Alleged Toronto Serial Killer was Santa Claus at Scarborough’s Agincourt Mall

As news broke today that Toronto Police had arrested and charged a man with two counts of first-degree murder of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, social media swirled with speculation over whether or not a profile on Facebook matched that of the alleged killer.

On the Facebook profile of alleged killer Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, there are pictures of the accused dressed up as a mall Santa Claus, with nearly about a dozen eerie pictures of him with kids sitting on his lap. Some accounts on Twitter suggested these pictures were from the Eaton Centre, but they’re actually from Agincourt Mall, located at 3850 Sheppard Ave East,  Scarborough. There are pictures from the mall’s profile and another Facebook user that confirm McArthur was the Agincourt Mall Santa Claus in 2015 and 2016.

Burce McArthur 2
From Bruce McArthur’s public Facebook page (Novermber 27, 2016).
From Agincourt Mall Facebook page
From Scarborough’s Agincourt Mall Facebook page.
Capture+_2018-01-18-19-11-05
A person’s public Facebook post of their Christmas photo with Santa Claus (alleged killer Bruce McArthur).
Capture+_2018-01-18-20-32-56
From McArthur’s profile, December 6, 2015.
Capture+_2018-01-18-19-24-05
From Agincourt Mall Facebook page.
Capture+_2018-01-18-19-35-19
From Agincourt Mall’s Facebook page.
train bruce mcarthur
Picture on McArthur’s Facebook page.

I’ve reached out to representatives at Agincourt Mall for comment and didn’t get a response in the first couples hours. I will update this story if and when I hear back.McArthur is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but a lot of people will be shocked to find out that their Christmas pictures of their children or families include an alleged serial killer dressed up as Santa Claus in them.

The fact that anyone can browse the pictures of an alleged serial killer, seeing their intimate pictures and how they mingled within society, is a bit bizarre and surreal, strikingly similar to something in a Black Mirror episode.

Other pictures on McArthur’s Facebook page suggest he lived a comfortable lifestyle. In some posts it’s almost as if he was flaunting his ability to elude police – if he’s indeed the killer.

Some Facebook users noticed they had common friends with McArthur.

After Toronto Police announced that they think McArthur was also the perpetrator in other murders in the gay village, many new questions arise as to how and why the police didn’t piece this together sooner as many in the community suspected this for years, and the police always said they didn’t believe several disappearances were the act of a serial killer, despite three men disappearing in the area years ago and other disappearances occurring last year.

 

 

 

 

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What Was Wrong With CBC’s ‘The National Monday Night (October 30, 2017)

(What Was Wrong With CBC’s The National Mission Statement.)

Time allotment for The National stories on Monday.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQVB0WAiRxnvl197mGDHxN8Ai_8_II1vDjHuFlIFnbLM64QMqsa7DWAjO1_o6zOmOlnsd7cwLsx927n/pubchart?oid=1774440700&format=interactive

What was wrong with CBC’s The National Monday night:

  • The lead story about the indictments made no mention of the connection to the Tony Podesta, a Democrat operative also implicated in the indictments. The Russian investigation is going to reveal that political operatives on both sides of the aisle have been influence peddling for the Russians. It will be interesting to see if the CBC continues to make this solely a Republican story and continues to act as if Hillary Clinton’s operatives are not involved as well. It goes without saying this is a big story, but the way the CBC portrays it is they’re trying to tie it directly to Trump, but it’s much more nuanced than that.
  • David Cochrane’s report on the revelation that three or four more Liberal ministers also don’t have their assets in a blind trust got spun into a “tit for tat” story where the Liberals went after the assets of Consevatives, too. Some credit to Cochrane though, he did point out the differences between former Finance Minister Joe Oliver and current Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s investments, mainly that Morneau owned shares in a company he regulates. At the end of the report, though, Cochrane dismisses the Conservatives calling the the situation “an ethical cesspool” because the Ethics Commissioner signed off on it, but what has never been made clear in Cochrane’s reporting is that Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson asked the Harper government to close the ethical loophole in 2013, and she did not recommend Morneau exploit it, but simply advised him that under the current law it wasn’t necessary to put it in a blind trust. The Liberals have been trying to scapegoat Morneau’s own decision as that of him simply taking the advice of Dawson. Also, the CBC continues to leave out the juiciest parts of Question Period, like when Trudeau continues the gaffe from last week again in calling Dawson’s role as the “Conflict of Ethics Comissioner.” If a Conservative PM continued that gaffe the CBC would not be so kind as to ignore it from their reporting.
  • CBC continued it’s coverage of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry. The whole production has been one error after another, and like I’ve said before the CBC has been reporting on the hearings repeatedly and in-depth, which isn’t a bad thing but makes one wonder why it gets more precedence than a lot of other Canadian news stories that are more breaking. Like I’ve said though, CBC likes to devote more of its focus on the dead than the living because you don’t have to speak ill of the dead.
  • The next report worth mentioning was a report on the record levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Although I don’t deny that humans are having an adverse affect on the atmosphere and climate, the jury is still out on the extent of our effect. CBC presents climate change as if it is an imminent threat to mankind, and is completely in alignment with the Liberal government’s dogmatic stance. The other problem “climate skeptics” like myself have with climate change zealots is that the global communities ways to solve the problem are largely nonsensical and mainly force the developed world to commit economic suicide. After CBC presented the new report on the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they plugged an upcoming segment later in the week where science correspondent Bob McDonald will pretend to be an expert on everything climate change and take viewers’ (congregants’) questions.
  • Later in the broadcast CBC spent another 10-minutes talking about the indictments with two American journalists, a waste of time mainly and the host of course asked if Trump is closer to impeachment, even though the report clearly did not implicate him in any way.
  • The National then spent seven minutes on paddle boarding as a sport (skipped).

If you’re disastified with CBC’s coverage make sure to down vote Monday’s episode.

Monday’s The National

What Was Wrong With CBC’s The National Last Thursday (October 19, 2017)

I’m b-a-a-a-c-k. Sorry for the hiatus readers, I was halfway through this post on Friday–I also had to work on an article for another publication earlier in the day–but then the clock started running into the evening and I had already made plans for the rest of the weekend. Anyway, none of you are paying for this yet, so there should be no bellyaching from freeloaders (I’ll be monetizing the website once I’ve built more of a following and reputation for bringing the goods). I hope to catch up and do posts for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s The National in quick succession throughout the next few days to make up for my absence.

Once again, the second installment did quite well, reaching over 1,000 readers. The first post had some help from an aggregate site that put it up, the second post reached a little more people from simply kind readers sharing the post. Remember, we’re trying to harness our dissatisfaction and disillusionment with CBC’s bias by exposing the odd editorial decisions made on CBC’s flagship program, The National, by working together. You may think reading critiques of The National repeatedly would grow tiresome, but again, as I humorously break down the CBC program I’m also providing links and analysis on the day’s events that really matter, even if The National left most of them or key information out. So you also get a daily dose of news as well and my (hopefully) entertaining prose.

The best way for us to work together in our goal of holding the CBC’s feet to the fire is if everyone shares these devastating critiques on Twitter and Facebook to get the message out far and wide. Last post proves it’s already working; I’m getting a lot more visitors from both Twitter and Facebook thanks to you, and lots of new Twitter followers as well.

Okay, so before diving into deconstructing Thursday’s The National, I’d like to briefly discuss a tweet I made Friday that was pretty popular.

 

My tweet was in response to Butts tweeting out a Walrus magazine article.

Now, the article makes a few good points, but is overshadowed by hyperbolic rhetorical flourishes, which I’ll delve into in another post. For those who don’t know, The Walrus is a literary journalism magazine billing itself as the Canadian New Yorker. Unfortunately, as is often the case with Canadian cultural product, it is third-rate at best. (Sure, the writing is top-notch technically-wise (grammar, syntax, wording) but the content is b-o-r-i-n-g and mostly literary journalism that falls off a cliff into left-wing fantasy. Apologies upfront, this Graeme is not a pedantic grammarian, which The Walrus is full of. I wouldn’t mind about The Walrus at all though, except for the fact the magazine is a registered charity (I believe charity journalism is an oxymoron, if you have something valuable to say there will be enough people who will willingly pay you to say it) and receives hundreds of thousands from the Canadian Periodical Fund: Aid to Publishers grant annually and the foundation is riddled with Liberals. A couple of those Liberals just so happen to be Jodi Butts (Board of Directors), Gerald’s wife, and Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan (National Advisory Council), Gerald and Trudeau’s close friend. In an especially brazen act, The Walrus placed O’Regan as the head of the editorial review committee in the run-up to the last election, the same time period pro-Liberal stories were being published. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. If you’d like to read my stunning exposé on The Walrus, the story gets even more absurd, you can read “The Cushy Connections Between The Walrus and the Liberal Party of Canada”, which is on the media criticism outlet CANADALAND. What really grinds my gears about Butts tweeting out that story is no so much that that story was reported but that it was published by a magazine with charity status, a tonne of government funding, and only really does pro-Liberal, anti-NDP and anti-Conservative. Why would the magazine commission a trumped-up story to smear Andrew Scheer, but would stay mum on the Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s jaw-dropping scandal? I’ll have more on this later, including a funny little anecdote infiltrating the last Walrus Talk here in Toronto (my friend had tickets). Walrus publisher and head honcho Shelley Ambrose in her opening speech made sure to say The Walrus is not left-wing of right-wing, we have no wings. I’ll put a stop to that phony nonsense in my post on the blubbery Walrus.

