific day, they have been overtaken, in many quarters, by other less appealing American values. Like bureaucracy, political correctness and overlawyering.
The official ceremony Sunday at Ground Zero is being styled as a National Day of Service and Remembrance by President Barack Obama. He said it's a day for volunteerism.
No, it's not. Volunteerism and service are good things. But this is about remembering what happened. It's about remembering who made it happen, and why.
It's about calling evil by its proper name - not avoiding the discussion because it's uncomfortable.
9/11 ought to be a day to rededicate ourselves to freedom. Not just Americans, but Canadians, too, and everyone who shares the values that America epitomizes, the values for which America was attacked.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 8, 2011 Sun column:
Time for the CBC to leave the nestThe verdict is in: after 75 years of government handouts to the CBC, Canadians want to take the training wheels off, and let the state broadcaster fend for itself without its $1.1-billion annual cheque from taxpayers.
That's the word from a major new public opinion survey conducted by Abacus Data Inc. Funny enough, the hundreds of polls paid for by the CBC never asked those questions - or if they did, the results were never made public.
Abacus asked 1,003 Canadians to give their views about the best way to finance the CBC. Fifty-three per cent of Canadians said it should continue as a non-profit organization - it should sell ads if it can, and make the rest up through contributions from viewers. That's similar to the PBS model in the United States, a public broadcaster that has regular telethons where people who like their brand of programming (and politics) can prove it by cutting a cheque.
It's sensible - which is why 53% of Canadians want it. But it would mean a lot more work for the CBC, since they'd have to listen to what their viewers want, and they'd still have to live within their means if they wanted to convince grassroots Canadians to chip in $50 or $100 in donations. No more limousine rides and first-class travel.
A sizeable minority of Canadians don't even want the non-profit model - 39% of Canadians want to privatize the CBC altogether, as opposed to keeping it as a Crown corporation. That's the model that Canada has taken with national businesses in the past, like Petro-Canada and Air Canada, both of which used to be owned by the government. Not only did the government make money from their sale, but they now pay taxes, too - unlike the CBC today.
Not surprisingly, there are regional differences to this sentiment. Canadians in the Prairies have long felt that the CBC had a hostility to that part of the country, and their values. Fifty-four per cent of them want to sell of the CBC altogether. Frankly, the feeling is probably mutual: a lot of CBC executives probably would like to get rid of the Prairies, too.
These findings are striking, given the dominance that the CBC has in Canadian media - it is by far the biggest broadcaster, dominating the landscape. So it is remarkable that, despite 75 years of propaganda, such a large percentage of Canadians are CBC dissidents - they want it either trimmed back or sold altogether.
Any discussions about reducing the funding of the CBC are met with a campaign-style attack on whoever suggested the idea, first from the CBC itself, and second from its labour unions and PR shills, like the so-called Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Even the Conservative government has been terrified of touching the CBC's budget - instead, they've gorged it year after year, taking their grant to record levels.
Perhaps this poll will put some steel in the spine of those cabinet ministers who think the idea of a state broadcaster is a holdover from an earlier age of big government.
One thing's for sure, though: the consensus groupthink in Canadian media - everyone agreeing how wonderful the CBC is - is not shared by grassroots Canadians.
The Abacus poll proves it. Now it's up to the government to act on it.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Sept. 5, 2011 Sun column:
Banned for nothing
Censors came up with a novel excuse for axing a 26-year-old Dire Straits hit — stupidity
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), the secretive group of censors who regulate private Canadian TV and radio broadcasters, made a stunning admission last week: They don't have the foggiest idea what they're doing.
Remember, back in January, this group of busybodies banned Canadian radio stations from playing the song Money for Nothing by Dire Straits.
That song was released back in 1985 and went to the top of the charts in Canada.
Moving at the speed of government, 26 years later, the CBSC banned it, following a complaint from a Newfoundland listener, because it has the word "faggot".
That's like those creeps who go through kids cartoons frame by frame looking for things that look like naughty pictures.
These sex-obsessed, profanity-obsessed censors decided Canadians can't hear that song even though the word was used by Dire Straits to highlight anti-gay bigotry and to criticize it.
Of course the word is rude and it's hurtful. But since when does the government ban rude words? If you can't even say a word, how could you tell someone that it's rude and explain why?
Because the Sun newspapers raised a ruckus about this, hundreds of Canadians wrote to the CBSC telling them to butt out. It was a rare moment of accountability.
