The Striking Resemblance Between Justin Trudeau and a Harry Potter Character

Actress Emma Watson as Hermione Granger mesmerized by avowed master wizard and supposed hero Gilderoy Lockhart.
Actress Emma Watson as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador mesmerized by avowed feminist and world leader Justin Trudeau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The commentariat from time to time like to make comparisons and draw parallels between politicians and fictional characters to illuminate on the personality of the public figures. However, in the case of Justin Trudeau the two types of fictional characters commonly linked to the prime minister by pundits have woefully missed the mark.

A couple months after the last election, former National Post columnist and now Prime Minister’s Office staffer Michael Den Tandt mused about which Star Wars character Justin Trudeau was in his “Sunny Ways v. the Darkside”. In the hagiographic puff piece–published in The Walrus, a magazine and registered charity heavily connected to the Liberal Party of Canada no less–Den Tandt suggested Justin Trudeau is a heroic martyr the likes of “…Star Wars, not to mention the narrative spine in the mythologies of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, Joshua, King David, Osiris, Superman, Joan of Arc, [and] King Arthur…”

Many pundits have been sculpting elevated Augustus statues of Trudeau column after column, but this deification took a gigantic leap of faith and logic to accomplish, turning a blind eye to the real man’s scant accomplishments and work ethic in the past before seeking Canada’s highest office. But just as absurd as the comparison of Luke Skywalker to Justin was, even more absurd was right-wing provocateur and journalist Ezra Levant’s dull hatchet job in his weak linking of Trudeau to Derek Zoolander. In the movie Zoolander (2001), Ben Stiller plays a moronic model who is “really, really ridiculously good-looking.” Other than their supposedly Adonis-like good looks and love for the camera and fame, Trudeau and Zoolander have very little in common. Trudeau obviously demonstrates high emotional intelligence, political savviness, and–errr–umm–ahh–some charisma. Zoolander’s simply a pinhead.

As the struggling and beholden-to-Trudeau Canadian media continue to generally lionize our PM as they beg for a $350 million bailout, many Millennials continue to fall for Trudeau’s cheap charm and cliches while he sells out our futures with crippling national debt. Fortunately there’s a character from our generation’s formative years bearing a striking resemblance to our PM who will likely resonate with younger readers, hopefully enlightening (red pilling, awakening, etc.)  them on Trudeau’s true character. Weaving together this fictional character’s uncanny likeness to Trudeau should help cut through the sheer phoniness of the current narrative of cheery Trudeaupia, revealing an underlying cautionary tale of charming deceit.

J.K. Rowling’s second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, has an infamous main character called Gilderoy Lockhart. The narcissism and arrogance of Lockhart leads to the over-confident charlatan placing others in danger because of his own ego and ignorance. Lockhart is figuratively and practically Trudeau’s doppelganger. In honour of Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary since Rowling first lit a fire in the imagination of millions, let’s look at how one of Rowling’s magical and memorable characters mirrors the Canadian PM. I’m sure Trudeau will appreciate the comparison, after all he is a huge fan of fantasy worlds.

First, on a superficial, appearance level these two dandies are cut from the exact same colourful cloth. Trudeau loves showing off his snazzy socks. Lockhart loves strutting around in his flashy robes. Trudeau showing off Star Wars socks. Lockhart donning “forget-me-not blue” robes. Trudeau wears rainbow socks. Lockhart wears “robes of aquamarine.” Trudeau in pink Nato socks. Gilderoy in “sweeping robes of turquoise.” Trudeau in yellow skulls and crossbones socks with purple backgrounds. “Gilderoy Lockhart, wearing robes of palest mauve today, came striding out.” Justin Trudeau striding out on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan pulling up his pants to show off red and white maple leaf socks, later holding up gifted Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest socks. “…Gilderoy Lockhart was walking onto the stage, resplendent in robes of deep plum…” Trudeau showing off tone-deaf and mismatching Pride- and Ramadan-themed socks. Lockhart wearing “lurid pink robes” for his tone-deaf Valentine’s celebration.

Adding to their foppishness, both Trudeau and Lockhart flash pearly white smiles constantly and have immaculate wavy dos they make way too much ado over. In Rowling’s second book Lockhart is constantly referenced as caring a lot about hair: “Harry saw several of the Lockharts in the pictures dodging out of sight, their hair in rollers,” and “… but Miss Hermione Granger knew my secret ambition is to rid the world of evil and market my own range of hair-care potions…”

Trudeau similarly takes great thought and care for how each lock of hair on his head is placed. The media have even taken a deep interest in his personal hair stylist and “much-envied mane.”  

Lockhart staring into a mirror at his own dreamy face. Photo Credit: Warner Bros Studio.

 

PM Justin Trudeau’s cover photo on Delta Airlines magazine SKY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, being two dandies, the cameras love them and they love the cameras.

Shortly after being elected PM, Trudeau went and did a photo shoot with Vanity Fair. Trudeau constantly basks in the limelight, doing vapid interview and photoshoot after vapid interview and photoshoot: Yes Theory, Vox, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, BuzzFeed, Maclean’s, VANCITY BUZZ and Facebook, The Daily Show, GQ, and SKY (Delta airline) to name a few.

In some of these vacuous appearances Trudeau takes vapid quizzes answering questions like “Sunrise or sunset?”; “First line of poetry that comes to mind”; and “Best gift you’ve ever given?”

In Lockhart’s first class he gives out a pop quiz to students with questions like “What is Gilderoy Lockhart’s favourite colour?; “What is Gilderoy Lockhart’s secret ambition?”; and “What, in your opinion, is Gilderoy Lockhart’s greatest achievement to date?” 

(Thank you to the video-editing wizardry of my friend Aaleya Waslat, Instagram @aaaleya)

Trudeau also can’t resist taking selfies with adoring fans, no matter the occasion. At the funeral of former finance minister Jim Flaherty Trudeau thought it was appropriate to take a selfie at the somber occasion. Trudeau defends the constant selfies under the pretense he’s engaging with everyday Canadians, but obviously it’s superficial engagement and a great marketing ploy for himself. Every time Trudeau takes selfies with groups of Canadians they share the pictures with their hundreds/thousands of friends (voters) on social media, building the PM’s brand of being a supposedly down-to-earth guy who cares about everyday Canadians. All it takes for the PM is a hello, smile, and click. Trudeau also has his own personal photographer–almost like Colin Creevey stalking Harry Potter with his camera, except Trudeau revels in it–shadowing him and staging pictures like the “photobombing” of a prom in Vancouver or having the Globe and Mail take a picture of Trudeau’s photographer taking a picture of Trudeau signing a picture of himself. (In the movie version of the second book, Lockhart in the flesh can be seen standing in front of a picture of himself painting a picture of himself.) 