Alright, moving on to eviscerating CBC’s The National last Thursday.

The opening stories previewed as top stories were: “The Finance Minister takes a grilling over his personal assets”; “The founder of the world-famous comedy festival resigns over allegations of sexual misconduct”; “Accommodation or intimidation? [Muslim women in niqab “We will not even have the right to go outside. I’m sure of it.”]  The backlash over Quebec’s new law”; [Justin Trudeau, “Sunny ways my friends, sunny ways.”] “It’s exactly two years after that historic night. At Issue takes your questions about the Prime Minister and how he and his Liberal government are faring.”

Finally, The National led with the proper stories. However, the face-covering ban in Quebec was presented in an incredibly bias way for the upcoming one-sided report.

Wendy Mesely: There is the letter of the law and then there are optics. The Finance Minister has learned that the hard way. So today, Bill Morneau said he will place all of his assets into a blind trust. Even though the Ethics Commissioner told him two years ago that wasn’t necessary. And as David Cochrane explains, it may not quiet the outrage.

Here was the divvying up of time devoted to the different stories on this episode. (You’ll have to click the links for now because I apparently have to upgrade my account now in order to embed charts.)

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRVdjitO-57w3hx82ilLMt0fpYFbvWViD8aEMiQV-MTIa-3NHHznNAgZyLK2GgzBQuozHpqdgYkQv_G/pubchart?oid=498107858&format=interactive

Host Wendy Mesley: It’s an unusual political scandal. The minister follows the law to the letter but still pays a heavy price.

Ummm so did Mike Duffy, but that didn’t stop the CBC from obsessing over $90,000 in housing allowances. And what ever happened to the story of Justin Trudeau top aides spending over $200,000 to move from Toronto to Ottawa? There’s nothing “unusual” about the public being outraged over a Finance Minister making decisions on pension legislation that would greatly benefit him personally because he held millions of shares in his family business still, when he had told people he was putting his assets into a blind trust and then never did.

Morneau: What we’ve seen over the last week is that I need to do more. As Minister of Fiance in this role make sure people have absolute confidence.

Cochrane: Doing more means selling the shares he owns in his former company Morneau Shepell and putting everything else in a blind trust. Something just last year the Ethics Commissioner advised him last year wasn’t necessary. ‘…a blind trust agreement is not required… the best measure of compliance would be to establish a conflict of interest screen.’

Morneau: I, perhaps naively, thought that, you know–in Canada, following the rules, respecting the recommendations of the Ethics Commissioner, respecting the recommendations of an officer of parliament would be what Canadians would expect.

Sure, the patsy Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson said he could do it so it must be okay.

Cochrane: “But that’s ethics. This is politics.

Right. It’s just his opponents playing politics and casting doubt on his being ethically sound.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre: Why does he expect us to blindly trust that he’s not hiding other conflicts of interests?

Bergen: We all thought he had placed his shares in a blind trust.

Cochrane: Each attack elicited the same answer.

Morneau: I worked with the commissioner to make sure she understood my situation. I took her recommendations and made sure that I moved forward with them to not have a conflict of interest. Now, I’ve gone one step further.

Cochrane: And each answer elicited more outrage.

Those unreasonable opposition MPs.

Morneau: That, I will think, will give a great deal of confidence to all Canadians.

Cochrane: The NDP drew a straight line for Morneau’s job to Morneau’s bank account. Proposed pension legislation that could’ve boosted the share value of Morneau Sheppel which manages pensions.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen: But how does pocketing millions of dollars from his work as the minister do anything but serve himself?

It’s nice to see the CBC didn’t completely gloss over all of the sketchy parts to Morneau holding onto his assets while affecting their value while Finance Minister.

Morneau: What member opposite knows is I fully disclosed my assets to the Ethics Commissioner, I worked with the Ethics Commissioner to get her recommendations, and I followed those recommendations.

Cochrane: Today’s move comes after a retreat by Morneau on his controversial package of tax reforms. He’s tweaked some and scrapped others due to some protests. A significant public policy decision that’s been largely overshadowed by the politics of his personal wealth.

Nothing really to see here, folks, the Finance Minister was above board in following the rules set out by the honourable Ms. Dawson.

Now, the following stories may not be in order because I watched the show a few days ago, but I did make some notes and will briefly make some criticisms of the most important stories before going over the At Issue panel segment that lasted an eternity.

The CBC loves to bash President Trump. I know he’s an easy target and there is plenty of criticism to be found, but they find fault with anything and everything he does. First they made sure to include part of former president George W. Bush’s speech indirectly criticizing Tump’s politics. Then Mesley segued into a follow-up story on the Puerto Rico hurricane disaster. Mesley introduced the segment by bashing Trump, saying it still looks like the hurricane just hit. The island was completely decimated, and to imply that the problems lying ahead for Puerto Rico are Trump’s fault is patently false. Relief and aid were brought to the island quickly, but distribution was a problem because of infrastructural devastation and a lack of truck drivers showing up to work. Puerto Rico also has a long history of corrupt left-wing politicians and Trump is an easy target for them to blame, and the CBC is more than happy to take them at their word. The CBC then used the “legendary break-dancer and hip-hop star” Richard Colon, a New York Puerto Rican, as their expert on criticizing Trump

“I look at the stupidity of it. I mean he’s a manchild,” and “We’re going to rise with or without his help.”

CBC also included a Puerto Rican woman who fled the island, also blaming Trump. There are plenty of real experts out there that would not blame President Trump for the slow recovery.

I think, as we go along in the coming days, we’re going to find extremely one-sided coverage on President Trump. I find Trump to be a pretty unsavoury character, but I see why millions of voters voted for some of his policies (and CBC lionizing a corrupt Hillary Clinton is just as despicable). I made that point, funnily enough, on the CBC opinion section in a freelance contribution. But don’t expect CBC news coverage to give much of a perspective on the pro-side of Trump’s policies. CBC has a long history of Republican-bashing and lionizing of Democrat politicians. But with Trump, they’ve taken it to a whole new level. North Korea’s Rocket Man’s state broadcaster and Canada’s Socks-and-Selfie Boy Wonder’s state broadcaster both love to use Trump as a scapegoat in ignoring criticism of their own Dear leaders many own blunders.

The National‘s story on the Just for Laughs founder stepping aside after sexual misconduct allegations was pretty succinct. Although I do find issue in the CBC finding any excuse to include a response from Trudeau on any news story. They included one of our Dear Leader’s feminist sweet nothing clichés addressing the issue.

The National‘s story on Sears going out of business completely missed the plot. The CBC’s story focused on Sears customers losing their extended warranties on appliances. (Funny enough, my brother was dealing with a a Sears representative over a problem with a fridge still under warranty about a year ago, and the representative tried to dupe him into buying an extended warranty when the writing was clearly on the wall for the company.) Obviously extended warranties wouldn’t be honoured by a company no longer in existance! The real story should’ve been about how Sears execs get to keep their fat bonuses and how, as someone I know put it:

“I went to Sears this week. Not to buy or write, Just to talk to employees before the sales started. Sad. 15 year employees, multiple family members working there.”

The National also covered the fatal ammonia leak that happened in B.C. Between these last two stories, and some others in the past couple days, I’m getting the sense The National prefers to cover the dead and dead issues more than the living and live issues. The National still hasn’t, to my knowledge, covered the explosive exposé by investigative journalist Sam Cooper, “How B.C. casinos are used to launder millions in drug cash“. I guess The National prefers dead and death stories over lives ones because you don’t have to speak ill of the dead, and we know the CBC doesn’t like to rock the boat of those in power too often.

The Quebec face-covering ban was another predictable story in the way it was framed. Dear Leader explained how he respected Quebec’s decision, but at the same time doesn’t agree with it (he needs Quebec, but doesn’t want to piss off his progressive supporters who think its progressive for women to wear the burqa or niqab.) The segment also mentioned how all of the Ontario legislature condemned the legislature. The unprecedentedly unpopular Premier Kathleen Wynne got an appearance of course, and an MPP from the other two parties. (But of course the Auditor General’s scathing report on the Ontario Liberal Party’s Fair Hydro plan, hiding billions in debt off the books, didn’t make The National.) The whole story focused on those who oppose the bill, not any of the majority of Quebeckers who support the ban.