The CBSC were caught being un-Canadian. They were caught being bullies. They were caught being arrogant little bureaucrats, putting their own artistic and political tastes ahead of that of 34 million Canadians.
So last week they tried a do-over. They issued a new ruling, saying it was OK to play the song Money for Nothing after all.
The song didn't change. They just came up with a novel excuse — stupidity.
Here's an actual excerpt from their new ruling. They "did not have much of the information that has subsequently been provided to the CBSC by the public."
And since the CBSC is "not a fact-finding body and does not tend to do original research. had that information been available (the first) Panel might have come to a different conclusion." So they admit they banned a song because they didn't know enough about it and didn't understand it. They didn't even listen to the song — they have a policy of just reading song lyrics. And they actually complain that nobody told them what the song meant before they banned it.
In other words, the CBSC pled stupidity.
Can you imagine these buffoons have the power to tell you what you can listen to or not?
How many other songs and shows and jokes were they too stupid to understand, so they just banned them, like some caveman smashing things that were too sophistimacated.
Me no understand! Og no understand! So Og burn books!
But even if the CBSC were smart, even if they had the common sense to listen to a song before banning it, or to Google the song to understand it, even if they were the smartest music critics or political pundits in the world, so what? They're no better than you or I are. They have no more rights than you or I do. They're not morally superior to us.
Why should we follow their judgment or taste? Even if they are "correct," who died and made them kings?
Correction: Last week I wrote that Jack Layton didn't sit in Parliament as leader of the opposition. In fact, he did so briefly before resigning. I regret the error.EZRA LEVANT, QMI Agency
My Sept. 3, 2011 Sun column:
The great Obama cover-up
We know every detail about other presidents and their families, why not this one?
Onyango Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama's uncle, was charged this week in Boston with drunk driving. Turns out he's also an illegal immigrant.
When he was arrested, he told police he wanted to call the White House. Why not? If President Obama bailed out General Motors, why not his own uncle?
In one of his autobiographies, President Obama talks fondly about Onyango, calling him "Uncle Omar." So it's not like they were long lost relatives. But Uncle Omar isn't the only embarrassment in the Obama family. Uncle Omar's sister — Obama's aunt — is a newsmaker, too. Her name is Auntie Zeituni. She was once living illegally in the U.S. too, although she was granted asylum last year. Uncle Omar even had a social security number.
Then there's Obama's grandmother Sarah. She still lives in Kenya. And until a PR firm gave her electricity as a publicity stunt, she lived in a hut without power.
Have you ever heard of any of these members of Obama's family?
These aren't distant relatives. They're aunts and uncles and his grandma.
How could Obama have let his own grandmother live without even electric power? How could he not help his uncle and aunt come into compliance with America's immigration laws?
OK, how about this: What do you know about Obama's brothers and sisters? He's got as many as eight half brothers and sisters — some in the U.S., one in China, some in Africa. Can you name one?
How about his parents? Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., was a Kenyan foreign student in Hawaii when he met Obama's mom, Stanley. That was her name, Stanley. She was just a teenager. Obama Sr. already had a wife and baby back in Kenya, but he married Stanley anyways. He was a polygamist.
How did you not know that? Easy, the Media Party didn't tell you.
We know every detail about other presidents and their families — especially their goofy relatives. Jimmy Carter's brother, Billy, actually worked for Moammar Gadhafi. Bill Clinton's half brother, Roger, served time in prison for cocaine.
Sarah Palin ran for vice president, but we know everything about her — and her daughter Bristol's ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston. There are more than two million Google hits about him — just 20,000 for Obama's half brother Mark.
The real point is we know less about Obama than any other president in modern times.
A polygamist dad is exotic. Obama then followed his mom and his new stepdad to Indonesia, where he went to a Muslim school for two years. That's exotic, too.
His mom and dad originally met because of their love of Communism, revolution and third world-ism. That's unusual. It also informs Obama's beliefs today — in everything from the war on terror to foreign affairs to capitalism.
Never before has an American president been subjected to so little scrutiny, or had such an empty resume with so many gaps in his life. He truly is the Manchurian president.
We don't know about Obama, or his values, or his history, or even his family.
And the reason we don't know any of this is because the Media Party doesn't want us to know.
They realize this is all too exotic and problematic, and would lead to just too many questions about their candidate. So they dispatched dozens of reporters to Wasilla, Alaska, to scrutinize Palin, but not to Indonesia or Kenya.