Lockhart showing off in front of a painting showing him painting a picture of himself. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Studios
Trudeau signing a picture of himself while his personal photographer takes a picture and another photographer takes a picture of his photographer taking a picture of Justin Trudeau signing a picture of himself. Photo Credit: David Chan for Globe and Mail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there are the actual photobombs of weddings, etc.

Trudeau also clearly likes to rub elbows with other celebrities to gain more star power. In Davos he hung out with Bono and Kevin Spacey. Perhaps Trudeau personally requested his rock-star friend headline on Canada Day instead of a Canadian act so they could be seen hanging out again. Then there are also the New York City appearances, like the picture-only availability for a workout at a boxing gym.

Furthermore, when events should be about others, Trudeau has a knack for making it all about himself. The last two Pride parades in Toronto have been all about how Trudeau attended. A terminally ill Gord Downie’s last concert became a photoshoot for Trudeau. The last press gallery dinner Trudeau was outshone by the new CPC leader Andrew Scheer, so he ran up to shake hands at the end of Scheer’s speech in a desperate attempt to get the spotlight back on himself. Many of Trudeau’s jokes at the dinner fell flat–like ironically saying Scheer would turn the Conservative’s colour from blue to beige–because when someone is so self-conceited and cocky they don’t come across as funny. The scene is very similar to a cocksure Lockhart underestimating his opponent and “assistant” Professor Snape only to be bested and knocked over during a combat demonstration for his new dueling club. Bet on a narcissistic Trudeau trying to make tomorrow’s Canada 150 celebrations all about himself as well.   

kevin-spacey-bono-and-justin-trudeau
Trudeau basking in stardom with his buddy Bono.

Lockhart similarly has an insatiable hunger for publicity and being the center of attention. When Lockhart spots the famous Harry Potter walk into his book signing he has Potter dragged up to the front so he can have himself photographed next to The Boy Who Lived for the Daily Prophet:

“‘Nice big smile, Harry,’ said Lockhart, through his own gleaming teeth. ‘Together, you and I are worth the front page.’”

Lockhart also loves jumping into photos. When he sees a fan of Potter’s snapping shots he butts in.

“‘Come on then, Mr Creevey,’ said Lockhart, beaming at Colin. ‘A double portrait, can’t say fairer than that, and we’ll both sign it for you.’”

At the beginning of the book Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy get into a brawl. Instead of being appalled, Lockhart is excited about the possibility of extra publicity. “‘He was pleased,’ said Fred. ‘Didn’t you hear him as we were leaving? He was asking that bloke from the Daily Prophet if he’d be able to work the fight into his report — said it was all about publicity.’”

Lockhart similarly fancies himself a comedian, but his self-inflated ego and humble brags fall flat as well.

“‘Me,’ he said, pointing at it and winking as well, ‘Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, third class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and five times winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award — but I don’t talk about that. I didn’t get rid of the Bandon banshee by smiling at her!’

He waited for them to laugh; a few people smiled weakly.”

When Potter has to do detention, Lockhart insists his punishment be helping him answer his fan mail. During the detention Lockhart lectures Potter on fame, “Fame is a fickle friend, Harry.” 

During tragedy Lockhart also tries to make it all about himself. When the caretaker’s cat is petrified, Lockhart suggests they go to his office and wants to be the hero. “Lockhart, looking excited and important, hurried after Dumbledore.”

Both Trudeau and Lockhart obviously don’t let their fame go to their pretty heads; Both enjoy “prattling” on about their greatness and fans.

Lockhart: “He and his school fellows will, in fact, be getting the real, magical me.”

Trudeau: “I talk about how I’m a feminist as often as I can. And every time I do, it gets huge reaction. And media reacts and the Twitterverse explodes–and things like that–because here I am saying ‘I’m a feminist.'” (Vox interview)

Lockhart: “I know, it’s not quite as good as winning Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award five times in a row, as I have — but it’s a start, Harry, it’s a start.”

Trudeau: “It was like–I came in and the woman who was in–who I took the picture with–recognized me, but the one who was taking it didn’t. So I sorta smiled, she took the picture right away and I kept walking and counted down in my head, ‘Three, two, one,’ and I heard ‘Oh my god!'” (CBC’s “Face to face with the Prime Minister”)

Beyond Trudeau and Lockhart having haberdash and balderdash in common, the similarities only multiply when looking even closer at the two. Both were briefly teachers of English and drama. Although Lockhart is officially the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, after his initial lesson goes disastrous he spends the rest of the school year reading from his books and getting Harry to re-enact Lockhart’s stolen tales of heroism.

“Since the disastrous episode of the pixies, Professor Lockhart had not brought live creatures to class. Instead, he read passages from his books to them and sometimes re-enacted some of the more dramatic bits. He usually picked Harry to help him with these reconstructions; so far, Harry had been forced to play a simple Transylvanian villager whom Lockhart had cured of a Babbling Curse, a yeti a head-cold and a vampire who had been unable to eat anything except lettuce since Lockhart had dealt with him.”

For those unfamiliar with Trudeau’s bio, he spent a few years teaching English and drama in British Columbia.

Both Lockhart and Trudeau use their talents in storytelling and acting to embellish and inflate their own past credentials.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Lockhart incessantly cites his “autobiography” Magical Me. The opening scene introducing Lockhart is of him peacocking at his book tour. The irony of his autobiography’s title is that Lockhart isn’t all that magical, constantly misfiring and miscasting spells throughout Rowling’s book. On top of this, it’s later revealed Lockhart stole and took credit for others’ work and heroics.

Similarly, while Trudeau was running to become PM, he released his own “autobiography” Common Ground. The irony of the title is that Trudeau has lived a life of incredible privilege and affluence, having nothing in common with the middle class he purports to be relating to and championing. Most of the book spends time puffing up his relatively mediocre c.v. and discussing his experience travelling across Canada. Even the cheer-leading Althia Raj admits Trudeau’s credentials are pretty thin in her biography of the PM: “camp counsellor, white water rafting instructor, bungee jumping coach, snowboarding instructor, bouncer, high school teacher, radio host, engineer school dropout, grad school dropout, not-for-profit administrator, public speaker, member of parliament.”  Although Trudeau has graced much of the ground across Canada (something most Canadians don’t have the luxury of doing) where everyday Canadians live, Trudeau in all other respects is on a different planet than the average citizen. Adding to the parallel with Lockhart, Trudeau on his book tour takes full credit for his autobiography, “I worked and reworked and I wrote–and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always loved writing. I’m proud that every word in there is mine and in my voice.”