At least you can always trust CBC’s reporter Natasha Fatah to do a more nuanced report. Too bad she wasn’t on The National. 

Then there was the boring and lazy viewpoint of retired CTV News anchor Don Newman explaining how cameras in the House of Commons have befitted our democracy. Instead of explaining how that is so, he instead mostly just rehashed memorable moments. What’s funny about this is that, as I pointed in the last post, CBC goes out of it’s way to exclude embarrassing footage from question period of Justin Trudeau putting his flashy-sock-covered foot in his mouth.

Now, finally, let’s go over the At Issue panel reviewing the Liberals’ last two years in power.

Before getting into the discussion, The National decided to spend 35 seconds reviewing the historical night of Dear Leader winning the last election. Instead of having footgae from the highs and lows, the CBC decided to just have a bunch of pictures and video from the euphoric crowd at Trudeau’s victory speech and of him taking selfies with people.

When the introduction video faded back to Mesley–the featured image I used for this article–she had a beaming smile and it looked like she almost had joyous tears of nostalgia welling up in her eyes.

Then she went after the bad guy doing damage to Dear Leader and his “sunny ways” government. (The following transcription is slighty redacted and might have the odd error here or there.)

Wendy Mesely: A bit of background first. Morneau has been accused of not being clear about his assets: that company with a villa in France, not putting millions of shares of his company into a blind trust. All while proposing tax changes that would affect other people’s finances.

Wendy, the bigger problem is him directly benefiting from his decisions as Finance Minister.

Mesley: The Finance Minister, with his announcement today, said that he is going to divest those millions of dollars worth of shares, put them into a blind trust, has put the fire out?

National Post’s  Andrew Coyne: I don’t think so. It’s one thing to do it two years after the fact, it’s another thing to do it when you should’ve done it, which is when you first came into office. I mean the villa in France was really only one issue. There’s this whole issue of not just that he did not put the money into a blind trust of divested as you would normally be required to do, but going to quite elaborate lengths to sort of get around the rules and that met the letter of the law but not the spirit of it. But much worse of course he was involved in legislation, C-27, pension legislation that would, a lot of people would argue, would benefit his former company Morneau Shepell. You put all of those things together it doesn’t look good from a conflict of interest standpoint, and then integrating all of that with the whole tax reform thing. For the Prime Minister and Mr. Morneau both to be lecturing other people about their use of tax shelters and private corporations, while they themselves are skilled practitioners of this if you will, it really has done a lot of damage to this government’s credibility on this file.

Coyne is usually on point in his criticism, but he only a contributor and not part of The National team.

Mesely: What’s your sense Althia?

Huffington Post’s Althia Raj: Yeah, I think he isn’t going to rid himself of the problems that have been plaguing him for the last week and if anything, today for example, the opposition attacked on two new different fronts–the Bahamian offshore accounts and the fact that he may or may not have recused himself from that discussion on that very bill Andrew just mentioned, C-27, I think that people feel like there’s lack of trust in regards to what Mr. Morneau is saying. And so while this is a really big decision–to basically divest not just himself of his shares, but his wife’s share and his kid’s shares. It’s a company that his family had built. But I think this is a bigger problem about the law. And I think if the Conservatives and the New Democrats and the Liberals can all agree that the Conflict of Interest Act should be made, then there should be really narrowed. Because right now it seems all parties like to criticize when they’re in the opposition but in the government they don’t really do anything. And there are giant, gaping holes in this Act that basically allow what is happening with Bill C-27, which is a pension reform bill that has basically driven the stock price of Morneau Shepell and possibly made Mr. Morneau $2 million in this short period of time this bill has been tabled, that that is totally fine according to the law.

It looks like even the Liberal-aligned Raj realizes she can’t polish this scandal up.

Mesely: What do you think Paul, is this a conflict of interest issue? What’s the biggest offence according to you?

Maclean’s Paul Wells: If this isn’t a conflict of interest issue then I don’t know what they look like. This guy legislated on pensions while he had a clear window into the old pension company that his family ran and in which he still had millions of dollars worth of shares. Among the people who falsely thought his assets were in a blind trust were a member of his own caucus, Adam Vaughn, a Toronto MP, and the public relations department of Morneau Shepell, which both claimed–which both stated, which they took to be the truth, which was that his assets were in a blind trust and they turned out to be wrong. So the villa in France is pretty bad, but this is why conflict of interest rules are made up. That you shouldn’t legislate on something that you have a glaring personal trust. And if on the off chance that this doesn’t contravene the rules, Justin Trudeau told his cabinet ministers when they were sworn-in, in their mandate letters, that the plain text of the rules and laws isn’t enough. You have to comport yourself in a way that is beyond all suspicion. Bill Morneau is up to his neck in suspicion because he did not comport himself in the way that his Prime Minister told him to.

Ouch. So obviously Morneau must go?

Mesley: Can he carry on? It sounds like he’s trying to blame [four TV monitors in the background still show the two identical photos of Trudeau with a smile beaming in the background behind Mesley, subliminally brainwashing viewers] the Ethics Commissioner, it could be interpreted, is that what’s going? Can he be saved, Paul, what do you think?

Paul Wells: Well apparently she told him ‘it’s up to you whether it’s in a blind trust.’ And he didn’t have the sense God gave a goose to make his own decision, ‘I’ll put it in a blind trust anyway.’ It’s become clear over many, many cases that the office of the conflict-of-interest commissioner is not ideally constructed and maybe needs a second look. But look, holy cow, the week that his government brought in a pension bill that stood to materially improve the financial position of the company with his name on it and had shares, you’d think a light would’ve went off in his head.

He didn’t really answer the question, but I think it’s safe to infer he Wells doesn’t think he can.

Coyne: And were back to the Mike Duffy defence. ‘It wasn’t specifically prohibited. I was told I could do this.’ At some point you have to use common sense and how it’s going to look to the common person.

Mesley: Well and, Althia, this is the government that’s presented itself as the champions of the middle class, but I guess after the trip to the Aga Khan’s island and so on, people are focusing on them as richies. Is that fair?

Raj: Yeah, I think it would’ve been perhaps better strategy for Mr. Morneau to come out and say, ‘listen, we want to stop people from using private corporations because they can shelter money away from the tax man. And I’m totally fine, and I’m going to forfeiting x-amount of thousands or perhaps millions of dollars in extra taxes because of these changes that I think are the right thing to do.’ But that’s not what we heard. I just–[Mesley interjecting]–in the defence of Mr. Morneau he did say that the Ethics Commissioner that she went to–she suggested to him a further step. That this ethical shield was designed prevent him from conflict positions. I don’t want us to leave it like, ‘Oh, there was no blind trust and nothing else was done.’ He says that he took her advice and they went further than the law suggested, that’s what he says, that her advice to him was, in order to set this structure up so there wouldn’t be a conflict. There’s still issues with that, but…

Raj suddenly remember whose team she’s on.

Mesley: Okay. I’ve got to move on to the next question because we do want to hear from our viewers. ‘What has been the Liberals’ greatest accomplishment so far? What’s been their greatest failure?’ I don’t know, Andrew, is this the greatest failure? What’s the… And what’s the greatest accomplishment?

Coyne: Well I’ll start with the accomplishment first. You know, they’ve had several to name. I think the first and perhaps biggest was to reform child benefits. To improve peoples lives, especially at the bottom end of the income spectrum. They took a bunch of different programs and rationalized them so they were giving more to people at the lower end and giving less to people on the higher end. And it’s a very praiseworthy reform. I think they’re certainly in a bigger spot of trouble now then they’ve ever been, but if for a sheer screw-up then I think the whole electoral reform file from start to finish was terribly handled. And worse than that, cynically handled. And what ties this with the Morneau problem and everything else is, you know, people didn’t necessarily think Justin Trudeau was the sharpest knife in the drawer when they elected him, but they thought his heart was in the right place. They thought he had good intentions. They thought he was more decent, etcetra. And as time goes on we keep finding more spots of cynicism and manipulation and this kind of thing. And I think that’s toxic for this government.

How much the child benefits really help is up for debate. And Coyne reveals that he likes redistribution of money by government and taxes, very conservative of him.

Raj: I would say the accomplishment is getting along with Donald Trump [Coyne chuckles], which I think has taken a very fine set of skills and I’m not sure another leader would’ve been as good at becoming best friends with Donald Trump. Andrew’s totally right, electoral reform, where basically the Prime Minister misled Canadians for months. But I would now say, looking at this week, his comments today for example in [French city] riding where there’s a byelection, where the Prime Minister was under questioning about Bill C-62, this is the bill that prevents women who wear the niqab or the burqa from accessing government services like taking the bus or even going to the library. The Prime Minister hammered the Conservatives and the NDP in the last election on this very issue. He made speeches in which he said, ‘You have to know what a leaders values were.’ And even members in his own caucus… she said that Prime Minister was of course going to appeal this bill because it was for sure unconstitutional. Well the Prime Minister said no such thing at all today. In fact he said that it wasn’t the government’s role to intervene.I think that to just judge Justin Trudeau, you know his own advice, this is something that is pretty surprising. Perhaps that people don’t know who he is and what his values are.