Obama is alien. Not because he's black, but because his beliefs are alien, and were formed in a crucible of radical student activism. If anything, Obama isn't black in the traditional U.S. political sense — he is not descended from slaves. His adult life was one of charmed privilege, a Harvard lawyer-millionaire.
Barack Obama is going down as the worst president in American history. American voters may fix that next year. But the Media Party's cover-up of his faults — and even the basic facts of his life — is a problem that will surely continue for years to come.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 28, 2011 Sun column:
Quebec's communications minister has come up with a conceited, self-important, cockeyed plan
The government of Quebec wants to licence journalists.
Christine St-Pierre, its minister of culture and communications, thinks it just ain't right there aren't controls over people like me. Or, more to the point, people like you — mere citizens who aren't "official."
She thinks journalism should be left to the "professionals."
But stop just for a moment.
What is St-Pierre's title again? Minister of culture and communications? What kind of self-respecting, free society has a minister of communications?
Well, Quebec, for starters. In fact, this same minister of communications is in charge of enforcing the censorship laws in Quebec called Bill 101. Those are the sign laws that say it's illegal to have public signs where English words are bigger than French words.
So much for the ancient French promise of liberte, egalite and fraternite — liberty, equality and fraternity. Bill 101 limits speech liberty, it violates equality by forcing English speakers to be second class, and it harms fraternity among different ethnic groups.
When St-Pierre was appointed to her position, she threatened to take a "zero tolerance" approach to enforcing Bill 101. This is Quebec's minister of communications. She's a natural censor. And now she wants to create "a new model of regulation of Quebec media" that would create a legal status of a "professional journalist."
Hilarious — as if journalists are doctors or something.
This whole conceited, self-important plan thinks official journalists — the kind St-Pierre and her government approve of — care about "serving the public interest."
The rest of us are merely, quote "amateur." And, as a reward for being government approved, these hand-picked journalists would get "better access to government sources."
Of course they would. Because they would really become government journalists in the first place. And government journalists go to the government to be told what to say.
Because, according to St-Pierre, that's the test: They serve the government's definition of what a journalist ought to be.
St-Pierre's plans come from a Soviet-style report commissioned by the Quebec government last winter, written by Dominique Payette, who said the government needed to "ensure" the "supply of information and the conditions of practicing professional journalism do not deteriorate further." Not surprisingly, her proposals are also biased against English-speaking journalists.
Of course, Payette and St-Pierre are wrong. The Internet and so-called amateurs have immensely improved journalism.
They've made it freer and more democratic, and have turned everyone with a cellphone camera, everyone with a Facebook page, into a possible news gatherer and a commentator — and a fact-checker and a critic. Maybe it's that last part government hates so much.
I love amateur journalists. I am one, myself. I thank my lucky stars I never went to a journalism school — where the chief thing they teach is left-wing ideology.
Only dictators want journalists to be licenced. In Soviet-dominated Romania, you actually needed a government permit to own a typewriter. But there's one more wrinkle to this censorship plan. Both St-Pierre and Payette are alumni of the CBC.
St-Pierre worked at the CBC for 31 years before joining the government.
Sorry — she already was with the government, wasn't she? And Payette worked for the CBC for more than 20 years.
Of course they did. Do you think a private journalist would call for government censorship? Do you think a private journalist would try to marginalize their competitors using the power of the state?
This is the sickness having a state broadcaster has caused in this country.
The biggest damage isn't financial — it's not the $1.1 billion a year the CBC hoovers up from taxpayers.
It's the corrupting influence on journalism itself — how journalists are turned into government workers, into bureaucrats who care more about rules and power and unions and political games than about freedom and independence.
I blame St-Pierre. She's the political bully who is proposing this cockeyed law. But I also blame Payette for giving Soviet-style journalism an academic patina.
And I blame the CBC for being a massive petri dish in which such vile ideas can ferment.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 26, 2011 Sun column:
Layton's death has created a paparazzi-friendly partisan rally
A few brave columnists have said it, but now Quebec Premier Jean Charest has too: The untimely death of Jack Layton has been turned into a political weapon by Canada's left wing.
A rival politician named Amir Khadir, the co-leader of a Marxist and separatist party called Quebec Solidaire, just couldn't help himself.