But a Toronto Star article tells a different story: “The actual writing of the book was a group effort. Trudeau sat down with various interviewers (including the National Post’s Jonathan Kay), and then the taped recollections were sorted by editors and advisers. Once all the stories were woven together, Trudeau himself grabbed ‘stolen hours’ on weekends or at the end of workdays to put the manuscript into his own voice.”

Leaning Trudeau
Trudeau leaning back dreamily. Photo Credit: Vanity Fair.
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Lockhart leaning back dreamily. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Studios.

The likeness only becomes more uncanny from there. According to Fandom, Lockhart had “tremendous ability, and he was cleverer than most of his classmates, but he had a bad flaw in that he would not try unless he was the very best.” His bio also reveals that Lockhart also planned to be Minister of Magic (the wizarding world’s equivalent to PM).

In Common Ground Trudeau explains his bouts of academic laziness and failures on his own aversion to put forward effort unless he was perfect.  

“But at the same time, I knew that I did face a real challenge: I was stuck with a mildly crippling form of perfectionism, as in the phrase ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good.’ A light panic gripped me whenever I sat staring at a blank page. … I chose not to try nearly as hard, so why should anyone be surprised when my marks failed to match [my father’s]?”

After receiving degrees in English literature and teaching, Trudeau would later drop out of engineering program and a master’s program in environmental geography. Yet Trudeau maintains he’s still brilliant without having to try.

“I knew I was more than capable. Whenever I took a high-stakes one-off standardized test, such as the ones administered by Brebeuf to new applicants, the results were top-notch. On the SATs I took in my last year of high school, I scored 1400, putting me in the top 5 percent. This was good enough to get me into arts at McGill, despite my erratic grades. A few years later, when, mostly on a lark, I sat for the Law School Admission Test, I cleared the ninety-eighth percentile.”

The humblebrags carry throughout, all the way to the end in Trudeau’s acknowledgements: “They were all extremely patient about working around the craziness of my schedule and adjusting to the impossible pace I keep.”

Lockhart is equally grounded.

“I was a Seeker too. I was asked to try for the National Squad, but preferred to dedicate my life to the eradication of the Dark Forces. Still, if ever you feel the need for a little private training, don’t hesitate to ask. Always happy to pass on my expertise to less able players…”

What adds to the hilarity is that both Lockhart and Trudeau are not really experts at anything except being celebrities, yet they feel the need to vaingloriously retell stories about themselves and lecture seasoned professionals on their fields of expertise as if the cocksure amateurs are the experts’ betters.

Trudeau, before becoming a politician (and after), was a professional public speaker. For thousands or tens of thousands dollars Trudeau would be paid to speak at events hosted by charities and school associations about his “expertise” in teaching and the environment. Many times he would be speaking to teaching professionals with decades of experience, meanwhile he only had a few years experience himself. As for the environment, Trudeau only studied the subject for a year, yet he felt comfortable taking money to lecture others on the subject.

Lockhart, throughout Rowling’s second novel, gives unsolicited advice to other teachers on their subjects. Lockhart tells the potions teacher how to make potions. He tells the Herbology teacher how to plant mandrakes. He tells Hagrid how to do his groundskeeper job.

Once Trudeau became Canada’s PM he has continued to go to summits and conferences lecturing on subjects he likely knows very little about, especially in comparison to his audience. It’s kind of ridiculous for Trudeau to take the stage to lecture business leaders and economist as if he’s a wiz on the subject.

So how do these dandies get away with their phony pretentiousness?

They both use charm to distract from their ineptitude and flaws.

Lockhart uses his wand to cast memory charms on real heroes to wipe their memories of their daring feats, then publishes books appropriating their stories.

Trudeau uses the media to cast memory charms on the public. The fawning media publish puff piece after puff piece about him. Much of those in media are partial to Trudeau because of the promised money he is pouring into their industry that’s in flux.  He also grooms journalists for lucrative PMO jobs, ensuring they’ll be on their best behaviour. As the saying goes, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” And boy is the tune cheery. When Trudeau remembers lines about quantum computing and tells reporters he really hopes someone asks him about it before a press conference, and then recites his rote explanation about it instead of answering a reporter’s actual question, the seals clap and report the staged publicity stunt as if it was spontaneous brilliance.  The media are fixated down on what Trudeau wears on his feet than up where he’s placed them.

Trudeau’s and Lockhart’s charm and fame results in them breaking rules because they think they are above the rules and can get away with it.

Gilderoy explains how celebrities are above the law to Harry: “Celebrity is as celebrity does, remember that.”

After Trudeau was called out for staging the “photobomb” Vancouver jogging picture the media initially lapped up his response was, “Look, I do things.”

He sure does.

Who can forget Trudeau mysteriously disappearing off the face of the earth to go to the billionaire Aga Khan’s private island, the head of a charity lobbying Trudeau’s government? Or the time Trudeau crossed the floor in parliament to physically drag someone to their seat because the opposition was holding up his precious time? Or the time Trudeau called another MP “a piece of shit!”? Trudeau also has a horrible attendance record at parliament because he’d much rather be out doing publicity, stroking his own ego, rather than doing actual work and responding to difficult questions from the opposition that are supposed to hold him accountable. But don’t expect the compromised press to point that out. Trudeau even wanted to change the rules of parliament so he wouldn’t have to attend as much. During the cultural appropriation brouhaha Trudeau got a free pass for his aboriginal tattoo and costumes he’s worn over the years.

Lockhart doesn’t follow the rules either. When the teachers at Hogwarts are supposed to be escorting children in the passageways after several attacks on students, Lockhart ditches his class to “prepare my next class.”

“‘Prepare his class,’ Ron sneered after him. ‘Gone to curl his hair, more like it.'”

Both men have many adoring fans, and a majority appear to of the female persuasion.

In Rowling’s novel many females are enamoured by Lockhart. He plays it up, like sending a personal letter to Hermione. In turn, even the brilliant Hermione becomes spellbound by the fraud’s charm, overlooking his many blunders.

“‘He just wants to give us some hands-on experience,’ said Hermione…” and “‘Rubbish,’ said Hermione. ‘You’ve read his books–look at all those amazing things he’s done…”

Watching Trudeau in interviews you can see many of the women goggling. All he has to do is say sweet nothings like “I’m a feminist” and “It’s 2015” and they’re putty.