Raj was not really holding back in her criticism of her Liberal friends.

Wells: The big success is similar to Althia’s but I might take it a step further. Not only has he stayed in Donald Trump’s good graces–to any extent that one can–they’ve played a really elaborate defensive game with the States: activated a cross-country Canadian network of pro-Canadian interests and really stayed in the game on NAFTA, at the same time that they’ve begun to mow the America’s lawn economically by making Canada look like a very attractive destination for highly mobile knowledge workers and for big money investors, so you get Google and Microsoft and all these other companies beginning to look at Canada as a very interesting investment destination at the same time America becomes a less interesting investment destination.

I think these “mobile knowledge workers” are going to want to stay in America now, since our government is raising taxes and Trump is lowering taxes. And the only reason businesses are interested in investing in Canada is because they can hose Canadians in contributing to the Liberal’s infrastructure bank that will allow them to rake in money from an abnormally high interest rate. But sure, mowed the lawn sounds nicer.

Mesely: …Rich Raycroft asked: Who is Trudeau more concerned about right now — Scheer of Singh? Why?

Coyne: Well I supposed Singh only because Liberal strategy from days of yore is to try and nail down the NDP vote, faint to the left and then come back to the centre in the course of the election campaign. If the NDP can break out from that, if Singh can have popular appeal as the first visible minority leader. That’s the danger to them. But of course the threat to them in terms of replacing this government is the Conservatives.

Raj: Yeah, I agree with that. Signh is the only name I hear mentioned by Liberals. Not only is their strategy to court New Democrat voters, like we say in the last election, but the electorate with whom Trudeau is particularly popular, Milennials, those voters will like to see what Jagmeet Singh has to say appealing. That he could do some serious damage to them here in Ontario.

Mesley: How does the role of Justin Trudeau’s PMO compare or contrast with the one we saw when Harper was PM?

Wells: So I’m not just being smart-ass when I say they’re eerily similar [knowing smile from Coyne]. It’s increasingly obvious they’re on the centre with major files, a very robust operation which is designed to put out fires and we’re increasingly see that that’s busy branch of this government, and extreme message discipline. Every member of caucus, every political staffer is expected to be more or less the same on the big issues even if it makes them sound a little repetitive and robotic.

Raj: I’m actually surprised at how undisciplined they are. Yes, the message control is certainly there, but the government seems to be going in all types of different directions and with Mr. Harper there was definitely a focus. Every week had a theme and everyone was directed in that theme and weren’t stepping over each other’s shoes with announcements. There also very more open, to be fair to them. I mean the Prime Minister does take questions from reporters.

Mesley: Not so much for Bill Morneau.

Coyne: Well they even appoint the ministers’ chief of staffs for them, their talking points are all written for them, it’s every bit as much controlled if not more so.

So the At Issue panel was actually not too forgiving to Trudeau and his government. Have to give credit where credit is due. That being said, the supposedly objective news coverage is still heavily slanted in Trudeau’s favour and a lot of the criticism for the Trudeau government was offloaded from the PM and directed at moneybags Morneau. Apologies for the super long post, from now on I’ll try to keep them under 700 words. Below is the full show if you’d like to subject yourself to the CBC’s agitprop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadian Journalists’ Tactless Reactions to President Trump Egg on Trudeau to be Inadvisably Adversarial

Last week, right-wing journalist Ezra Levant published a book entitled Trumping Trudeau: How Trump will change Canada even if Trudeau doesn’t know it yet. In an excerpt provided and published by Breitbart, Levant explains how Liberal cabinet ministers and PM Trudeau have tacitly and explicitly voiced their disapproval of President Trump. But politicians, especially in Canada, don’t usually do such brash belligerence without the blessing and backing of the press. The mainstream media in Canada is practically goading Trudeau to oppose Trump.

When many Canadian journalists from all the major news outlets express their disdain for Trump in their tweets and articles it sends a signal to the PM that it is acceptable for him too to criticize the mercurial Trump. Of course the visceral hatred for Trump has been frothing from the mouths of the chattering classes in Canada–the Laurentian Elite–ever since Trump announced his run back in June of 2015. But now that the billionaire iconoclast has (for better or worse) become the leader of the free world, the media hasn’t really curtailed its attacks and become more pragmatic in its criticism of our neighbour’s thin-skinned commander-in-chief. They continue unwisely ridiculing the US president because of the inherent groupthink that pervades the Canadian elite, suffering from garrison mentality. There is one correct way of thinking, and in the case of Trump, it is complete and utter revulsion. Anything outside of this correct view is reprehensible.

The Canadian press continue to prod the Trudeau government into opposing Trump, despite the risk of severe consequences. As Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland was in Washington trying to develop relations with the new administration during the inaugural festivities, Freeland had staff and volunteers participating in the protest marches back home. Trudeau switched between subtly and bluntly admonishing Trump’s rhetoric throughout the U.S. election cycle. Now after helping stoke animosity within Canada, Trudeau has suggested Trump and himself meet in America because protests would likely erupt if Trump were to come visit Canada. And now as Trudeau and the PMO try to ingratiate themselves with the Trump administration, Trudeau waffles with tweets like this:

Canadian journalists praised this ambivalent behaviour as “Trudeau” walking tightrope” and “Liberals walking fine line on Trump”. If Trudeau continues this equivocation, Trump will likely blast Trudeau for being two-faced and our nation could face severe ramifications from his politicking.

Of course Trump deserves plenty of criticism, but it isn’t the job of the Canadian press or our PM to take on that role of challenging him. Canada needs to continue to cooperate and collaborate with our closest ally, and striking frosty relations, like during the Bush-Chretien and Obama-Harper eras, is ill-advised when dealing with Trump, someone who doesn’t hold any punches back against adversaries.

Below is a sample of the screeching from Canadian journalists in the past few days of Trump’s nascent presidency. The point of this exercise is to highlight how the Canadian press are applying immense pressure on Trudeau to foster an adversarial relationship with the American President, which could lead to a backlash from Trump, hurting our national interests. (Today, Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner was supposed to visit Trudeau and his cabinet at their retreat in Calgary, but the meeting appears to have been cancelled. Late last year it was reported counselor Kellyanne Conway was going to visit the Alberta oil sands business community, but that meeting was also cancelled.)

Maclean’s: 

CBC:

https://twitter.com/NeilCBC/status/822417226087145473

https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/823619299046785026

https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/823606564342956032

https://twitter.com/AaronWherry/status/822979573415604224

National Post:

Toronto Star:

Globe and Mail:

 I was going to do CTV, Global and Ottawa Citizen as well, but you get the point. 

Note to reader: I will be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now if you’d like to support my work please go to Loonie Politics and become a member. A subscription costs $5 a month, but with the promo code Gordon the yearly membership only costs $40, and I get a portion of the proceeds. On top of getting original content by me, you’ll also get pieces from veteran columnists Warren Kinsella and Michael Taube, as well as other up-and-comers like J. J. McCullough, editorial cartoons by Jeff Burney, and podcasts on the latest in politics. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.

 

 

 

Clinton Operatives laud CBC’s “Face to Face with PM” as great PR in Wikileaks emails

At the end of last January the CBC did a TV special called “Face to Face with the Prime Minister” in which the CBC did a reality-show-like program where 10 everyday Canadians got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit down one-on-one to interview PM Justin Trudeau.

I (and many others) rolled my eyes at the CBC’s blatant puffery programming. The PR exercise was such translucent obsequiousness to the new PM by our state broadcaster that I wrote “10 Hitches with CBC’s 10 Canadians ‘Face-to-Face’ with PM“. In the successful piece (few thousand views) I deconstructed the disgraceful piece of PR Peter Mansbridge tried to peddle as avant-garde journalism.

Well, if you ask Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives they would tell you “Face to Face with the PM” was a great PR scheme they would like to emulate. In some of the most recent emails dumped by Wikileaks from today, John Podesta (Clinton’s campaign chairman) and other staffers discussed and lauded the public broadcaster’s propaganda program.

Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook had this to say: “I love it. Will press think it’s “staged”? Or is there a way to structure it so they won’t think that? Also, what consulting firm did Trudeau use? I can’t remember.”

Well, Robby, I don’t think our state broadcaster would appreciate you calling it a consulting firm, but for Justin Trudeau the CBC doesn’t mind because he’s its patron giving it another $150 million more a year in taxpayers’ money. But, Robby, by the look of other Podesta emails it looks like the Clinton camp already has the media wrapped around your little finger.

The now-in-turmoil Huma Abedin thought the CBC PR was great too–“love this idea.”

I’ve been thinking my growing disdain for the CBC may have clouded my judgement and maybe I was overly critical of our public broadcaster. However, when an outside perspective like Clinton’s right-hand woman raves about your supposed journalism as a good form of flattery for a politician then you know you’re in the wrong business.

Another operative then explained CBC’s agitprop and how they could copy it for Clinton.

“Along similar lines, I’d like to try a version of what Justin Trudeau did. He did a 100 minute town hall where 10 real people got 10 minutes each to go up on stage and ask him questions. You see real people have these momentary interactions with her, but never get to see real conversations. Could be cool. And we could hand select for diversity, etc.”

Way to go CBC! You’ve got top political players in the most powerful county in the world following your lead in creating their “staged” propaganda. You should make this a lead story. It’s about you afterall, and you helped your idol, Hillary! Also, now would be a good time as ever for you to lend your sophistry to her floundering campaign.

Note to reader: I will be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now if you’d like to support my work please go to Loonie Politics and become a member. A subscription costs $5 a month, but with the promo code Gordon the yearly membership only costs $40, and I get a portion of the proceeds. On top of getting original content by me, you’ll also get pieces from veteran columnists Warren Kinsella and Michael Taube, as well as other up-and-comers like J. J. McCullough, editorial cartoons by Jeff Burney, and podcasts on the latest in politics. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.

Medicine Hat Byelection Another Demonstration of Trudeau Wasting Taxpayers’ Money

The Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner byelection is being held today after a month-long campaign in which the Liberal Party of Canada has been devoting significant resources and money.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took time off from his hectic schedule and prime ministerial duties to fly to Medicine Hat earlier this month to campaign with Liberal candidate Stan Sakamoto. The visit—drawing a large crowd of 2,500 constituents (i.e. Hatters)—was somewhat surprising as the riding has been a Conservative stronghold for the last 44 years.

Furthermore, the last federal election in the riding the Liberal candidate at that time only received 17.9 per cent of the vote compared to deceased MP Jim Hillyer’s 68.8 per cent.

In an article with a misleading headline from the Medicine Hat News site (“PM’s trip cost taxpayers nothing”) an LPC spokesperson claimed “taxpayers will not be on the hook” for the cost of PM Trudeau’s trip. In the same article a PMO staffer explained that the LPC would reimburse the cost of travel for the PM and his accompanying staff to Medicine Hat. This is deceiving because Trudeau can only fly on government aircraft—which costs tens-of-thousands-of-dollars per trip—and “the longstanding practice” for non-governmental flights is that the party reimburses the federal government the equivalent cost of a commercial flight to the same destination.

Sheila Gunn Reid, a reporter at The Rebel, estimated the actual cost of Trudeau’s trip—$14,400 an hour while in the air—at over $120,000 for the one flight to Medicine Hat. Reid questioned how the LPC could afford to reimburse the trip when the cost goes well over the $78,000 campaign spending cap. However, the LPC’s campaign is only reimbursing the commercial equivalent cost, so taxpayers will be left likely paying well over $200,000 in flights so the PM could campaign in a deeply conservative riding.

Unless Trudeau and Sakamoto are able to charm many more thousands of Hatters into voting red this byelection it would appear the trip was a large waste of taxpayers’ money (if you believe taxpayers should be paying for partisan trips in the first place, or PM’s should devote time to campaigning), especially when the Liberals already have a strong majority and the riding is non-consequential for them, other than perhaps bragging rights.

On top of the gross waste of taxpayers’ money, Trudeau’s staffers, Liberal MPs and their staffers all spent evenings calling constituents in the riding. Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale and Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr both recently visited Medicine Hat to campaign with Sakamoto as well.

Not to be outdone, late last week the Conservative Party of Canada had Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose door knocking with CPC candidate Glen Motz. Several days prior, former speaker of the house and MP Andrew Scheer—now a candidate running in the CPC leadership race—campaigned with Motz.

All of this excessive time and money spent on a riding that’s not likely contestable reiterates the notion that the Liberals have never quit campaigning since winning the federal election last year.

5,723 constituents voted in advance polls in Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner and those results will be made public at around 8:30 p.m. local time tonight, the same time polling stations close. The results of the polling stations and the byelection winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Note to reader: I will be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now if you’d like to support my work please go to Loonie Politics and become a member. A subscription costs $5 a month, but with the promo code Gordon the yearly membership only costs $40, and I get a portion of the proceeds. On top of getting original content by me, you’ll also get pieces from veteran columnists Warren Kinsella and Michael Taube, as well as other up-and-comers like J. J. McCullough, editorial cartoons by Jeff Burney, and podcasts on the latest in politics. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.

CBC Bungles Upcoming Rollout of Opinion Section By Publishing Liberal MP’s Staffer’s Spin Piece

(Update at end of article.)

If anyone still thought CBC’s decision to launch an “Opinion site” next month was a good idea, an op-ed published by the CBC today should set her/him sober.

The hit piece—and yes, I’m aware this response is a hit piece as well, but at least it is published on my own independent blog, not paid for by taxpayers—entitled “Canadian Taxpayers Federation has 5 members—why should we care what they think?” was written by Dougald Lamont, a senior policy advisor for Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette.

Beginning the comedy of errors in this article’s encapsulation of why the CBC should not be in the business of telling us what to think, the public (de facto state propaganda) broadcaster described the Liberal MP’s staffer as “a lecturer in government and business relations at the University of Winnipeg and a long-time Liberal working in policy and communications.” This vague bio fails to disclose that Lamont works for a Liberal MP. CBC simply stating he is a “long-time Liberal working in policy and communications” does not suffice. Why not be crystal clear and put “former campaign director of communications and now senior policy advisor for Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette”?

Yet, far more egregious than the above quibble is the CBC’s publishing of (and paying for?) an article from a Liberal operative attacking the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in the first place. The CBC struck gold when it actively and successfully campaigned for the Liberals in last autumn’s election; Trudeau’s government delivered on its promise to return the favour to the CBC by giving it an additional $150-million-a-year in funding for the billion-and-a-half-dollar-boondoggle annual government subsidy (it’s actually more than the official stated amount of $1.2 billion).

The irony only gets richer when you realize that the CBC is sometimes—and its benefactor, the Liberal government is consistently—the target of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation because of its glutinous waste and lack of transparency. So is it appropriate for the CBC to publish a hit piece on the CTF from a Liberal staffer who hyperbolically declares the CTF as having a”…radical right-wing ideology that drives inequality by making the rich richer while neglecting the poor”?

From the fierce Twitter response it would appear a resounding no. Below is a small sampling of the generally unfavourable response.

Ezra Levant, the founder of The Rebel—a rightwing online news source, tweeted, “CBC takes a $1.2B taxpayer bail-out every year. They use that money to slander the taxpayers’ watchdog.” He also tweeted, “The Liberal government now employs more than 50% of working journalists in Canada. That corrodes democracy.”

From columnist J. J. McCullough: “The CBC running an editorial telling us to ignore a taxpayers’ watchdog group is so contrary to everything journalism is supposed to be.” He followed that with: “The CBC may as well run an editorial telling us to ignore the auditor general. Did you know he’s only one man?”

And from left-leaning Vice News reporter and editor Justin Ling: “oh god is this what the CBC’s opinion section is gonna be like?”

And finally from journalist David Akin: “I’m taking issue a) with CBC running op-eds b) CBC failing to disclose author’s employer, a Liberal MP.”

The publishing of the Liberal spin doctor’s op-ed comes at an awkward moment in time for journalism, where the government’s Canadian Heritage is currently consulting the news industry on the future of journalism and is looking at further subsidizing the profession, which Ezra Levant points out is already heavily supported by the government.

At the end of last month, iPolitics (a news startup) publisher James Baxter spoke to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. In his address he explained how the CBC and government subsidies kill competition and growth of new media.

“While the CBC has done many wonderful things… it is not some wonderful, benevolent entity. It’s an uber-predator.

Because of the nature of its web content, the CBC… crushes the Globe and Mail, Postmedia and … yes … iPolitics.

Funding the CBC has a profoundly chilling effect on would-be entrepreneurs in this country, particularly when there are no undertakings as to how and where that money will be spent.

Investors are justifiably reticent to put their money into (the) market — even where there is a clear void — because of the likelihood that once they prove there’s a market, the CBC will begin shifting funds there to compete.

That is the single-biggest obstacle to there being a vibrant and innovative marketplace of ideas in the media space.”

With the CBC’s recent announcement of creating an opinion and columns section it appears the uber-predator is only going to further encroach on and devour the independent news startups’ territory.

Even more disconcertingly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly is on record saying she wants the CBC to be more like Vice News, the ultra-leftwing media outlet that cheered for Trudeau and the Liberal party in its coverage of last election. All signs point to the Liberals likely further contributing to defanging and neutering the watchdog press.

But returning to the Liberal MP’s staffer’s op-ed published by the CBC today. In the CBC op-ed Lamont criticized the CTF for not being transparent enough about where its donor money comes from. The irony is that the CBC is incredibly secretive about how it spends taxpayers’ money and how it generates its revenue (other than the government subsidy). In the CBC op-ed Lamont criticized the CTF—and independent non-profit—for being run by “5 people”, yet the CBC president is appointed by the PM as well as gets its mandate from and is funded by the federal government.

To further respond to today’s CBC op-ed, I asked CTF’s Vice President, Communications Scott Hennig some questions via email.

Me: Is it important that the CTF receives no government funding?

Hennig: It is absolutely important. You can’t be a government watchdog if they are holding the purse strings. We cherish our independence. Of the CTF’s 30,663 donations in 2014-15, 30,156 (or 98.3%) of them were in amounts smaller than $1,000. Those donations totaled $3,799,760 (or 81%) of our total revenue for the year. That means that we also received 507 donations in amounts over $1,000. That works out to 1.7% of all donors and brought in $813,579 or 17% of our total revenue. In terms of averages, for those 30,156 donations under $1,000, the average donation was $126. For those 507 donations over $1,000, the average donation was $1,604.69. We believe we have the best possible funding model: independence from government and tens of thousands of small donations. And we don’t issue tax receipts.

Me: What is your response to the charge that the CTF has a “…fairly radical right-wing ideology that drives inequality by making the rich richer while neglecting the poor”?

Hennig: Right and left wing labels are very restrictive. We’ve been in coalitions with groups that would identify on all ends of the spectrum, depending on the issue. As for the rich vs. poor thing, I just look at some of the issues we take on, like the carbon tax. Raising gasoline and home heating taxes are easily afforded by the rich, but they’re devastating for the poor. We also regularly attack corporate welfare, which only helps the rich shareholders of these companies at the expense of the little guy who pays the taxes. That said, our income tax system often is punishing to those with above average incomes. If we want to attract and retain doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs in our country, we need to be more competitive and not have our tax system drive them to the United States.

Me: How often and for what does the CTF criticize CBC’s use of taxpayers’ money?

Hennig: Rarely. I recall that we nominated some CBC executives for a Teddy waste award many years ago (http://www.taxpayer.com/news-releases/ctf-to-cbc–no-more-butlers-and-champagne), but in my view this isn’t about CBC vs. CTF.  We regularly work with CBC journalists on all kinds of stories. In fact, here’s one that was just posted today: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/gth-land-deal-bill-boyd-never-heard-of-1.3800855. If you’re attempting to establish that this is some sort of CBC axe to grind, my quotes won’t likely assist you. CBC like every other media outlet is seeing web traffic as the driver of ad revenue and they are looking for additional content that will drive that traffic. Groups or individuals that will provide cost-free content in the form of op-eds are welcomed by many media outlets. The CTF takes advantage of this every week. A person who doesn’t like the CTF and who, frankly flatteringly, spent a pile of time thinking about us wrote a[n] op-ed and offered it to CBC and they said thank you and ran it. We look forward to opportunities where our op-eds will run on CBC as well. While I don’t share the author’s opinion, he’s entitled to it. (His only big factual inaccuracy was related to us shutting down the Manitoba office in the 90s. That didn’t happen.)

Me: Would you say CTF is more impartial than politicians, and why or why not?

Hennig: Probably. We certainly aren’t worried about re-election and we don’t look for wedge issues that will gain us a temporary voting block. We don’t care about what colour of a pin the politician is wearing on their lapel, we praise good ideas no matter the party and criticize bad ideas. Opposition politicians often won’t praise a good idea the government has, and governing politicians won’t praise a good idea the opposition has. That said, we certainly are consistent. If having a set of principles and being consistent makes a group not objective in someone’s view, they’re entitled to think what they want.

Me: Do you agree CTF spokespeople get more coverage than elected officials?

Hennig: Yes, we absolutely do get more coverage than most politicians. Not all, but most. We’re a well-run organization with a highly talented staff that makes it their business to call it like it is, which many politicians won’t.  

I also wrote a letter to the CBC ombudsman with four questions—included below—regarding the op-ed and CBC’s new opinions section. I will update when I hear from the CBC.

1) Was it appropriate to have a Liberal staffer write an article for the CBC? And was the bio of the author of the piece explicit enough in its disclosure that he works for a Liberal MP?

2) Was the Liberal staffer paid to write the piece?

3) Should Canadian’s expect similar columns from the new opinion and columns section?

4) Where in CBC’s mandate does it say that the public broadcaster should be producing op-ed content?

UPDATE: CBC last night revised the bio of Dougald Lamont. “Dougald Lamont, a long-time Liberal working in policy and communications, is a lecturer in Government-Business Relations at the University of Winnipeg and a policy adviser to Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette. These are his own views, not those of his employers.

The bio should’ve always had his Liberal employer first because of the nature of the piece. However, that’s only if you think the piece is somehow appropriate in the first place for our public broadcaster to publish.

Note to reader: I will be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now if you’d like to support my work please go to Loonie Politics and become a member. A subscription costs $5 a month, but with the promo code Gordon the yearly membership only costs $40, and I get a portion of the proceeds. On top of getting original content by me, you’ll also get pieces from veteran columnists Warren Kinsella and Michael Taube, as well as other up-and-comers like J. J. McCullough, editorial cartoons by Jeff Burney, and podcasts on the latest in politics. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.

Dear CBC: Colin Kaepernick’s Socks Rock The Socks Off Justin Trudeau’s Socks

Dear CBC Execs,

Let me start off by saying you are doing an exceptional job on covering the heroic saga of Colin Kaepernick’s Rosa Parks moments of bravery. But driving home today, while faithfully tuning in to CBC Radio One, I found it tremendously problematic that your news updates about Kaepernick didn’t mention his most recent act of daring valour: his wearing of socks covered in white pig cops.

I thought there must have been a simple mistake since I know you guys are still severely underfunded and understaffed, and the extra $150 million-a-year to your $1 billion-a-year federal funding is a drop in the bucket of what you guys deserve to reach your full potential (Artic Air would be a total hit show if it had a few more million for its special effects budget). So I checked on the CBC site and was perturbed to see zero CBC pages–out of 1,600 results for keyword search of “Kaepernick”–on Kaepernick’s dazzling socks.

Despite my disappointment, I still tuned in to CBC Radio’s “q” podcast this afternoon.

(I know last time I wrote you I declared I was boycotting the show after you execs racistly fired the African-Canadian Shad aka Shadrach Kabango–all while hiding your minority-oppressing-agenda with the excuse that he had lost the 28 per cent of “q”‘s listeners that are clearly bigots–but I will hold off on my “q” ban until the delightful interim host and coloured-person, Piya Chattopadhyay, is replaced by the bland, cis, heterosexual, heteronormative, privileged WASP and non-coloured-person, Tom Powers (even his surname denotes his white patriarchal power for god’s sake! [No disrespect meant towards Muslims’ God, Allah–peace be upon him–of course. By the way, great job not showing those Eurocentric drawings desecrating Muhammad drawn by those asked-for-it murdered cartoonists.] I still can’t believe you’ve axed Shad after you picked him for his illuminating rap lyrics and African “heritage”. I thought you prejudiced CBC execs would be aware from Canadaland’s recent exposé, “Just How White is the CBC?”, that you have a lack of diversity crisis! You need to put out more “any race but Caucasian” job postings like you did that one time. And don’t try and justify you’re inexplicable firing of Shad by saying he remains part of the CBC family and that he’ll have a new show. Be honest, you’re taking him off his prominent spot on a prime-time show because you want to ghettoize him. It’s a disgrace, you closeted white supremacists.)

Anyway, today’s “q” episode brightened my day when the brilliant Piya announced that she and the “sports culture panel” were going to discuss the Kaepernick controversy and his hegemony-defying socks.

I was relieved to find out that everyone on the panel was “team Kaepernick”. I always feel like I’m in my safe space when listening to CBC Radio because all of the hosts and guests think the right way and come to the correct consensus right from the start.

The agreeable panel was right on the money that the “biracial” Kaepernick is an eloquent and articulate messenger of truth.

“[H]e gave this really thoughtful answer about how he doesn’t want to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses people’s colour and he has continued explaining thoughtfully on his twitter account ever since then.”

The host of “q” also picked such a succinct quote of Kaepernick’s that will go side-by-side Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” in the annals of history, and it’s worth repeating.

“I mean ultimately it’s to bring awareness and make people, you know, what’s going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust and people aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that–you know–in this country that stands for freedom, justice, liberty for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.”

Damn good poetry. Right up there with “Drakespeare”, as CBC so rightfully nicknamed the modern-day bard, Drizzy.

The “q” panel was also so correct in pointing out how the millionaire players like Kaepernick are exploited.

“A lot of people in the NFL are sympathetic to Colin Kaepernick. A lot of us who have been polling NFL players and general managers, the distinction is so incredibly stark, it says volumes about an NFL where 68 per cent of the players are black, 17 per cent of the coaches are black, and 24 per cent of front office executives are black, and zero per cent of owners are black. And you see how this absence of diversity tickles it’s way down.”

The panelist was so on point to point out that the 12.5 per cent of African Americans in the US are over-represented in the NFL’s lowly ranks of millionaire players, coaches, and execs, but that there are ZERO black owners. Jay-Z, Kanye, and Oprah need to break this glass ceiling of injustice. The panelist should’ve just come out and said it: NFL owners are the modern-day plantation owners and the multimillion-dollar-a-year-contracted players, like the overpaid, bench-sitting Kaepernick, are the slaves. Like the one panelist pointed out, fans and owners just “want players to be savages.”

The “q” panelists kept speaking truth to power when they highlighted Kaepernick’s brilliance and dismissed his racist detractors.

“Look, Kaepernick’s future, I think he is playing chess, I think he’s got this mapped out five moves in advance…what he’s trying to do, really clever… So many of the right wing hacks in the media they play chess like they’re Wreck-It Ralph, like, ‘DUHHH, DUHHH, DUHHH.’ You know, every move. And he’s playing three-dimensional chess. It’s going to be fascinating going forward.”

I love it when CBC panelists don’t beat around the bush when addressing the stupid and inherent racism of all conservatives–“conservative and/or racists” as another “q” guest put it. CBC has been great at filtering out all the nasty American rhetoric when looking through it’s rose-coloured lenses at Kaepernick. The “q” guests were correct in not giving raving nitwits, like this Paul Joseph Watson guy, the time of day. I’m glad the “q” panelists ignored how Kaepernick once got fined for calling an opposing player the N-word. Kaepernick was clearly just shouting out to a bro, it’s not his fault the racist NFL misunderstood. I also commend the panelists virtual omission of Kaepernick’s adoption by a white family. Moronic conservatives misconstrue Kaepernick’s protest as showing ingratitude to his adoptive family, employer, and nation; they don’t realize how miraculous it is that Kaepernick has remained this woke to his oppression, considering the brainwashing and whitewashing he must’ve gone through growing up, and the complacency millions of dollars can induce.

The “q” panelists did a great job downplaying the grand-master Kaepernick’s demotion to backup QB last season, probably because they know its part of the mastermind’s elaborate plan to suddenly rise up from mediocrity to become an all-star quarterback again, all while being a social justice warrior fighting for the many injustices throughout America. If the super-talented Kaepernick gets released by the NFL we’ll all know why. It’ll be because the owners wanted to gag a messiah of our generation under the false pretext of poor performance; his martyrdom will not be in vain.

Finally, 18 minutes into the “q” segment, the moment I’d been waiting for, Piya got to the trailblazing socks.

“We wanted to mention Kaepernick’s socks. He had been wearing these socks that have cartoon pigs with police caps on top of them. It’s come to light and people are saying, ‘Look at this guy, he’s such a terrible human being.’ But one thing that stands out for a lot of us–and I don’t follow the NFL that closely–is whether it’s other players or NFL execs or his former coach, who have been criticizing Kaepernick for stepping out of line, the thing that stands out for me–and many other controversies in the NFL–is the desire for this league to maintain control. What is the league so worried about?”

I was hoping Piya’s question was rhetorical, but the panelists were sidetracked from discussing Kaepernick’s magnificent culture jamming socks, and instead tried explaining why the sinister NFL owners want complete control over their multi-billion-dollar-valued league’s brand.

I couldn’t believe CBC failed again on reporting this radically cool act of rebellion. I thought they were sure to cover it as rhapsodically as they did our dear leader’s stylish socks. (Speaking of our dear leader–the natural successor and son to our nation’s deceased supreme leader–I loved the news on how he coached basketball with Denis Rodman in Beijing, and that the Chinese think he’s brilliant and handsome. I’m sure he wowed fans with his slam-dunking skills, too.)

Anyway, Kaepernicks clever cotton homage to Black Lives Matter was amazing and it’s a shame you CBC execs failed to cover it after the attention you gave Trudeau’s socks. Blacks are getting shot on the street by cops like almost as much as they are shot by one another. Never mind that stupid Harvard study that found whites are shot more than blacks by cops, and at almost a similar rate population-wise. What do people from Harvard know? Also, that Uncle Tom police chief in Dallas said some traitorous things about the BLM movement’s rightful hatred of all these pig cops.

“What we’re trying to do here is above challenging. It is. We’re asking cops to do too much in this country… Every societal failure, we just put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding. Let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding, let’s give it to the cops. Here in Dallas we have a loose dog problem. Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools failed, give it to the cops. Seventy per cent of the African American community is being raised by single women, let’s give it to the cops to solve that as well. That’s too much to ask, policing was never meant to solve all those problems. And I just ask for other parts of our democracy as well as the free press to help us–to help us and not put that burden all on law enforcement to resolve.”

What a useful and totally unwoke idiot for the white oppressors. Single-parent families can be just as effective in raising children as the outdated nuclear family. This stereotype needs to be debunked and stamped out.

Look, it’s obvious there is an epidemic of racist white cops going around hunting and slaughtering stand-up black citizens with reckless abandonment. This is a black and white issue. All cops are pigs and all blacks are innocent victims, end of story. So execs, CBC is pretty good at presenting the objective truth, but in this case you need to set the record straight and give wall-to-wall coverage of Kaepernick’s socks.

Yours faithfully,

A Devoted CBC Listener

PS: I forgot to mention how great it was when the “q” panelists mocked the talentless Tim Tebow–a Christian redneck relic of last century–for being a failed try-hard QB (something the great Kaepernick will never end up as) and for attempting a new career as a professional baseball player. What a loser!

PPS: Also loved how the one “q” panelist pointed out that Kaepernick’s admirable act of sitting during the national anthem has nothing to with the military and that wars have nothing to do with the rights Americans are afforded by the constitution.

“This whole thing has terrified me. Absolutely terrified me. Because this has been a protest about police violence, and it has turned into something where it’s like Colin Kaepernick versus the military. That’s been imposed on this. As if we have our freedoms because of the military and not because of the constitution. That’s a very disturbing mindset.”

Exactly. Those impatient Yankees didn’t have to fight in the American Revolution to gain independence (or the American Civil War to free slaves). They could’ve just politely done another century of servitude, paying the leaching United Kingdom until finally given permission to be independent, like we did. The World Wars didn’t mean much either in the preserving of their constitution.

Note to reader: I will be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now if you’d like to support my work please go to Loonie Politics and become a member. A subscription costs $5 a month, but with the promo code Gordon the yearly membership only costs $40, and I get a portion of the proceeds. On top of getting original content by me, you’ll also get pieces from veteran columnists Warren Kinsella and Michael Taube, as well as other up-and-comers like J. J. McCullough, editorial cartoons by Jeff Burney, and podcasts on the latest in politics. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.

Trudeau’s Liberals Should Learn the Importance of being Earnest and Frugal

During yesteryear’s federal election, Justin Trudeau lamented the financial struggles of the middle class. He claimed that his party was going to take the reins of power and assist the financially distressed. He also declared that his government was going to be far more transparent than the “secretive” Harper government.

Now nearing a year in power, the Liberal government all too frequently seems to forget the middle class’s hardships (never mind the dire circumstances of much of the lower working class and homeless) and is no sanctuary of openness.

Of course, though, the Liberals’ deserve credit for following through on lowering the middle class income tax from 22 per cent to 20.5 per cent (although cutting other tax breaks) and enacting a new Canada Child Benefit, which took effect last month.

However, government handout and minor tax cut aside, the general economic outlook still looks bleak for many Canadians. The recent job numbers from Statistics Canada revealed 31,200 jobs were lost last month, the national unemployment rate rose to 6.9 per cent, and the number of full-time Canadian workers dropped by 71,400. Furthermore, many Canadians’ wages have stayed stagnant for years in contrast to rapid inflation. According to a new Fraser Institute study, the average Canadian family now spends more on taxes ($34,154) than on housing, food, and clothing combined ($30,293). To top it off, oil continues to slump and new pipeline development looks more than ever a pipe dream.

When all of these sobering statistics and realities are taken into account, it’s no surprise that everyday Canadians are angered when politicians are caught glutinously wasting taxpayers’ money on frivolity; especially when these same politicians are saying they sympathize with Canadians’ financial plight.

That’s what makes Trudeau’s case so curious. He has shown zero ascetic restraint in indulging in the public purse since being sworn in, yet is hardly affected politically. Trudeau has taken six vacations since taking office, including most of this summer, and has had the gall to justify his lax work schedule as necessary for good “work/life balance”. The average Canadian probably can’t relate to having the luxury of taking (fully paid) months off at a time, especially when only ten months into a new job (if they can even say they have full-time employment at that).

Other Trudeau extravagant personal expenses on the taxpayers’ dime include the estimated tens-of-millions of dollars for the 24 Sussex Drive renovation, charging taxpayers for two nannies, renting out an entire resort for–one of several–cabinet retreats costing $150,000, and spending over $100,000 for a family and friend trip to the Caribbean.

Beyond his own expense claims, our PM doubled Canada’s contribution to the “fast-start climate financing” of international development projects up to $2.65 billion over the next five years, pledged another $32 million to development projects in South East Asia and Africa, rewarded the CBC–a broadcaster rife with recent scandals and ratings failures–with another $675 million (of a total of $1.9 billion earmarked for new cultural spending in the next five years) to its billion-dollar-a-year-boondoggle budget, is donating billions to resettling tens-of-thousands of Syrian refugees, and earmarked an extra $60 billion in infrastructure spending (though much of this money may end up a cost sink instead of an economic plus, and critics believe is an excuse to hire Liberal-allied companies and unions to pay them kickbacks for their allegiance).

All of these excessive budgetary expenses have already resulted in a $30 billion deficit in this year alone ($20 billion more than projected by Trudeau). And although the reader may find some of these massive expenditures noble, I find it ignoble to spend more on foreigners than on your own compatriots suffering from economic malaise. Furthermore, Trudeau’s father was the last PM to put us in such a massive deficit that took decades to recover from, so Canadians should prioritize fiscal restraint and not repeating history above our glowing hearts.

Despite Trudeau’s lavish lifestyle and his economically masochistic national budget, the push pollsters (their results skewed in favour of the Liberals in the past, but that’s for another article) and the ga-ga-for-shirtless-Justin media claim Trudeaumania is still alive and well, as his approval rating apparently remains well above 50 per cent and coverage remains fawning.

It must be handed to the Prime Minister’s Office–along with the assistance of a cheer-leading, $150-million-a-year-richer-thanks-to-wonderful-Trudeau CBC et al.–for being able to constantly inundate us with feelgood PR stories that go viral. It helps that the press has so far been willing to compromise itself by going along with the carefully stage-managed access.

But the press shouldn’t kid itself that endless photo-ops means transparency. A Globe and Mail journalist covering Trudeau’s personal photographer asked Trudeau a single softball question (“[W]hat is it like being the most photographed person in the country”) and was scolded by Trudeau’s policy director: “That was kinda bullshit.” The director then insinuated and threatened pulling access to Trudeau from the Globe. So apparently sunny ways is only as sunny as the light shone on Trudeau.

The PMO’s thin-skinned response to a flattering question seems odd and incredibly insecure when the bulk of coverage has been fawning.

Trudeau hanging out with Obama. Trudeau cuddling two baby pandas. Trudeau hugging and getting approval from Gord Downie.  Trudeau “explaining” quantum physics. Trudeau declaring he’s a feminist. Trudeau marching in the Pride Parades in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Trudeau wearing flashy socks. Trudeau doing a yoga pose. Trudeau greeting refugees. A shirtless Trudeau photo-bombing a wedding.

These stories’ gimmicky charm(?) have lulled a majority of Canadians into an approval of Trudeau ranging from lukewarm to idolatrous. For now, it appears many Canadians and reporters are willing to overlook or defend Trudeau’s questionable and intemperate spending because of the way he makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

However, In spite of Trudeau’s early immunity to scrutiny, his cabinet ministers do not have the same celebrity status and charm to distract from gross indulgence in taxpayers’ money.

Trudeau’s cabinet ministers, Jane Philpott and Katherine McKenna both felt the wrath of the exploited taxpayer when their extravagant expense claims were made public.

Now bear with me as I recap these expenditures. No matter how trivial these costs may seem in the grand scheme of the billions spent by government, there is an important lesson to be learned.

Health Minister Jane Philpott got caught–like Winnie the Pooh’s head in a honey pot–charging taxpayers $1,700 and $1,900 highly inflated bills  (by as much as ten times market price) for daily limo service from a Liberal supporter and volunteer from her riding. The ostensible kickbacks to a party faithful are now being investigated by Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson to see if she violated the Conflict of Interest Act by giving “preferential treatment”. To further complicate matters for Philpott, she potentially mislead parliament when she signed a document claiming she didn’t expense any limo services. Her office is now adamantly arguing the semantics of what a limo is by claiming she instead billed for the car service of a “Lexus Sedan”, thus not obligated to disclose it when questioned. Philpott has agreed to pay the money back, which is basically an admission of guilt, but in what other job than a politician can you basically embezzle money and then simply pay it back when you’re caught red-handed?

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is feeling some severe political climate change since it came to light that she hired a personal photographer during COP21 climate summit and burned $6,600 of taxpayers’ money. The third-rate photos posted on flickr were defended by McKenna’s office as an actual saving for taxpayers because she didn’t have to expense the flight and accommodations of a personal photographer from back home. The outrage over ridiculous expenses has only heated up for McKenna since new revelations from yesterday show the federal government’s expense bill for Paris COP21 was just shy of $1 million. A lot of that tab was racked up by McKenna’s piglet bureaucrats, with three of them burning $12,000 just to satiate their refined palettes over the two week summit.

Overall, these personal expenses are minuscule in the grand scheme of the government’s coffers, but these abuses of the taxpayers’ money only creates an atmosphere of distrust towards a new government attempting to be above the intense cynicism of today’s politics. At worst, this greedy waste of taxpayers’ money makes one wonder how they are managing contracts worth millions and billions of dollars, especially when they are planning to have a string of deep annual deficits.

Justin Trudeau’s best friend and the PMO’s Principal Secretary, Gerald Butts, the alleged brains behind Trudeau’s government, displayed the cynical hypocrisy of Trudeau’s utopian government. Complaining about an article covering the expense controversy, Butts tweeted “[the] story made it seem like a new practice with this govt. (It isn’t)”. So essentially all the talk of change by this Liberal government doesn’t apply to the way they abuse taxpayers’ money.

Other interesting responses to the controversial expense claims came from mainstream journalists. A quintessential example was Walrus Magazine’s editor-in-chief Jonathan Kay’s response to McKenna’s photography debacle. Kay tweeted: “Dear media, there are Cdns who pay similar amounts to get weddings/corporate events photographed[.] Who the F cares?” Kay of course doesn’t want to bite the hand that feeds. The Walrus has long been deemed a foundation by the government, giving it tax exempt status, and it is now getting a large contribution from Trudeau’s government to host events across Canada for the nation’s 150th anniversary celebration next year. And that’s exemplary of the problem: too many journalists and media organizations are in some way paid by the government. Canada needs a press that is full of adversarial watchdogs willing to pressure the government on issues and hold it to its ideals, not a government-dependent, lapdog PR media that dismisses, excuses, and apologizes for the government’s abuses of power in blase fashion. (Two great examples of new independent online media organizations are Canadaland and The Rebel Media, and both push well above their weight in breaking stories.)

Too complicate matters, Trudeau promised transparency, but has thus far failed to deliver. Trudeau struck down Harper’s transparency act that forced union bosses and reserve chiefs to disclose their organizations and bands’ finances. Furthermore, Trudeau has done nothing to address the parliamentary Board of Internal Economy that shrouds MP’s finances from public scrutiny. As the Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Aaron Wudrick, said over email, “The default positions should be transparency; any exceptions need to be justified by reference to exceptions with defined parameters.”

Ultimately, however, it’ll be up to Liberal government whether they continue to fritter taxpayers’ money away and if they choose to keep MPs’ expenses hidden from the public eye. Justin Trudeau should learn from Oscar Wilde’s sole novel’s protagonist. Dorian Gray appears publicly to be an honourable man of eternal youth, but underlying superficial appearances he is dissolute, lazy, narcissistic, and corrupt. With each misdeed his self-portrait–representing his inner character–degrades. Eventually the painting becomes too ghastly for the original, pristine subject to look at, and he is the author of his own demise.

Trudeau still has three more years, possibly many more, to determine his self-portrait–the true picture beneath all the selfies and perfectly-edited photos courtesy of his 24/7 personal photographer. He’d best heed the importance of being earnest and frugal.

Note to reader: I will be launching a crowdfunding account for this blog in the near future, but for now if you’d like to support my work please go to Loonie Politics and become a member. A subscription costs $5 a month, but with the promo code Gordon the yearly membership only costs $40, and I get a portion of the proceeds. On top of getting original content by me, you’ll also get pieces from veteran columnists Warren Kinsella and Michael Taube, as well as other up-and-comers like J. J. McCullough, editorial cartoons by Jeff Burney, and podcasts on the latest in politics. Click here to subscribe http://looniepolitics.com/register/.