Charest, like every other Canadian political leader, community leader, Rotary Club president and chess club president, had already issued a contrite statement of public grieving in the wake of Layton's passing.
Charest's was particularly generous, though he has rudely not yet agreed to dye his hair orange to trump Toronto's plan to bathe the CN Tower in the NDP's campaign colours. (Calgary, which has never elected an NDPer federally, shone orange lights on one of its bridges, just to beat the rush).
Maudlin displays of public grieving — by those who had little time for Layton when he was alive — are one thing. But to Khadir and his left-wing party, Charest's eulogy wasn't a generous, non-partisan remembrance of the death of a decent man. It was an opportunity for Khadir to score partisan points. He responded like he was heckling in question period.
Khadir — the boorish politician who noisily promoted a boycott against a shoe store in his riding because it dares to sell some shoes made in Israel — thought he'd turn Layton's still-unburied corpse into a political weapon.
In a ramble that likely only made sense to Khadir's fellow Marxists, he condemned Charest's eulogy, claiming Layton would want the premier to stop acting on behalf of "special interests, foreign investors and friends of the party," and that should have been mentioned in the premier's remarks. Gross.
But really, how much more crass has Khadir been than most of the Media Party? When it emerged NDP spin doctors have been crafting Layton's funeral plans for weeks, and even edited Layton's final letter to the public, the mainstream media didn't react with revulsion, or even indicate a distaste at having Layton's death turned into political theatre.
On the contrary, they were only too happy to play their assigned roles and read from the NDP's carefully crafted script. But what can account for Stephen Harper's sudden descent into this maudlin mania? What on earth caused Harper — the man who has restored the dignity of the office of the governor-general, who has brought back the tradition and sobriety of Canada's monarchy, who just this summer gave the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force back their proper names — to grant an official, state funeral to a man who, no matter how personally appealing, has never held high office in this country?
For heaven's sake, Layton's casket was put on a car and wheeled over into Quebec, then back to Ontario. It went on one last campaign tour. It's surprising no PCO protocol officers have quit over this bizarre indignity — not just to Layton, but to the concept of a state funeral.
Jack Layton had many admirable qualities. His death is a loss for his family and friends and those who saw him as a political champion. But that is different from being a matter of state — by definition, an order of authority and dignity that remains above the fashions of elected politics of cults of personality.
Charest is right: Khadir is a disgrace for using Layton's death as a political weapon. But so is our Parliamentary Press Gallery for beatifying a mortal politician.
And the greatest surprise is the Conservative government — a government whose respect for history, tradition and restraint has been wiped away by corrupting a state funeral into a paparazzi-friendly partisan rally.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 22, 2011 Sun column:
Can democracy follow Gadhafi?
Libya's Moammar Gadhafi is on the run. It's possible that as this newspaper was being printed, Gadhafi, Libya's dictator for 41 years, has been caught or killed.
Over the weekend, rebel Libyan clans, aided by air strikes from NATO, pushed into the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
This is being hailed as a great victory against a great tyrant.
And in many ways, that's true. Gadhafi hasn't just been a butcher of his own people, as most Arab dictators are. He has also been an active anti-Western terrorist, with a specialty in bombing civilian airliners, including a 747 over Scotland in 1988 that killed 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground.
But what now?
Let's assume that Gadhafi, like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, like Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, is about to be driven from power. But look at those two countries today: Still run by dictators — even though the international press gallery has moved on. Can liberal democracy take root?
Saddam Hussein was toppled in Iraq. Same with the Taliban in Afghanistan — both happened with NATO help, just like this war against Gadhafi. That wasn't the hard part. The hard part is holding those countries, stopping the rebels from becoming just as bad, and stopping opportunistic countries like Iran and Russia and China, and opportunistic terrorist groups like al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, from taking over.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, it's taken hundreds of thousands of NATO troops on the ground — incurring thousands of casualties.
There is no appetite for that amongst NATO countries, even those who are in this war for oil.
The rag-tag coalition that is beating Gadhafi in Libya, called the NTC, doesn't exactly look like Canada's Fathers of Confederation. It includes communists, Islamic radicals and plain old thugs.
How do they make decisions? Well, three weeks ago, they arrested their own top military commander, Abdel Fattah Younes, and murdered him. Say hello to the new boss. Same as the old boss.
Is this really a foreign policy success? U.S. President Barack Obama will probably call it that, just like he called the toppling of Egypt's Mubarak a success. But the U.S. has no plan for the Middle East — Egypt is turning towards radical Islam and Iran, and away from freedom and the West. Look for the same in Syria, if it falls.