In reality Trudeau has made many of his female colleagues do his dirty work and can be quite nasty to female opposition MPs, like sticking his tongue out at them. Trudeau has fall gal MPs, given fool’s errands doomed to fail like the electoral reform debacle.

Lockhart similarly has Hermione clean up his mess when he releases pixies into the classroom that wreak havoc while he runs away.

Then there is also the patronizing way Trudeau tries to be a white knight. His affirmative action plan in making skewed gender quotas is an insult to women and men equally. And then there are the hokey statements like, “Hey Snapchat, there’s lots of things you can do to be a better feminist as a man, but here’s a simple one. Don’t interrupt women–ahhh–and notice every time women get interrupted in conversations.”

Thanks for that enlightening advice, Romeo.

It is this arrogance and ignorance of Trudeau and Lockhart that leads to both of them putting others in danger.

Lockhart isn’t actually experienced at combating evil creatures, but he pretends he is. Throughout the novel his ineptitude gets others hurt. Lockhart wrongly believes Hagrid is the one behind students being petrified. His actual inexperience against the dark arts and his foolish belief that the danger has been removed results in more students being attacked. When Harry breaks his arm during quidditch, Gilderoy fails to cast the right spell to heal his arm, instead making the bones disappear entirely.

Trudeau claims to fight for the middle class, however his best friend and top adviser was behind the green energy schemes in Ontario that contributed to fracturing the manufacturing sector in the province. Instead of helping restore manufacturing, a backbone of Canada’s economy, Trudeau is now implementing nation-wide carbon pricing that will help this essential sector disappear.

Lockhart, in his ignorance, signs a permission slip for Hermione to take out a restricted book from the library. She uses it to create a potion that backfires and results in her being bedridden for weeks.

Trudeau, likely in his ignorance, signed off on his top two staff charging taxpayers over $207,000 in moving expenses. A pittance in the grand scheme of things, but it showed Trudeau’s lack of respect for the public purse and foreshadows what his fiscal ineptitude will bring in the future. Trudeau is set to sign off on a government infrastructure bank to get loans from private investors to fund government work projects to ostensibly help stimulate and grow the economy. In reality, the scheme will result in Trudeau’s fellow one percenters bilking taxpayers with above market interest rates and their companies doing jobs way above estimate costs. The rich will get richer off the backs of taxpayers, the government projects will not leave any lasting growth to the economy, and with a–already out of control–ballooning deficit fit to burst Trudeau will have to raise taxes on the already squeezed middle class to pay for the squandered billions. Add in an economic downturn and the national debt could become as unmanageable as Ontario’s.

When Trudeau tries to fix what he has broken one can see it going very much the way it did with Lockhart.

“He rolled up his sleeves, brandished his wand and bellowed, ‘Peskipiksi Pesternomi!

It had absolutely no effect; one of the pixies seized Lockhart’s wand and threw it out of the window too.”

Canadians should remember and heed the wise words of Dumbledore come next election.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trudeau’s Continued Underfunding of Canada’s Military Unlikely to Last

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals released its annual budget last week and there was no additional funding earmarked for defense.

Not since 1972, when Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliott Trudeau was PM and first cut military spending, has Canada contributed two percent of its GDP to defence. Canada currently spends just under one percent of GDP on defence and is in the lower half of NATO nations in its percentage of GDP spent on defence.

But as President Donald Trump calls for all NATO allies to pay their fair share in defending the West–the agreed upon two percent–it’s unlikely Trudeau’s government’s continued underfunding of Canada’s military will given a pass by the White House.

During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington Trump said, “Many countries owe vast sums of money and it’s unfair.”

He then proceeded to specifically call out Germany shortly after the visit, tweeting: “Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

So far Canada has avoided being singled out by Trump’s wrath. Trudeau’s first White House visit with the the President in February appears to have gone relatively smoothly, and there was no mention of Canada’s failing commitment to NATO.

In other meetings in February between Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan the U.S. Department of Defense readout stated Mattis “thanked Canada for its commitments to NATO and the counter-ISIL campaign.”

However, the same readout also highlighted the need for continued investment in the military. “The secretary and minister also discussed the importance of defense investments and modernization to ensure continued cooperation.”

Defence Minister Sajjan’s press secretary Jordan Owens says Canada is fully committed to NATO. “The two percent of GDP pledge is an aspirational statement which aims to reverse the trend of declining defence expenditures and to make the most effective use of defence funds. We have stopped the cuts to spending, are focused on military outputs…” explained Owen by email.

Sprott School of Business professor and public policy expert Ian Lee believes there could be horse-trading going on between the two countries behind the scenes. Instead of Trump demanding Canada increase its defense expenditures, the president could instead ask for further concessions from Canada in the renegotiations of the NAFTA agreement, like opening market access to American businesses for Canadian government contracts and the agriculture sector currently protected by a supply-management system. The Globe and Mail reported last Friday that Trump’s administration has been circulating a draft letter with 40 agenda items for possible renegotiation.

“Given that Trump says he wants to at the same time renegotiate NAFTA–and he’s certainly been very clear on that–and he’s also talked about other aspect like buy American, hire American … and given our economy is more integrated with the American economy than any other economy, I can potentially see linkages between our underperformance on our two percent commitment and renegotiations with NAFTA. I’m sure both parties would deny it, but I’m not so sure there wouldn’t be linkages there,” explained Lee by phone.

The CBC and National Post have both pointed out that the Canadian Armed Forces is in a dilapidated state. The procurement of new equipment and fleets also continue to be delayed. The Trudeau government has stalled on the purchase of F-35 aircrafts, instead signalling their intention to buy 18 of the cheaper Super Hornets in the interim. As the federal shipbuilding program continues to be mired in setbacks, Canada’s navy only has 12 outdated patrol frigates and four failing diesel submarines to defend the biggest coastline in the world.

“To be very blunt, we are right next door to the United States–the largest economy in the world and the superpower–and we’re under the protection of the American umbrella. We know that if there was… any kind of incursion into North American space … the Americans would respond,” said Lee.

Trudeau’s most recent budget–which will be the second consecutive budget to run nearly a $30 billion deficit to pay for new infrastructure and innovation projects–has been widely reported as deferring the spending of an $8.5 billion in defense procurement fund until 2030.  

