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:

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/.

 

 

 

Mydemocracy.ca Creator, CBC rolling out Canada 150 survey in early new year

canada-150

 

The creators of the MyDemocracy.ca debacle have been granted $576,500 from the hundreds of millions splashed around by the federal government for the Canada 150 celebration. Vox Pop Labs is creating a survey “to engage Canadians in a process of self-exploration and a reflection of who we are at this particular juncture in our history,” explained founder and chief executive officer Cliff van der Linden.

The Vox Pop grant money is divided for $300,500 in consultancy fees, $175,000 in outreach costs, $63,000 in seminar costs, $24,000 in equipment costs and $14,000 in venue costs .

The grant amount for the early 2017 survey “Project Tessera” is $250,000 more than what the Liberals expensed on this week’s electoral reform survey so scorned by opposition MPs, journalists and academics. Vox Pop stated in its grant application form (obtained via an access to information request) that it “is committed to operating Project Tessera exclusively on a cost recovery basis.”

Linden explained by email why this upcoming project has a much more expensive price tag.

“Project Tessera is a much larger undertaking than MyDemocracy.ca. It involves national focus groups, a respondent panel five times the size of that used for MyDemocracy.ca, a working conference bringing together leading scholars in the field, and a more complex design and technical architecture.”

The two-day conference taking place this month includes rooms, food, hotels, and flights for around 30 academics so they can get together to “hone” the survey tool for the Canada 150 initiative. One of Vox Pop’s academic partnerships is with the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. The advisory panel will develop “a distillation of the archetypes for presentation to the public…”

The archetypes used to classify or pigeonhole (depending on who you ask) participants in Vox Pop’s MyDemocracy.ca survey were roundly mocked by the public on Twitter this week, where users used the magic of Photoshop to create their own personalized and hilarious archetypes. On Thursday The National Post’s Tristin Hopper created a parody survey called DemocracyMine.ca, in which unfortunate participants were given off-the-wall questions like “There should not be anything in the rules that says a dog cannot be elected to Parliament and also play professional basketball” and endearing archetypes such as “dinosaur”, “villain”, and “pervert.”

However, the Project Tessera application for the upcoming survey has been given rave reviews in letters of support from political science professors from the University of Toronto and McGill.

For the Canada 150 initiative survey Vox Pop is partnering once again with the CBC. Vox Pop is also the creator of Vote Compass, used in both federal and provincial elections. In the 2011 election, Vote Compass became divisive because some accused the tool of being flawed or skewed, as the needle apparently pointed due Liberal more often than not.

Linden says the accusations “have been entirely debunked, both in the public discourse and academic studies.”

Mario Canseco, vice president of Insight West, in regards to Vox Pop’s recent electoral reform survey believes the segments were not adequately defined. “I was labelled a ‘Pragmatist’, and then they showed all of the things that were the most important for ‘pragmatists’, and I had answered ‘No’ or ‘Opposed’ to all of them. It’s almost like labeling someone a ‘bird’ and then saying: ‘You live in the sea and have gills.’ Unless you have some behavioural questions that go beyond saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to a proposition, you can’t just place people in categories at your leisure. Properly done segmentations work well, particularly in consumer research, because they go beyond asking about a logo or a plan. This is why MyDemocracy.ca reminded me of the Cosmopolitan quizzes of the past,” explained Canseco.

In response to detractors, Linden wrote: “I encourage critics to review the methodology, which is available directly in the application. I think the results will complement existing public consultations related to this initiative.”

In this latest partnership between CBC and Vox Pop, Project Tessera is supposed to, according to a letter of support from CBC Radio Canada, “allow participants to learn more about their own national identities and cultures, and to explore the commonalities they have with other people across the country. This tool would help users learn about themselves and the diversity of identities in Canada.”

Satirists and pranksters may be whetting their appetites for round two, but Project Tessera is touted to be a sophisticated educational tool that aims “to engender among all Canadians an individual sense of belonging within a richly diverse national mosaic.” The tool will survey users on “themes such as culture, values, symbols, belonging, etc.” and “has the potential to generate an unparalleled dataset on public perceptions about Canada and what it means to be Canadian.”

And those concerned with oversimplification a la Mydemocracy.ca need not fret, Project Tesera will use “multiplicity of narratives associated with being Canadian” to make custom characterizations that are “[m]ore than a simple association of user to archetype … each user will be presented with a personalized analysis which simultaneously celebrates their individual identity and inclusion in the broader Canadian collective.”

Every Canadian is a special snowflake after completing Project Tessera.

In the assessment, the Canadian Heritage bureaucrat reviewing Vox Pop was impressed with the company’s “unparalleled levels of online engagement reach” like the over 1.8M Canadians that used the Vote Compass during last federal election. The bureaucrat also was pleased that the digital tool is “particularly well-suited to youth.”

Those eager to test out Project Tessera won’t have to wait long, the online survey should be ready for a spin on CBC’s website by early next year.

Mario Canseco Q&A

1) What are the main problems you see with the government’s electoral reform survey?
The segments are not adequately defined. I was labelled a “Pragmatist”, and then they showed all of the things that were the most important for “pragmatists”, and I had answered “No” or “Opposed” to all of them. It’s almost like labelling someone a “bird” and then saying: “You live in the sea and have gills.” Unless you have some behavioural questions that go beyond saying “Yes” or “No” to a proposition, you can’t just place people in categories at your leisure. Properly done segmentations work well, particularly in consumer research, because they go beyond asking about a logo or a plan. This is why MyDemocracy.ca reminded me of the “Cosmopolitan” quizzes of the past. They would ask:
How do you deal with a break-up?
a) Go for a run. b) Ice cream. c) Step on some ants.
How do you deal with stress?
a) Pushups. b) Chocolate Cake. c) Bite lip until it bleeds.
And so on…
So, if you answered mostly a), you’re a jock. Mostly b) a glutton. Mostly c), a potential serial killer.
Pretty simple, right? Great. You spent 10 minutes on something fun.
Can you follow the same pattern to deal with an issue like electoral reform? Probably not.
Still, the biggest problem I have with the survey is the introduction:
This is utterly disgraceful. No survey, online or by phone, should introduce a topic by saying the survey taker “hopes that you learn something”. Survey takers learn from the audience they are asking questions to (provided they have the right set of tools to analyze the data). What are we, as survey takers, supposed to be learning from MyDemocracy.ca? Using this kind of language is extremely condescending and insulting. I don’t think any person who has conducted polls in a professional manner would endorse an introduction like this one.
2) Do you think the mydemocracy.ca survey is scientific or not? Why?
It depends on what the definition of “scientific” is. There are ways to generate meaningful data from a survey with an open-link and apply weights to it based on census targets. Still, there will be purists who dislike online data collection because the panels are allegedly self-selected, and who say that only the phone can be used because everyone needs to have an equal chance to take a poll (even in a world where fewer people have landlines). In this case, the value of the survey would depend on two issues: proper representation of the population (you can’t have 10,000 respondents, and just three from Quebec, for instance) and assurance that the people who took the poll are who they say they are. This second issue is crucial. On online panels (like the one we rely on at Insights West), we verify that the people who take the survey are who they say they are. Can MyDemocracy.ca assure us that a respondent who claimed to be Female, Boomer and Ontarian is not actually a 17-year-old boy from Tennessee having fun online?

 

3) Can you briefly explain the Myers-Briggs test and if it is a scientific test?
The test has been used as a basis for psychological assessments for decades. But, as is the case with any other application of a theory, it can fail. Trying to justify a segmentation because you based it on Myers-Briggs is not enough. You can use a calculator and still make mistakes.
4) Does using 35,000 respondents powering cluster analysis to determine archetypes a good way to conduct a scientific poll?
Probably not. The essence of proper polling is sample selection. Unfortunately, some reporters and editors have fallen into the trap of assuming that the more people take a survey, the more accurate it will be. This is just not true. You don’t need to talk to 10 million people. You need to talk to the right set of people. Case in point. We had the best online prediction of the popular vote in the United States last month, with a sample of 865 decided voters. We were closer than SurveyMonkey, which had a sample of 70,000 Americans. Sample size means little, certainly less than sample selection.
5) Are you familiar with Vote Compass? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

I am familiar with Voter Compass. It was a fun exercise for a rainy afternoon. Nothing more. It does not supplant properly conducted polling.

Clifton van der Linden Q&A

What is your response to the criticism coming from academics, politicians, and social media that your electoral reform survey is unscientific and biased towards the Liberal government’s desired outcomes? Do you think the results of the survey will be able to inform the government on how to move forward with electoral reform?

I encourage critics to review the methodology, which is available directly in the application. I think the results will complement existing public consultations related to this initiative.

What are Canadians supposed to learn from being classified as an archetype?

The archetypes are empirically derived from a cluster analysis run on panel data comprised of more than 3,000 randomly selected Canadians. The purpose is to provide users with an engaging entry-point into the conversation about democratic values. For those who have not been particularly engaged in the conversation to date, it is an attempt to help them situate themselves within the discussion about how Parliament works. It’s also a way to encourage sharing across social media and hopefully encourage more Canadians to participate in the exercise and the broader discussion attached to it.

Did Pop Vox Labs come up with the questions for the electoral reform survey independently, or did the government give input and specify what questions it wanted asked?

The survey was developed in collaboration with an academic advisory panel and with input from the government.

In the past, your Vote Compass has been criticized for skewing Liberal, with people like Prof. Brock claiming she completed the quiz several different ways and always ended up with a Liberal result. Would you say that quiz was biased towards the Liberals?

The accusations about bias in Vote Compass have been entirely debunked, both in the public discourse and academic studies. There is more than ample evidence available to substantiate the outright dismissal of such claims.

Canadian Heritage granted you $576,500 for this upcoming project, and in your application you stated “Vox Pop Labs is committed to operating Project Tessera exclusively on a cost recovery basis.” Yet the last survey cost the government $326,500, can you explain why the new project that Vox Pop is doing on strictly a cost recovery basis costs $250,000 more than the last survey, especially since this upcoming project has the support of partners like the CBC?

Project Tessera is a much larger undertaking than MyDemocracy.ca. It involves national focus groups, a respondent panel five times the size of that used for MyDemocracy.ca, a working conference bringing together leading scholars in the field, and a more complex design and technical architecture.

What can Canadians expect to learn from Project Tessera?

Details about Project Tessera are still forthcoming, but the intent is to engage Canadians in a process of self-exploration and a reflection of who we are at this particular juncture in our history.

Final Notes: There is another interesting Q&A with Cliff van der Linden done by Maclean’s here.

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 is Scavenging Vulnerable Canadian Media Landscape

Yesterday the CBC unveiled its website’s ground-breaking new opinion section. No, you were obviously wrong if you’ve mistook CBC’s daily hard news coverage as an op-ed factory of incredibly biased reporting from a state-funded, rose-coloured and -shaped lens. The CBC is unquestionably the last bastion of objectivity in this post-nationalist nation–our Ministry of Truth.

I know what you’re thinking, how can the CBC be in the game of buying hot takes when it’s already providing the one correct way of thinking and seeing the world? How can the CBC buy all these rogue freelancers’ radical ideas? Well, don’t fret progressives, the CBC has the Trudeau-loving leftist Managing News Editor Steve Ladurantaye as gatekeeper to stand guard against anti-PC hate speech and non-CBC values. Ladurantaye is claiming CBC is “committed to getting a wide range of columns onto our platforms.” However, looking into the window of Ladurantaye’s psyche–a.k.a. his tweets–one can establish that only a steady stream of stories reiterating the CBC’s unwritten but ceaselessly-expressed leftist manifesto. This means pro-Islam, pro-Trudeau, pro-Liberals, pro-refugees, pro-immigration, pro-tax increases, pro-carbon pricing, pro-feminism, pro-globalization, pro-native chiefs, pro-SJWs, pro-progressive leaders, as well as anti-nationalism, anti-masculinity, anti-tax cuts, anti-oil, anti-business, anti-America, anti-Catholic, etc. will all be welcome ideas for CBC’s open platform of opinions.

One of the articles in the first batch of columns may have some readers duped into believing the CBC is actually going to allow radically different viewpoints onto its new platform. The CBC published an article by Sheila Gunn Reid, a reporter from Ezra Levant’s right-wing Rebel Media, to the absolute horror of some intolerant progressives. Yet, Gunn’s article only touched upon free speech and the UN attempting to censor The Rebel from covering an upcoming climate conference. Progressives and SJWs can take solace in knowing that with Ladurantaye at the helm CBC will also do de facto censoring of articles containing Gunn and ilk’s actual subversive and toxic ideologies by filtering them into the rejection pile. The other four articles published thus far suggest Ladurantaye is going to keep the CBC mantra intact. A pro-Trudeau piece (advocating for the PM to get a new plane), a grievance culture piece (complaining that social media doesn’t cater to blacks), an anti-men piece (painting all men as sex-crazed assailants like Trump), and a pro-refugee piece (LIberals’ rushing in of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees was great, but more funding for integration is needed) all toe the CBC line.(I will closely monitor the upcoming articles published on the CBC’s new opinion section.)

Furthermore, the CBC’s Editor Blog announced the exciting news that Niel Macdonald is being freed from the shackles of reporting the news and will now be a regular columnist analyzing the news. Macdonald’s corporation has told him to “cease” his “reporting” on how terrible Israel, America, and conservatives are, and instead tell us in his own words how terrible Israel, America, and conservatives are. This line between reporters and columnists, CBC Editor in Chief Jennifer McGuire insists, will ensure the CBC  “preserve[s]” its “journalistic values of impartiality and independence.” (That’s right, the CBC has no dependence on the government or partiality to certain political beliefs whatsoever.)

Now for those wondering how a legacy media corporation is expanding in a time period when old media is headed the same way as the dinosaurs–repeatedly reporting enormous quarterly losses and endless job cuts–the $1.1-1.5 billion (depending on who you ask) annual government subsidy to the CBC courtesy of taxed-to-exhaustion Canadians is the broadcaster’s elixir of immortality. It was shrewd of the CBC to ostensibly campaign for the Liberals last election cycle (e.g. doting coverage, executives taking leave-of-absences to campaign for the LPC, CBC reporters’ union registering to campaign against the CPC, etc.) because of the de facto $150 million additional annual bribe Trudeau promised and delivered the “public” broadcaster. The CBC’s self-interested campaigning paid off.

With this new windfall, the CBC is now poaching dying dinosaur and new media’s talent and very existence. Of course that would be crass for the state-funded behemoth to admit, so Ladurantaye et al. deny they are hiring additional staff. After backlash from others within the industry at the announcement of the expansion of the op-ed section, the CBC did a press release–“Get the Facts: A public broadcaster belongs in the public space“–in which executive vice-president Heather Conway impudently admonished “opinion writers” for decrying the CBC budging its way into the online op-ed market.

“The facts, by now, are pretty clear. The challenges facing media in Canada are many but they are not being caused by the public broadcaster. No one has yet found a reliable way to make people pay for news content on the Internet. Large newspaper companies responded to their challenges by merging the content offered by their smaller papers. This has made CBC/Radio-Canada’s presence more important than ever,” wrote an audacious Conway.

“Limiting what public broadcasting can do only means fewer services for Canadians. It won’t help private companies be more profitable. It won’t increase news coverage or the diversity of views, especially in communities,” Conway baldfaced lied.

Does the CBC and Conway really think that people are that stupid that they don’t realize the news market in Canada is limited to roughly 36 million pairs of eyeballs and a certain amount of clicks in a day? The facts are that the CBC is the morbidly obese white elephant in the room squishing everyone else up against the wall as they suffocate from lack of room to breathe. As one publisher of new media put it to the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee, CBC is an “uber-predator”.

Conway’s claim that others haven’t found profitability online is also patently false. CanadalandiPolitics, et al. have been successful at finding a successful business model. All that they have asked of the government is to stop unfairly subsidizing some players in the market, like the $1.5 billion annually given to the CBC that has made it into Goliath. CBC’s most recent and brazen move into the online market suggests the uber-predator has an insatiable hunger to eat up more and more of the Canadian media landscape and dominate the industry and shaping of the Canadian zeitgeist. It’s time the white elephant in the room got shot, or at the very least put on a regimented diet.

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/.