Obama has made it clear from the very first days of his presidency that he will not lift a finger for democratic activists in the Arab or Muslim world. Obama's speech in Cairo later that year was even worse — it didn't call for fundamental freedom; it did the opposite: It said dictatorships could each have their own definition of democracy.
Compare that to Ronald Reagan during the Cold War. Along with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, he gave covert help to democratic groups, like Poland's Solidarity movement.
And Reagan gave moral support, publicly condemning the Soviet Union, calling it an Evil Empire, telling the Soviets to tear down the Berlin Wall. It sent a signal to democracy activists behind the Iron Curtain that they would be helped. Obama and today's useless NATO leadership are sending the opposite message.
They couldn't give a damn about democracy.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 20, 2011 Sun column:
This ain't no party
With Turmel at the helm, the NDP is a disgrace to its honourable history of social democracy
Canada's population is booming — 34.5 million people, according to Statistics Canada. But that growth isn't evenly distributed.
Over the past 10 years, Western Canada has grown a lot, and Ontario, too. Not so for Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. But Canada's House of Commons hasn't kept up with this trend. The last time new MPs were added was eight years ago.
That means some ridings in places like Toronto and Calgary have around 150,000 citizens. Compare that to Prince Edward Island — the whole province has just 141,000 people, but they have four MPs and four Senators.
As a minority government, the Conservatives introduced legislation to add 18 seats to Ontario, seven to B.C. and five to Alberta to even things out a bit. But the bill was never put to a final vote. Now Tim Uppal, the Conservative minister of state for democratic reform, has said it's a priority.
But not Nycole Turmel, the interim leader of the NDP. She doesn't want to change the proportion of the House of Commons because it means Quebec would lose a bit of clout.
Look how she said it: "The approach of the Harper government is really divisive right now. It's not constructive, it's not nation-building."
Not constructive? How is adding new MPs to represent shifts in population not constructive? And not nation-building? What does that even mean? And this, "really divisive." How is it divisive?
We have a tradition — a Constitutional convention, you could say — of representation by population. We're lacking that right now. Wouldn't it be divisive not to fix it?
It's literally been done 20 times since Confederation. When Canada was born, there were 181 seats in Parliament: 82 in Ontario, 65 in Quebec, 19 in Nova Scotia and 15 in New Brunswick. Adding new MPs made sense as whole new provinces were being added. And, yes, each time Quebec lost a bit of clout.
Welcome to a democracy.
But when it comes to deciding between Quebec's power and Canada's national interests, Turmel and the NDP choose Quebec — although the majority of Quebecers are surely democrats, who believe in rep by pop, even if it means losing some power. Ordinary Quebecers would surely put the sacred principle of democracy over some trifling political advantage.
Not Turmel. The explanation is obvious: Turmel has been a long-time member of Quebec separatist parties. She was a member of the Bloc Quebecois. And, at least until a few weeks ago, she was a member of an even more radical separatist party called Quebec Solidaire.
So whose agenda is she really promoting? The NDP is an unserious party. No one was more surprised with their electoral successes in May than they were — this is the party of Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the candidate who spent part of the campaign in Las Vegas, only to come back to strike the jackpot on election day.
Half the NDP caucus is made up of accidental MPs like that. And now their leader is a long-time separatist supporter, who has committed her party against democratic equality for the West and Ontario.
Imagine if Tommy Douglas, the NDP's first leader — from the Prairies, by the way — were around. He'd be shocked at what his party has become.
The NDP's socialist economic policies mean they've never been serious. Every once in a while, Canadians forget this and elect a disastrous NDP government provincially — like Bob Rae in Ontario. Turmel has shown that despite its head count in Parliament, the NDP is less serious, less credible and even less Canadian than ever.
It's a disgrace to the honourable history of patriotic social democracy in this country. And it's an embarrassment to Quebec voters who clearly voted by using a dartboard.
It's ironic: Turmel, the accidental NDP leader from Quebec, is actually the best advertisement possible for giving more seats to other provinces.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 13, 2011 Sun column;
Big Brother wants to silence us
A few months ago, the great Krista Erickson, host of a show called Canada Live on the new Sun News Network, interviewed a Montreal artist named Margie Gillis.
Instead of just telling Gillis how awesome she is, Erickson asked her some good questions about why she needed money from the government to dance.