However, the defence minister’s press secretary denies the 2017 budget defers the funds. “[W]e will be spending it much earlier to pay for acquisition and maintenance of new equipment over the life of the equipment. Since we cannot begin paying the procurement or maintenance costs on equipment before we receive it, we re-profile the funds – setting them aside for later – to ensure that we have cash on hand when the bills are due. The bulk of the costs re-profiled in this year’s budget were for Fixed Wing Search and Rescue aircraft that we will begin to acquire and pay for in 2019; new ships for our Navy, which we expect to begin receiving and paying for in the late 2020s; and upgrades to Army LAVs,” countered Owens.

On Friday Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told his counterparts at an annual foreign ministers meeting that the U.S. wants NATO nations to have a plan by the time Trump meets with the other countries’ leaders in two months’ time.

Trudeau responded in Toronto later in the day: “Canada has always been one of the handful of countries that has always been ready and capable of stepping up on important missions of participating and of punching well above their weight.”

And during budget week Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the Canadian Armed Forces were “appropriately provisioned.”

Trudeau’s Liberal government is expected to release a defence policy review looking at the future of Canadian military expenditures, but the government has given no timeline for its release.

 

Video: Trudeau called ‘scumbag’ at press conference

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was giving a press conference in Winnipeg earlier this afternoon when he was interrupted by a man calling him a scumbag.

“Your carbon tax has failed, people know what you’re up to. It is a tax on everything. Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you and your globalist counterparts. You’re a scumbag. You’re an absolute scumbag,” yelled the heckler.

Trudeau looked shocked at first, but then smirked when the man was escorted out of the room. He then lost his train of thought when continuing speaking in French.

The angry protester may have been outraged by the news today, reported exclusively by Blacklock’s Reporter, that a secret government memo admits the carbon tax could rise to six times the initial rate.

The man who shouted at Trudeau can be seen posing as a journalist in this other video of the scene.

 

CBC: Trudeau’s State Broadcaster

So the CBC has officially become the state broadcaster for the Liberal Party of Canada. The CBC’s latest Canada 150 series “Canada: The Story of Us” has a gross minute-long introduction by our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doing his pedantic and patronizing part-time drama teacher shtick in reading empty platitudes from a teleprompter. Here, watch for yourself.

 

The CBC also has Trudeau as the spokesperson for the promotional radio ads for the series. So why would the CBC think this appropriate for a so-called public broadcaster to do? Well, if you pay any attention to the CBC they have the same progressive, socialist ideology as Trudeau. It also helps that the Liberals delivered on their promise to give the CBC an additional $150 million annually to its $1.1 billion federal boondoggle. This played well for the Liberals last election, as I pointed out in a a widely-read piece entitled “CBC’s Insolent Election Bias.” The inherent bias at the CBC only worsened once the compromised broadcaster had successfully delivered Trudeau and the LPC the election win with its puff pieces and gross propaganda (CBC, with its huge head start in funding, is by far the largest platform in Canada, thus having a huge influence over the general population).

The day Trudeau was sworn in Peter Mansbridge bragged CBC had exclusive access to the new PM the whole day, failing to mention his close family connection to Trudeau’s Director of Communications. CANADALAND’s reporting on that revelation had Mansbridge’s buddy (father of Trudeau’s political operative) and long-time LPC operative Bruce Anderson leaving Mansbridge’s The National‘s all left-wing political panel. The painfully long anti-journalism segment primarily consisted of a sycophantic Mansbridge fawning over the CBC’s chosen one, which Christie Blatchford soundly eviscerated the professional announcer for.

The CBC then doubled-down, giving Trudeau an hour-long special “Face to Face with the Prime Minister” in which the CBC created a reality TV-like production with dramatic music and all. The broadcaster sold it as the PM giving unprecedented access in allowing 10 everyday Canadians interviews with PM. Yet Trudeau had only been in office a couple months, no time for any leader to have done anything substantial, so he had no record to defend, and as I pointed out in “10 Hitches With CBC’s 10 Canadian ‘Face to Face’ with PM” the show was hardly about keeping the new PM honest. Mansbridge, in a blog post, bizarrely touted the production by saying the CBC was tough on Stephen Harper, not allowing him to sit by a fire in his last holiday interview. Meanwhile for Trudeau, Mansbridge and the CBC thought it was appropriate to give him an hour long show with a dramatic scenes of each show contestant entering his office, capturing their star-struck reactions, as if they were the lucky 10 given golden tickets to meet Willy Wonka. Even political operatives from Hillary Clinton’s campaign were trying to re-enact the PR exercise.

Liberal supporters/CBC apologists love to counter that the CBC board of directors is full of Conservative Party of Canada types. But a critical analysis of the daily content clearly shows they are at arm’s-length from CBC’s content. The same cannot be said of the LPC and the Prime Minister’s office. It’s nice to see the CBC being so blatantly partisan again, since usually day after day the CBC brainwashes everyday Canadians with insidious content that is subtly crafted and framed to benefit the LPC and left-wing causes. I hope the CBC continues to openly embrace its new role as Canada’s Pravda-esque state broadcaster so more Canadians will get wise to how our supposed public broadcaster is for sale to the political party with the highest bid. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

 

 

Western Provinces and Nova Scotia Given Disproportionately Less Canada 150 Grant Money Last Two Years

An analysis of Canadian Heritage’s proactive disclosure of the distribution of Canada 150 grant money in the past two years shows the western provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia) and Nova Scotia have thus far received significantly smaller portions of overall grant money in comparison to their respective proportions of the national population.

By the end of last year, Canadian Heritage had approved and distributed a little over $151 million in Canada 150 grants to Canadian businesses, schools, municipalities, NGOs, charities, etc. The Canadian Heritage department is still in the process of dividing the remaining $49 million of the $200-million Canada 150 Fund, but so far some provinces and territories have fared a lot better than others in the division of the fund.

Ontario has thus far come out the big winner with $75,261,117 or 49.8 per cent of Canada 150 grants being given to the province’s businesses and organizations in the last two years, despite the province only making up 38.3 per cent of the overall population. Quebec ($38,957,426 or 25.8 per cent), Prince Edward Island ($3,141,507 or 2.1 per cent), Northwest Territories ($683,500 or 0.5 per cent), Yukon ($1,473,000.00 or 1 per cent), and Nunavut ($1,069,255 or 0.7 per cent) also did well in comparison with their population sizes respectively at 23.2 per cent, 0.4 per cent, and about 0.001 per cent cent for all three territories.

Alberta fared the worst, receiving only $5,483,514 or 3.6 per cent of the Canada 150 fund thus far distributed, despite 11.6 per cent of all Canadians living in the prairie province. Other provinces that received disproportionately less in the last two years were New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.

image-5
% Grant Money/% Population: ON=49.8/38.3, QC=25.8/23.2, NB=1.5/2.1, AB=3.6/11.6, SK=1.7/3.1, MB=3.4/3.6, BC=7.9/13.2, NF=1.4/1.5, PEI=2.1/0.4, NS=0.6/2.6, NWT=0.5/0.001, YK=1/0.001, NVT=0.7/0.001

Certain cities also fared far better than others, receiving disproportionately higher amounts of the Canada 150 Fund compared to their population sizes. Cities like Edmonton and Hamilton make up 2.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent of Canada’s total population respectively, but they only received 0.8 per cent and 0.0002 per cent. On the other hand, Toronto and Ottawa make up 7.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent of the population respectively, but received 18.7 per cent and 15.6 per cent of the Canada 150 Fund given out thus far.

image-7
Percentage of Canada 150 Grant Money Received by City: Toronto=18.7% ($28,273,020), Montreal=13.6% ($20,532,119), Calgary=1% ($1,578,492), Ottawa=15.6% ($23,622,176), Edmonton=0.8% ($1,190,522), Mississauga=0.1% (211,500), Winnipeg=3.3% ($4,961,800), Vancouver=3.3% ($5,061,448), Brampton=0.001% ($155,000), and Hamilton=0.0002% ($25,000)

Before some readers in certain areas of the country get upset, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly’s press secretary Pierre-Olivier Herbert explained why there has been a disproportionate division of Canada 150 grant money between the provinces and territories thus far.

“As they come in they are sent to the departments in batches and evaluated. We still have over a thousand applications that are still being assessed. It’s normal that we don’t see a provincial balance yet, but it is something we are striving towards,” explained Herbert.

Yet over 75 per cent of the Canada 150 Fund has already been given out, so its unlikely the fund will be completely balanced proportionately among the provinces, let alone cities. Herbert said the program was extremely over-subscribed. “We got billions of dollars in asks for a $200 million budget.”

For local initiatives alone, the department received a deluge of 3,285 applications. So far the department has approved 365 projects and declined 1,883 applications, and is now in the process of sifting through the remaining 1,037 applications over the next couple of months.

The Canada 150 Fund is separated into three types of grants. $80 million is set aside for “Signature Initiative” grants, which are pan-Canadian sesquicentennial celebratory activities that reach communities across Canada. So far these types of grants have been largely benefiting businesses and organizations based in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

Another $20 million is for major events, and the remaining $100 million is for “Community Driven Act” grants, for regional or local Canada 150 projects. When analyzing the distribution of just these regional grants, again, certain provinces tend to fare better than others.

Canadian Heritage aims to have all the money allocated and proactive disclosures completed for the Canada 150 Fund by April or May.

Attention Dear Reader: If you enjoyed this piece and want to see more, please support my work. I’ll be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now you can support my work at Loonie Politics by becoming a member for $5 a month. With the promo code Gordon the yearly membership will only cost you $40. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/. I am also now a member of the Queen’s Park Press Gallery, so expect in-depth coverage in the coming weeks from the Ontario legislature.

‘Shattered Mirror’ report’s suggestions to fix Canadian media wonderful for a Black Mirror episode

On Thursday the Public Policy Forum (PPF) released its government-commissioned report, “The Shattered Mirror”,  which depicted today’s world as a “post-truth” dystopian nightmare. According to the report’s ominous introduction, “Established news organizations have been left gasping” and  “native digital alternatives have failed to develop journalistic mass.”

Then the report–GASP!–asks the reader to “imagine a world without news: how atomized and dysfunctional it would be.”

Of course the premise is absurd in the information age, where information is more accessible than ever before, which Toronto Star columnist Paul Wells pointed out so well in his scathing “Politicians guiding journalism? No, thanks.”But this report–given $200,000 from the Liberal government–cites the supposed rise of fake news “outperforming” real news in Facebook engagement as a main reason the government needs to bail out the legacy media.

However, Buzzfeed‘s coverage of fake news–which Shattered Mirror heavily relies on–didn’t account for the fact that the supposed rise in fake news corresponded with the firing of the human curators of the social media giant’s trending news module, which then allowed fake news to break into the Facebook trending list because the algorithm didn’t discriminate fake from real. The report does take this into account, but dismisses the scandal of Facebook’s human curators removing legitimate conservative news as “conservatives complaining” and welcomes wholeheartedly Facebook’s and Google’s renewed efforts to target fake news sites. The report shows no real reservations towards the tech giants’ censorship,  even though Facebook’s partisan censorship scandal was a major revelation last year.

Even more egregious, the report claims a poll from Buzzfeed and Ipsos supposedly “found that large majorities had believed such stories as Pope Francis endorsing Donald Trump.” However, as I pointed out in my Loonie Politics piece “Hype over rise in fake news is fake news“, Buzzfeed‘s data shows only an average of 16.8 per cent of respondents had heard of the fake news stories, and 75 percent within that group believed it, or only 12.5 per cent of respondents on average.

Shattered Mirror’s implied conclusion that the vast majority of American’s were duped  is flat out wrong, although to be fair to the creators of the report, a cursory glance at the misleading click-bait article–“Most Americans who see fake news believe it, survey shows” probably duped most readers. The data shows only a small minority of the American population, probably about the same portion of the population that believe The Onion or National Enquirer are real, actually fell for these stories. The report’s omission of the total number of respondents (1,809), insults the intelligence of average Americans–especially smearing Trump supporters as largely gullible and stupid, when in fact largely they hadn’t been duped by fake news. On top of this, Shattered Mirror notes how closed “bubbles” of like-minded users form on Facebook, so it is very likely that only 16.8 percent of Americans had ever heard of the fake news, and 75 percent of that low-information group were susceptible to believing in it, because the fake stories were circulated within bubbles of made up largely of uneducated people.

capture_2017-01-27-18-30-16
Shattered Mirror report misrepresents data on fake news, showing data that suggests large majority of Trump supporters believed fake news, only actually 12.5 percent on average.
capture_2017-01-27-18-35-06
Original Buzzfeed article shows the amount of Trump supporters who had heard of the fake news stories was low. Shattered Mirror report omits this part of the Ipsos poll.