More than $1.2 million over 13 years, in fact, for her and her company.
Krista and Gillis went back and forth for 20 minutes -- it was a vigorous debate, probably the first time Gillis was ever asked real questions, instead of just receiving a tongue bath from the CBC.
Because, really, how could the CBC ever ask Gillis about her $1.2 million in tax money for her dancing if the CBC takes $1.1 billion a year in tax money for what they do themselves? There is a built-in conflict of interest that prevents the CBC from doing real journalism, because they're owned by the government and they live off government welfare.
I was totally convinced by Krista. But some people were convinced by Gillis -- they thought she won the debate. But that's the thing -- for the first time ever, there was a debate about government-funded art.
Hallelujah! Finally, some free speech, some diversity in what has been a conformist TV news culture.
But Gillis and her fellow tax-funded government artists didn't like the fact Krista dared to question her. So they declared war on the Sun.
They immediately started a coordinated campaign to censor us. They set up Facebook and YouTube pages directing other government-funded artists to write to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and the government TV regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, to condemn us.
Just to be clear: Gillis didn't ask her friends to write to us. She asked them to write to the censors.
Well, it seems like every single Canadian artist who gets a handout from the government felt like their cash cow was in jeopardy, so literally thousands of them wrote form letters to the CBSC and CRTC to complain.
Imagine that: Artists are supposed to be at the forefront of freedom of expression. But government artists care more about their grant money than freedom. So they piled on.
Not to debate us. They don't believe in debate. They want to silence us.
Well, this week the Sun finally fired back. Our lawyers wrote a letter to the CBSC complainers explaining very slowly, and in small words, we are not part of the government. We are not like the CBC, which is owned and controlled by the government. We are free.
But if the CBSC puts us on trial, get this, their trials are held in secret. We're not even allowed to attend their hearing. Krista Erickson won't even be allowed to be there.
And if we're convicted, there isn't even any right to an appeal. It's a kangaroo court in every sense of the words. But if we don't submit to these censors, we don't get our TV licence renewed by the government. It's right there in our licence.
I don't know if the CBSC will hear the case, or convict us. I've dealt with censors before at Canada's oppressive human rights commissions. In my experience, they enjoy throwing their weight around. It's pretty much their reason for existence, isn't it?
If we are convicted, I predict a chorus on the left -- including our government competitors at the CBC state broadcaster -- will try to snuff us out.
They liked things a lot better when there was only one, official view allowed. We're finally providing the other point of view.
Do you like the Sun News Network? The TV ratings say hundreds of thousands of Canadians do.
Well, enjoy it while you can because Big Brother doesn't like it one bit.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 7, 2011 Sun column:
Free pass for Syria killer
Boy, we're getting tough on Syria.
John Baird, Canada's foreign affairs minister, met with Hillary Clinton, his U.S. counterpart, and they held a very stern press conference in which they denounced Syria's tyrant, Bashar al-Assad.
He's the one mowing down his own citizens by the thousand. You know, tanks shooting at civilians kind of thing.
But do not worry, Canada and the United States have denounced him.
Which is an improvement over U.S. President Barack Obama's first approach to the Arab dictators, back in 2009, sending them a sternly worded apology.
Assad is slaughtering his own people, especially in the town of Hama. Which is fitting. Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad, who was Syria's dictator before him, killed more than 20,000 people in that same city in 1982. The world didn't stop him then, and they're not stopping his son now.
The United States and Canada can't even bring themselves to call for Assad to leave.
The official U.S. line is they continue to seek ways to "isolate" Assad, and are glad "international opinion" is shifting against him and are "committed to seeing violence end."
But it's not the role of the United States or Canada to be the world's policemen. There are plenty of tyrannies in this world and it's simply impossible for America, even with NATO's help, to take the role of globo-cop.
Take the NATO-led mini-war in Libya. That air war was purportedly started to fix the exact same problems we see in Syria, a brutal dictator killing protesters. At first, the air strikes were supposed to just stop Moammar Gadhafi from killing civilians. But then NATO decided they wanted a regime change and began to target Gadhafi himself.
After months of bombings, hundreds of Libyans are dead — including dozens of civilians. Several of Gadhafi's children are dead, too. But the old Colonel remains unscathed. Last week, the French government announced it was withdrawing its aircraft carrier for a break.