The report uses this fake premise of fake news influencing large majorities of the populace as a major reason why the government should step in to fund the legacy media. The report repeatedly cites Trump’s populist victory, supposedly largely fueled by fake news, as a failure of a weakened and private news industry in America. The report implicitly reasons, if the people don’t listen to the legacy media ordering them to vote for one candidate the media as a whole must be broken, so the Canadian government should come in and prevent this from happening here. Ultimately the report seems to conclude that the government should restore the legacy media’s power over the news narrative: “The 20th-century news media are less and less prominent, except to provide grist for a public conversation they no longer control.” (Civil discourse, yuck.) And then this government-indebted media–according to the report–will be healthy enough again to bite the hand that now feeds them, keeping government institutions’ accountable and politicians’ feet to the fire. Let’s be honest, we all know wild animals become docile when repeatedly fed by humans; the press is no different when fed by the government. To many Canadians, our legacy media have already become far too tame, compromised, and ingratiating with those in power.

Sadly, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly says she is “very proud” that her government is at the forefront of wanting to combat fake news internationally and believes in the reports premise that fake news is a sudden phenomenon that the government needs to play a role in quashing.

The report also tries to downplay the successes of digital-only news startups, highlighting how most have failed thus far to be financially successful and haven’t reached as large an audience as the legacy media. But PPF’s report fails to recognize the elephant in the room. Legacy media are giving away their content for free and already have an unfair financial advantage of government subsidization in the forms of government advertising, government subscriptions, tax breaks to their advertisers, the Canada Periodical Fund (hundreds of millions of dollars), postal discounts (tens of millions), the Canada Media Fund ($371.2 million in 2016-17), the $1.2 billion annual subsidy given to the CBC, etc. The report also notes only 9 percent of Canadians pay for their news (have hunch a large portion of this group are disgruntled conservatives funding Rebel Media because the government-funded media doesn’t speak for them).

But when most of the government-funded legacy media is giving their content away for free, subsidized by taxpayers, why would Canadians fork out more money from their own pockets when they are already taxed to death, and so much news is readily available free of additional charge?

If the legacy media were weened off government welfare and forced to compete in the free market, they would quickly develop a more competitive business model (like locking valuable content behind a paywall), or they would die. A drying up of free access to journalism would prompt more Canadians–ideally with extra money in their pockets from lowered taxes–to pay for the news of their own choosing (the horror!). Also, the increased free market competition would promote more hunger for organizations to get regular scoops. With the inevitable death of some of these redundant legacy media organizations, new media would have more room in the market to flourish.

This “non-partisan and independent think-tank” PPF’s Shattered Mirror–that just coincidentally has PM Justin Trudeau hosting its 30th Annual Testimonial Dinner–came up with 12 recommendations to staunch the “bloodbath” of “journalistic carnage” (and journalists thought Trump’s inaugural address was hyperbolic). I’ll only discuss the most important one here (I’ll save the rest for another piece), the report calls for the government to tax Facebook, Google and other foreign media, and then redistribute funds to domesic outlets which legacy media will undoubtedly get the lionshare. Although the government is supposed to be at double arms-length in redistribution of this $300-400 million fund, the deciding on who gets funding will undoubtedly become politicized, like the current process has.

It’s in the Liberal’s interest to have the major media organizations more dependent  upon them for survival. Pesky new media like Canadaland, The Rebel, Raving CanuckBlacklock’s Reporter, Loonie Politics, National Observer, and The Tyee are leaner and meaner organizations that give the political establishment headaches. Necessity is the mother of all invention. These startups must have interesting and original content to attract enough customers in order to survive. On the other hand, legacy media tend to regurgitate press releases and politicians talking points. The new media punch well above their weights, often beating the lethargic legacy media for scoops.

Like Canadaland‘s Jesse Brown said at a symposium: “leave me alone, so I can continue to bother you independently. When you fund my competitors, you are endangering me. Do not fund Postmedia if they are failing.”

The government isn’t likely to listen to the little guy. The Heritage Committee in the coming weeks will release its own proposals for how to proceed, and one would expect them to echo the call for a government bailout for the legacy media, if Minister Joly’s recent rhetoric is any indicator.

When the Liberals inevitably bailout the terminally-ill legacy media, expect more of this type of journalism from Globe and Mail‘s Simon Houpt:

Sure, this honour is premature: What, after all, has Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly actually achieved? Still, in initiating a wholesale review this year of the federal policies that oversee the country’s $48-billion broadcasting, media and culture sector, the rookie MP is in the promising first moments of what could be a historic performance of political plate-spinning. “Everything is on the table,” she declared in April, simultaneously enthralling and alarming the industry, aspiring creators making videos in their basements, and regular people who think it’s important to be able to watch and read and listen to Canadian stories but also want the government to keep its grubby hands off their Netflix. In a world of peak TV and shrivelling news coverage, does Joly side with those who believe the CRTC, the Broadcasting Act, the CBC, Telefilm, the NFB and other legacy instruments of government cultural policy have outlived their usefulness? Or with those who believe regulations and agencies need to be strengthened to help preserve a space for Canada amid a global flood of content? Stay tuned; it’s going to be a hell of a show. Simon Houpt

If Shattered Mirror and it’s absurd recommendations are enacted, Canada will get more and more fake state propaganda like the drivel above. The Liberal elites of Canada are absolutely petrified by the populist movements of Brexit and Trump. Both movements shattered the idea that the mainstream media has the power to control how the majority of the populace thinks and votes (okay, maybe not quite in Trump’s case, but maybe after the voter fraud investigation). The Liberal government wants to glue the shards back together again, place the mirror back up on the wall, and be told they’re the fairest of them all. Media entrepreneurs must oppose this and reflect the government and its policies for what they truly are–warts and all.

Attention Dear Reader: If you enjoyed this piece and want to see more, please support my work. I plan to make a living off the merit of my work, not from government charity. I’ll be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now you can support my work at Loonie Politics by becoming a member for $5 a month. With the promo code Gordon the yearly membership will only cost you $40. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.

 

 

2017 is the year Canada goes full Pravda

Today a report from a Public Policy Forum study–contracted by the federal government–is going to be released recommending that Canadian media be further subsidized by the government. PPF touts itself as “an independent, non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the quality of government in Canada”, but the first thing one sees on the think tank’s site is a picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who will be hosting the organization’s Annual Testimonial Dinner and Awards in April (with other progressive politician Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi also in attendance).

Yesterday, The Globe and Maclean’s both had the inside scoop on PPF’s report–and both have their hands out begging–on how the government-funded PPF report will advise the Liberal government to give the failing legacy media more money. Bombardier move on over, there are plenty of other companies joining the corporate welfare line. According to The Globe piece (“Ottawa facing growing calls to bolster media industry“) the report “is expected to provide a road map for government to bolster professional journalism as a key component of the political process.”

Apparently PPF members aren’t aware that state-funded journalism like the CBC produces government propaganda, failing to be an independent fourth estate holding the government to account. One need look no further than CBC’s fawning coverage of Trudeau during last election cycle, and the TV special “Face to Face with PM” to see the favourtism and partiality the broadcaster has for the new PM. Trudeau has repaid the favour by giving the state broadcaster another $150 million more in annual government funding, adding to its $1.1 billion federal subsidy. Now the government broadcaster continues to downplay Trudeau’s gaffes and scandals in its coverage, as it awaits to see if its request for $400 million more in annual funding ($300 million to go ad free, and a bonus $100 million thrown in for the hell of it) will be granted by the PM’s government.  He who pays the piper calls the tune.

The Maclean’s piece (“Canadian news industry at a ‘crunch point’ report argues“) suggests the author of the report, journalist Edward Greenspon, thinks the Canadian news industry “finds itself at a mission-critical crossroads, and needs a helping hand if it is to resume its role as a guardian of democracy.” Apparently the report is going to recommend tax breaks and a potential bailout for the industry, but not annual subsidies. Whatever the suggestions are in the report today, the government propping up major media outlets in any way is a horrendous idea. The industry is already de facto funded by the government with government ad buys and grant money, like aid to publishers of which Roger’s Media receives just under $10 million annually for its failing magazines.

Looking at the proliferation of new media popping up across the Canadian media landscape, there seems to be promise. Canadaland, iPolitics, Loonie Politics, Blacklock’s Reporter, Queen’s Park Today, Vice Canada, BuzzFeed Canada, and The Rebel–along with bloggers–are all new media that are growing. Some of these new media outlets were consulted by PPF for its report. Canadaland responded in an open letter that its business model was successful because it has the most popular podcasts in Canada and has broken many stories, essentially from merit and hard work. Canadaland founder Jesse Brown stressed that his news outlet believes in an even playing field where no one is given government subsidies:

What we do not welcome is government subsidies for our competitors. Too often in Canada, tax breaks, funding and other programs intended to help small startups and innovators like ourselves get hijacked by legacy players. It’s a trivial matter for a newspaper to launch a digital lab or project for the sole purpose of tapping these funds, leveraging their brand and status to take the lion’s share of the subsidies. At this point, with their efforts underwritten by the government, our competitors could conceivably undercut us on advertising rates and push our revenues down to the point where we would no longer be profitable. We run our organization on a budget lower than the annual salary of one top Postmedia or CBC executive. As sustainable as we are, we are also vulnerable to market interference.

On top of the PPF report, the Liberal government’s Heritage Committee was tasked with reviewing the future of Canadian media last year by doing a series of public consultations, and will come out with its conclusions and recommendations in a report to be released in a few weeks time. Although the new subsidies or bailouts for the industry won’t likely be implemented until the 2018 budget, Canadian news media’s fate will likely be foretold in these upcoming reports from PPF and Heritage Committee.

Sadly it appears the Liberals enjoy giving Canadian legacy media money because of the reciprocated fawning coverage paid to them in return. This propping up of failing legacy media by the government won’t just compromise these outlets’ journalistic integrity, but will stunt the growth of new media’s entrepreneurial spirit when the incumbents are given an advantage of millions of dollars in welfare from the government.

Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly continues to signal the Liberals intentions to step in to fund the legacy media, tweeting on Monday:

Reiterating and further hinting at the government’s plans again on Tuesday, Joly explained to Liberal-ally and host of CBC’s Power and Politics Rosie Barton the following:

“Having access to credible and reliable information was important [to Canadians]. Now, the government has always been involved in supporting the media sector in different ways. First of all, by funding CBC, our public broadcaster. Second of all, through supporting weeklies and periodicals, and also through tax policies–industries have been supported and certainly that can be an issue for the media. Ultimately as a government, the most important thing we are asking ourselves is how can we foster a healthier democracy, like we asked in our public consultation process. And ultimately why we needed to make sure that we work on this important pillar is that–in the context of fake news–we need to make sure that we understand the impact of social media, the impact of the filter bubble, the impact of digital literacy–people understanding –digital innovation, while there is so much going on. How they can be able to understand facts and differentiate fiction from reality. So this is an important question. I’m very proud to say that we were ahead of the curve and we’re one of the only governments really talking about this internationally and moving on this subject in 2017.”

So it appears Canadians are too stupid to discern real news from the fake stuff, so we must have our information filtered from more state-funded public relation firms sanctioned by the government. What could go wrong with the government teaming up with Facebook, Google, and legacy media in policing and deeming what is fake news?

Financial Post columnist Kevin Libin soundly mocked Joly and the government on their ridiculous suggestions of intervening to combat fake news in a humorous column entitled “The only fake news the government wants you to see is government fake newsThe only fake news the government wants you to see is government fake news“, which I highly recommend everyone read. Libin, myself and any self-respecting journalist see the government as the antithesis to journalism, and don’t want an already heavily government-dependent industry even more reliant on its adversary.

Instead of letting the legacy media die, allowing for the space and talented people it leaves behind as room and compost for new media to grow, the Canadian government is going to stifle natural growth and prolong the inevitable decline and death, by scrapping completely the competitive free market. The report coming out later today and in a few weeks time will be very telling on just how Pravda-esque Canada will become in 2018. The Heritage Minister’s comments don’t bode well.

 

Full disclosure: I have contributed to Canadaland and am a columnist with Loonie Politics. If you’d like to support me and other independent journalism at Loonie Politics, please go to my about page to find out how.

As a freelancer I also submit opinion pieces to the CBC’s opinion section and have had a couple pieces published thus far with the public broadcaster. Although this may appear as gross hypocrisy on my part, since I write for a publication I criticize so vehemently and believe its journalistic integrity is by-and-large compromised because of its government funding, I justify my contributing to the broadcaster as a freelancer because I am submitting conservative opinions that would otherwise not be published by the CBC. I’m also not an employee of the CBC, so I am in no way beholden to the national broadcaster. Furthermore, as I try to establish myself and eke out a living as a freelancer I have to send pitches to as many publications as possible, and CBC–flush with $1.2 billion of taxpayers’ money–pays well. Kudos to my editors at CBC for publishing me with the full knowledge of my anti-CBC sentiments, I’ll concede the CBC isn’t all bad–and does do some good work by talented people. The plan is to eventually become self-sufficient from my work on this blog and contributions to other new and independent media.