Mission accomplished, I guess — France had shown how morally pure it was, had spent some money blowing things up, and thought it was time to go home.
The only thing worse would have been if they had actually killed Gadhafi. What would France (and the U.S. and Canada) do then? Would we put soldiers on the ground to actually police the country through its revolution to a democratic transition? Would we be a physical buffer between rival clans and gangs? Would we stick around for eight years, as the U.S. has done in Iraq? Or 70, as the U.S. has done in Germany and Japan?
Leftist, one-world-government types have concocted a fuzzy theory called the "responsibility to protect," requiring western nations to do just that — to make other countries' business our own business, even if (especially if) we have no real national interests at stake. The idea is so fashionable it even has its own nickname, R2P.
R2P would have western soldiers everywhere in the world from Rwanda to Darfur to Syria to Libya to Zimbabwe. It's social workers with rifles — which is not what the Canadian Forces were trained to do, nor is it what Canada's military was created to do.
We have a military to defend our borders, and to project our might around the world judiciously to defend our national interests. Like the Second World War.
The slaughter in Syria is a shame and a scandal. But it is not in our national interests to attack Assad. Just as it is not in our national interests to spill a single drop of Canadian blood in Libya, either.
We should do what the French have done — declare victory and head home.
Let the Europeans keep fighting in Libya. Unlike us, they're actually there for a national interest.
They buy a million barrels of conflict oil a day from Libya. It makes sense for them to fight in Libya.
Not for us.EZRA LEVANT - QMI AGENCY
My Aug. 2, 2011 Sun column:
Putting a new face on the oilsands
The chief criticism of the oilsands is esthetic: Open-pit mines just don't look pretty, and there's some big ones in Northern Alberta.
Only 2% of the land area of the oilsands will ever be mined that way — in the other 98% of the land, the bitumen is too deep to be dug out. That oil will be produced underground — on the surface, the land will be undisturbed and critters will still be frolicking. And even the 2% that is mined is not all mined at once, and all of it must be reclaimed to its previous state (as 61 square kms already have been).
But try arguing all of that against one single picture of oilsands pornography — the emotionally shocking pictures of the open-pit mines that look like something out of the Land of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings.
And therein lies the essential political problem of the oilsands: They look bad.
Add to that literally 100 paid, professional anti-oilsands activists in Canada — most of them bankrolled by foreign lobby groups, like the $200 million/year multinational corporation called Greenpeace — and you've got a major strategic threat to Canada's prosperity and even our sovereignty.
Canada pulled out of the Great Recession earlier than any other G8 nation. Prudent economic policies were important. But it helped that the oilsands pump tens of billions of dollars into the economy each year — across the country.
But none of these facts are sexy; none of this can be shown in a single photograph. And the oilsands' advocates don't tend to break the law like Greenpeace regularly does — trespassing and vandalizing oilsands refineries, or even breaking out of the Calgary Tower to unveil their latest propaganda.
And that's the problem: The oilsands truth is boring. Anti-oilsands lies are exciting.
Which is why the new grassroots movement called EthicalOil.org is so promising.
I'm a bit biased, because the project is inspired by my book of the same name, and I'm a volunteer with them. But I truly think they're going to help equalize the debate against Canada's foreign anti-oilsands agitators.
EthicalOil.org will take no government money, unlike anti-oilsands “think tanks” like the Pembina Institute. It will take no foreign money, unlike anti-oilsands lobbyists like Environmental Defence.
It's being run by Alykhan Velshi, a grassroots organizer whose parents are refugees who fled racial oppression in Africa. So he knows a little something about the choices we make when we fill up with a tank of gas.
If your gas doesn't come from Canadian ethical oil, it's probably from Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE or some other dictatorship.
That's the choice. And suddenly the discussion isn't about boring statistics. It's about whether you're OK with Saudi terrorist oil, Iranian nuke-building oil, Nigerian pollution oil, Sudanese genocide oil. It's about ethical oil versus conflict oil.
EthicalOil.org's website has shocking pictures contrasting the treatment of women in Iran with the treatment of women in Fort McMurray — where the mayor is a young woman. That's illegal in Saudi Arabia.
There's an ad with a picture of young gay men being hanged in Iran — contrasted with Toronto's gay pride parade.
Would you buy a shirt made by slave labour in the Third World? If not, why would you buy foreign oil that's just as unethical?
Already the Greenpeace types are apoplectic.
Good — it's about time.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY