CBC is Obsessed with Trump Circus and Trudeau Acting Skills, Neglecting Follow-up Reporting on Trudeau Government’s Scandals

 

The last few hundred thousand viewers still watching CBC’s The National (it gets crushed by CTV’s National News which easily gets triple the audience), in its new unpopular and painfully slow format (four hosts?!), as their primary source of news wouldn’t know anything about Liberal MP Geng Tan acting as an intermediary on a government trip to China for a Canadian-Chinese businessman now accused of fraud (you also won’t find anything on the Geng Tan story on CBC’s website). Joshua Boyle being arrested on 15 charges a few weeks after being granted a private meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the PM’s office barely registered in its programming. The Ethics Commissioner clearing Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau of wrongdoing — no surprise, really, since she had told him the letter of the law allowed him to hold on to his shares when he decided on that poor course of action back in 2015 after misleading the public into thinking he was putting his assets into a blind trust — the CBC treated it as if it were practically a full vindication. No follow-up questions on why he misled the public or how he benefited greatly. Instead CBC took Morneau at his word, like they did when he told them he was putting his assets into a blind trust, that he was donating all the money to charity, and no skepticism was applied on how he would still benefit from the profit of his shares earned while in public office because he can use the donation as a tax write-off.

No, instead these developments on Liberal scandals or screw-ups, depending on their severity, like Trudeau being found to have broken four ethics laws for essentially taking what looks like a quid pro quo (scandal), only get a few minutes coverage and then are scuttled away from CBC viewers’ attention.

According to CBC and ilk, what’s more important for Canadian audiences is to have endless coverage of every controversial thing President Trump says or does. Apparently CBC’s The National needed to devote six minutes on Trump’s alleged “shit-hole” comment and another three minutes on his cancelled London trip for Friday’s broadcast. A whopping 12 minutes was devoted to a sit-down interview with the Fire and Fury author, several days after the story first broke, in which Rosemary Barton lobbed softball question after softball question to Michael Wolff, eagerly lapping up his every word (even a progressive friend of mine, who bought the book as soon as it was released, doesn’t believe a lot of the tall tales told within). Despite many journalists and publications questioning Wolff’s spotty record on reporting the facts, when his book was released CBC’s Paul Hunter’s four-minute initial report completely glossed over this and instead personally vouched for Wolff’s integrity after several glaring errors had already been pointed out in the media about his book: “His columns at the time were like this book, rich in detail, full of anecdotes, whispered quotes, casual observations about what was actually going on around us. I just reread them in light of this new book and feel now as I did fifteen years ago when I first read them — to an experience I went through — to which I can attest, he nailed it. Bang on, I wouldn’t change a word.” Sounds a whole lot like gossip and yellow journalism to me. I’ll take the late, great David Carr’s word over a CBC leftist journalist desperately wanting to believe any negative story fed to them about Trump. There are already plenty of real controversies as it is with Trump, there’s no need to seize onto tall tales that will undermine your own credibility in presenting Wolff’s shaky gossip as the gospel. But CBC is always looking for the next Trump-bashing authoritative expert to put on The National to give its audience another long lecture denouncing Trump on its program. The National also bizarrely spent twelve minutes of a program interviewing comedienne Samantha Bee on Trump and #MeToo and eight minutes for another expert to claim Trump is undermining democracy (with scant proof provided).

Say, CBC, if you want to give celebrities and experts extended periods of time to discuss a foreign leader’s lies and faults, why don’t you do the same for PM Trudeau by having on Theo Fleury and Brett Wilson.

I’m not sure if CBC is aware of this, and most of the rest of the mainstream Canadian media at that, but Canadians can now use this thing called the internet to access way better and more informative coverage of American politics from American news outlets. A Canadian journalist’s job is to report on Canadian news, other than the odd Washington correspondent, no matter how unexciting it may be in comparison to President Trump’s shit show. If the majority of the media weren’t so busy tripping over themselves in excusing away Trudeau and his ministers’ bungling of government files and the PM’s poor judgement in accepting a free trip to the Aga Khan’s island or meeting Boyle despite his checkered past, on top of the breathless Trump coverage, they might find some pretty compelling stories of our own. Digging up more dirt on these controversies and others, e.g. the Canada 150 slush fund (I’m in the midst of auditing it), would provide them with plenty of compelling stories Canadians would be far more interested in learning about from Canadian journalists.

(Hey self-described conservative writer writing for the $1.5-million-government-subsidized Maclean’s and husband to the Liberal Environment Minister, try reading Terry Glavin’s — one of a handful of intrepid Canadian journalists actually holding this Trudeau government to account — reports on how Trudeau seems to be selling us out to China and maybe do a column on how the PM is a “Manchurian Idiot.” I won’t hold my breath. I guess the best way to not get called out for your conflict of interest with the Liberals, but to still help their cause, is to deflect and distract from your wife’s government’s screw-ups by writing endless columns about Trump’s antics. Below are more of his insight on Trump and American politics from Ottawa. Feel free to quickly scroll past all the chaff.)

I could also show you many of Gilmore’s colleagues similarly spilling pools and pools of ink on Trump instead of on pressing issues in our own country, but I think you get the point. What are some of those pressing issues not being covered you may ask? Well how about illegal migrants still walking across our border for one? The coverage for that has completely dropped off and I’ve seen no reporters keeping up the pressure on the PM on how he’s done nothing to stop it or to increase bureaucrats at the Immigration and Refugee Board, which I pointed out early last year, that Maclean’s has finally picked up on by reporting how they’re now flooded with applicants they can’t process in a timely fashion. Or how about CBC looks into how Vice-Admiral Mark Norman appears to have been thrown under the bus by the Trudeau government and potentially its former reporter, now working for the Minister of Defence, for simply doing his job? Or how about investigating how the Canadian Heritage continues to spend billions of dollars on dud after dud in arts and culture programming? Or how about looking into who is actually running the country and report about them (CBC et al reported way more on former Trump advisor Stephen Bannon than they have ever done on Trudeau’s top advisors) since Trudeau sees his role as PM as more ceremonial in nature than hands-on.

Sadly, what little air that’s still left in the room, once Trump coverage has sucked out most of it, ends up being sliced up between a bit of the happenings of the day and the rest on whatever the latest PR stunts Trudeau’s handlers at the Prime Minister’s Office have concocted. Right now Trudeau is on his second town-hall tour meant to distract from the aforementioned screw-ups and scandals by having Trudeau putting on a show by using his gift of gab to change the channel. Although disgruntled attendees inevitably pose unwanted questions regarding these screw-ups and scandals, Trudeau usually can rely on a green crowd (many of these town halls are strategically held on university campuses which ensures the crowd is filled with naive and impressionable youth willing to believe their “cool” PM over some nobody in the audience) to back him up when he deflects and obfuscates the truth when answering. He can also rely on his friends at the CBC et al to only keep the most dramatic moments in their reports, like seasoned politician Trudeau dismantling an outmatched angry heckler, and make that their story. When CBC’s The National took time last week to report on the town halls it was mainly to admire Trudeau’s ability to fend of hecklers and win the crowd over (your guess is as good as mine as to how this helps inform the public). The National now has accompanying articles on the CBC website, and one of the useless articles was entitled “Trudeau turns to Seinfeld tactics to tame town hall hecklers.” The first news segment even took time to reminisce on last year’s town halls (again, who cares?) and had spin doctor/CBC poll analyst Eric Grenier claim it didn’t hurt him in the polls (I’ll be revealing more on Canada’s crappy polling industry and Grenier’s shaky methodology in the near future). The second news segment from last week on the town halls was a real masterpiece in CBC doing propaganda for their paymaster. The whole segment was about how Trudeau deals with hecklers (I’m old enough to remember when these disruptors used to be called activists and protesters when Harper was PM) and “wins the crowd over” (segment starts at 24:50 if you want to see the gross admiration of Trudeau’s PR).

Trudeau charming much of the media into reporting puff pieces, meanwhile letting him get away with murder by letting the public coffers be robbed blind, reminds me of the Broadway show Chicago (which I saw for the first time in NYC last month). In the musical a lawyer named Billy Flynn “razzle dazzles” newspaper reporter Mary Sunshine into writing glowing stories about his client, a murderess and adulterer aspiring to be a vaudevillian star.

 

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So, What Ever Happened to Those (Possibly Ex-)Liberal MPPs Accused of Sexual Harassment Years Ago?

By Josh Lieblein

Oh, I’m sorry — did you forget how Wynne revealed that at least two Liberal MPPs were accused of sexual harassment, long before #MeToo started trending? Because she totally did. I’ll wait a minute while you get back up to speed.

All done? Great.

Isn’t it strange how people keep needing to be reminded of Liberals who’ve behaved in this way towards women? I’ll bet you already forgot about Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti, two Liberal MPs who Trudeau dealt with summarily. Then there’s Darshan Kang and Hunter Tootoo (his technically not harassment, but disgraceful nonetheless), who received a bit more attention before and after they resigned. Then there’s the case of Liberal MP Nicola Di lorio joking that Conservative MP Dianne Watts was a stripper in front of other colleagues after hearing her ringtone, which Liberal-friendly online publication iPolitics thought was funny enough to include in its end-of-the-year top ten list of funniest stories in Canadian politics.

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Excerpt from the iPolitics article.

Liberal MP Sherry Romanado tried to even the score a bit by leveling accusations of harassment against Conservative James Bezan that one time, but seeing as how he had been open and transparent about what he’d said and his attempts to apologize and make the situation right, it didn’t have the desired effect.

The media seem pretty content to let the Liberals deal with these cases internally. No articles about whether the Liberals as a party have a sexual harassment problem, like the endless ones they do positing if conservatives have a racism or extremism problem on even weaker evidence. Not many real follow-ups to determine the nature of the allegations. No questions about how the investigations are proceeding or how they work or what the victims want or would like.

But at least we know the names of the men accused in the case of the five MPs I mentioned. As for the two, and possibly more, that exist for the provincial Liberals? Not even the names of the accused have been given.

We know that ex-Liberal MPP Kim Craitor (and his son) were accused of sexual harassment. Was he one of the two? Quite possibly, though there isn’t a definitive answer as of now.

Did Craitor become an ex-Liberal MPP for this reason? Christina Blizzard seemed to think so. Martin Regg Cohn, as is his wont, praised the Premier for “sacrificing” a riding to show how seriously she takes the issue despite acknowledging in the same column that she only acted after the complainant took her concerns to the media.

Is the other MPP(s) still in caucus? No one can say. All we get is the most wild speculation. Could it have been Bas Balkisoon, the Scarborough MPP who resigned suddenly in 2016? Shrugs all around.

Does the Opposition have their own cases they’re dealing with? Is that why they don’t try to resurrect this story? Are they satisfied with the process enacted by the Premier? Some things the public are just not meant to know, I suppose.

What we do know is that media in this province do a shoddy job of following these stories that it’s hard to tell whether this trail went cold out of negligence or lack of resources or a desire to shield the Premier — and by extension the province and alleged perpetrators — from scandal.

 

 

 

 

Hack Or Flack: Rosemary Barton Edition

By Josh Lieblein

Christmas came early for the Conservatives and NDPers this year as Justin Trudeau became the first sitting Prime Minister to be found in violation of a federal statute, despite the interventions of the “Not A Thing” brigade who tried to downplay, and will continue to downplay this story since it broke last year. (The same usual suspects that couldn’t drone on enough about the so-called “Duffy affair” for two years running and tried desperately to pin it on Harper.)

The Liberals rolled out several damage control strategies, including what was supposed to be a predictable question from Liberal-friendly journalist Rosemary Barton that STILL went disastrously awry.

 

We at Raving Canuck have had our eye on the Trudeau selfie-taking, Chris Alexander-slaying, Elizabeth May-protecting member of the Social Justice League that currently heads up The National in it’s new God-awful, ratings-suicide format. Some Conservatives were praising Barton for being the person to ask the question about the island trip that Trudeau flubbed, so we have prepared another of our popular Hack Or Flack quizzes to remind them that Rosie the Red is no friend of theirs.

Unlike our last endeavour, where it needed to be shown that Aaron Wherry’s blandishments were indistinguishable from Liberal talking points, in this quiz you get to pick which outrageously Liberal-friendly — or just plain silly — thing Barton actually said or tweeted.

#1: During her recent high-profile interview with retiring Supreme Court of Canada judge Beverly McLachlin, what turn of phrase did she joyfully apply to describe the outcome of the Harper government's clashes with the Court?

#2: Which journalistic oversight did Ms. Barton commit during the recent group of by-elections?

#3: December 7 was not a good day for progressives. Three of the following stories broke on that day, but only when Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister thanked the chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for wearing high heels did Barton tweet out "Things that make you go hmmmm". So, which story was Rosie NOT trying to deflect attention from?

#4: Which happening in the House of Commons elicited a "boom!" from Rosie?

#5 : When the Canada 150 skating rink opened on Parliament Hill, Barton did the following:

#6: Rosemary has been very active in commenting on sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore and Donald Trump. When this non-Republican man was accused of sexual harassment, however, Barton tweeted out: "I really liked [INSERT NAME HERE]. Sigh."

#7: On Nov. 26th, Rosie took time on the National to throw shade at a Canadian singer's fashion choices. Who was the unlucky victim?

#8: What excuse did Rosemary use to excuse the PM's absence from QP on Nov 22?

#9: When Australia complained that Trudeau snubbed them during the TPP talks, Barton retweeted a tweet dismissing this concern as.....what?

#10: Finally, because doing all of the above has given Rosemary quite the sense of self-importance: What potentially inflammatory term did she culturally appropriate to refer to getting her makeup done?

See, there’s a reason PM Justin Trudeau thanked Barton as one of his loyal “lickspittles” at the Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner a couple years ago. Whilst some in the audience mistook the PM doing a deadpan joke, it’s more likely he was being dead serious.

And now, for our fun references!:

1. The ignominious quote can be heard at 10:38 here. Curiously, this line didn’t make it into the written summary!

2. Right here. I’d link to the tweet where she retracted or updated it in light of this, but it never happened!

3. Barton’s original tweet is here. On that date, Dec 7, Kent Hehr was found to have been a jerk, Franken’s disgrace was complete, and Trudeau was about to depart the Middle Kingdom empty handed. We would have to wait for Dec 9 for McKenna to tweet out the dying polar bear photo, however.

4.  Right here. Notably, the Trudeau finding of rule-breaking did NOT elicit a “boom!”

5. Retweet of nauseating advertorial for the rink is here, pic is here. National segment where she mentions that you can’t play hockey on the rink, but doesn’t follow it up is right here.

6. Yuck.

7. Got to go right to the end for this one. Slagging another woman’s fashion choices is SUPER FEMINIST, BTW.

8. Because the best SCORCHING HOT TAKES always defend the Prime Minister and the Liberals.

9. It was a “highly effective diplomatic strategy”, according to Barton’s retweet, anyway.

10. Here. And she didn’t even name or credit the lady who did her makeup!

 

The Lowdown on Kathleen Wynne’s Campaign Manager David Herle

By Josh Lieblein

David Smith. Don Guy. Jean Lapierre. Gerald Butts. Laura Miller. Katie Telford.

David Herle wishes he was part of this elite group of Liberal magicians. And while it must be validating for him that Kathleen Wynne trusts him enough to manage her re-election bid–enough to reward him with 900K in lucrative contracts–there are those within the Liberal fold who have reason to doubt that ol’ Diamond Dave can get the job done.

I suppose you necessarily must grow up with a desire to prove yourself when you belong to one of the few Liberal families in the great province of Saskatchewan. Apparently Dave’s dear sister Allyce bravely faced off against current CPC leader Andrew Scheer in his first electoral outing and placed third. Dave, meanwhile, distinguished himself as a driver for then-Saskatchewan Liberal Party leader Ralph Goodale, the only MP who has hung around long enough to represent both Trudeau governments.

When you grow up with King Ralph as your political high-water mark, it tends to create a bit of insecurity when you’re in the same room with infamous Trudeau advisor Keith Davey. That’s probably why Herle admitted in a moment of weakness that he wanted his name to surpass that of the infamous Rainmaker.

Unfortunately for our hero Dave, the upper echelons of the Liberal Party looked askance at him for his rough Prairie roots. As member of the John Turner faction of the party in the 80’s, the harassed and beleaguered Herle was repeatedly undermined by Trudeau Sr.’s Laurentian elites to the point where Dave reportedly lashed out and called Davey “a son of a b*tch“.

The embattled Mr. Herle did what all Liberals spurned by the Trudeau inner circle did: join Paul Martin’s camp. From there things turned out like you’d expect–a plum position at Earnscliffe, the lobbying firm fingered in the sponsorship scandal, a decades long brawl with Chrétien loyalist Warren Kinsella, and recurrent guest spots on political panels thanks to his friendship with Peter Mansbridge.

Through it all, Herle would continue to go overboard in carrying water for his old pal Ralph Goodale, ensuring that the sole Liberal seat in Saskatchewan would be held by Ralph and nobody else. At one point, he would be found spinning one of Goodale’s nomination rival’s thank-you outings for beer and pizza for campaign volunteers into a PSA against underage drinking.

But it all came crashing down when the responsibility for the 2004 and 2006 elections were placed on Herle’s shoulders. As the Liberal numbers plummeted in 2004, Herle went public with the dispiriting assertion that his campaign was “in a spiral“, which is exactly the sort of thing a group of candidates want to hear from their skipper.

Banished to Middle Earth after the Liberals were finally driven from power, he set up his own firm, the Gandalf Group, putting out economic prospecti, cataloguing his own positive press clippings, and carrying out interesting public opinion research. By 2012, he was still carrying a torch for Paul Martin, arguing that Mr. Dithers had built the party in the West in a way that Chretien never had, and that the Liberals would have been a truly national party if it hadn’t been for that inconvenient Sponsorship Scandal ruining things. As Trudeau soaked up all the glitz and glamour, Herle was relegated to clearing the way at the provincial level, orchestrating victories for Brian Gallant in New Brunswick and Kathleen Wynne in Ontario.

For all this, though, the Liberal A-team doesn’t seem interested in letting him make the calls. Trudeau rejected his pitch to use attack ads in 2015, and when things looked grim for Justin in the pre-election run-up and rumours were circulating that Gerald Butts might end up benched, Herle was–purely coincidentally, no doubt–being tapped as a potential replacement.

Fitting, then, that the politically desperate and seminally unpopular Kathleen Wynne would turn, once again, to the only Liberal as apt to attack when cornered as she is to manage what could well be the campaign she and the Ontario Liberal Party go out in a blaze of vainglory.

A Brief Look Back on Albertan Alienation

By Mark Walker

The Liberal Party of Canada has a knack for inciting regional alienation and constitutional crises.  Western Canadians, particularly Albertans, expect Liberal federal governments to have a disdain bordering on antipathy for people outside of the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal “golden triangle”, and why not? A look at electoral maps since the days of Pearson shows the West consistently rejects the progressive paternal brand of politics that passes for “liberalism” in the LPC. There is simply no political upside for the Liberals to create policy that serves western Canada when they can rely on enough votes from central Canada to form government–which they do more often than not.

This is the reality of Canadian federal politics under which the West has laboured, and generally thrived in spite of a hostile Canadian political and media regime–a cabal held in check only by the Constitution (the real one from 1867) and the odd win by the federal Conservatives.

The modern roots of western alienation are often traced back to Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program–although, in fact, the West’s resentment could reasonably be the result of more than a century of federal government policies that compelled the region to feed the Central Canadian appetite for everything from wheat to oil to cannon fodder for military adventures while more favoured regions, particularly Quebec, were held exempt from contributing in any real way to the national experiment. These inequities continue to this day with the Orwellian Equalization Program being the best example.

The NEP was recognized in Alberta, and to a large extent in Saskatchewan and NE British Columbia for the corrupt, naked grab for power and money that it was. The oil producing regions increasing wealth posed an existential threat to the LPC’s role as the “natural governing” party of Canada. At the same time Alberta’s burgeoning economy represented a pot of money that the Liberals convinced themselves, and much of the “Rest of Canada”, was really owed to them, for all the help they’d heaped on the West in the past. While there was a degree of spite for Alberta in the NEP, it was largely a money grab by Central Canadian interests. It failed, as all national programs do, but it created a rallying point for a rising western separatism that manifested itself in the Reform-Alliance party, the destruction of the PC Party of Canada (which was at least complicit in support of the NEP) and the eventual rise of the Conservative Party under Harper.

All that is history–and most Westerners understand the realities of Canada and the motivation of the “East”. Parallels drawn between the spite of Pierre Trudeau and the hubris of his progeny are not wrong. Both Trudeaus can be described as slightly effeminate dilettantes who choose their daily wardrobes more carefully than their words or actions. All hat, no cattle as it were–which is a tough sell in the prairies where self-reliance, family, faith and honesty are accepted not just as virtues, but as what it means to be Canadian.

What is different this time, and why the growing resentment in the West for Central Canada is understated, is the attack on western Canadian values by the current Trudeau gang isn’t just economic–it’s personal. Trudeau and the LPC are punishing western Canada, not just for it’s rejection of LPC, but for the very virtues that make up the social fabric of the West. LPC policy suffers from a heavy dose of cultural Marxism which reveals itself as radical environmentalism, an obsession with the futile fight against climate change, and endless lectures on identity politics and white guilt.

People have an innate understanding of fairness and tolerance. Contributing significantly more economically to the national effort when things are going well is something most western Canadians are proud to do. When the Liberal Party of Canada, and to a large extent Conservatives outside of the West, accuse the people of  the productive, stable West of being bigots, tax cheats, homophobes and White Supremacists, westerners quite rightly begin to question the utility of a continued Confederation.  When the injury of a concerted effort to shut down the West’s resource industry in the name of Gaia is added to the insults hurled by Trudeau at the people who have kept Canada’s economy going for the past six decades, a growing resentment for Central Canada from the West  is not only to be expected, it’s encouraged.

Trudeau Liberal Government’s CanCon Mandarins IGNORE “Cuphead”, the Grant-Free, Made-In-Canada, Smash Hit Video Game

By Josh Lieblein

It’s critically acclaimed.

It’s a blast to play and beautiful to look at.

It’s a commercial success, with over 100,000 downloads in 3 days and on pace to break plenty of records.

It’s currently on the tip of the tongue of every gaming pundit worth their controller as they intensely debate whether critics should pull up their gaming-skill socks after their online reviews showed them coming up short against its hard-boiled, retro-fied difficulty.

The Canadian-made “Cuphead” is a bona-fide, red-hot, smash hit, currently sitting pretty with an 86% aggregate review for its PC version and an 88% for consoles on MetaCritic (the Rotten Tomatoes of the gaming press).  And Justin Trudeau’s Liberals- who just rolled out their “Creative Canada” cultural funding review to yawns and furrowed brows- couldn’t care less.

Not that they would know how to care, you see. Because “Cuphead”- developed by independent gaming outfit StudioMDHR Entertainment– has not a single loonie of Canadian government arts grants to its name.

Ground out over a period of seven long years by Regina natives Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, the game boasts a toe-tapping jazz soundtrack composed by Toronto percussionist and National Ballet of Canada Orchestra member Kristofer Maddigan and thousands upon thousands of painstaking, hand-drawn frames of animation by Chad’s wife Maja, making this a labour of love as well.

And for those of you who like your entertainment to have a little bit of a moral message, there’s a nice subtle one about the pitfalls of gambling (another pie in which the government has stuck its grubby fingers, let’s not forget).

The game oozes quality, and not the kind CBC lifers like to talk about. Even if you’ve never played a video game in your life, any boss rush on YouTube will captivate the casual observer and aesthete alike with its high-energy flow. Anyone who’s watched and loved “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” or bopped their head to a Louis Armstrong tune will like what they see and hear a lot.

For a long time, gamers have lobbied for their preferred medium to be classified as true art, and Cuphead just may be the game that broke down that barrier.

But enough raving about the game’s merits. Let’s focus on how the Liberal government seems simply prepared to Netflix and chill when it comes to CanCon, ignoring this hometown success story.

This government, who has signaled that small businesses are nothing more than tax shelters for the wealthy, could stand to come down off their high horses and hear the tale of the Moldenhauers and their small studio, who proved that Canadian independent businesses don’t need government backing or PMO-approved articles in Rolling Stone to promote our brand on the world stage and burnish Canada’s international reputation.

It could be that Trudeau himself, who signaled appreciation for clunky old-school 80’s Mac games a few months back, may be so far behind the times now that he is the oldest leader in Ottawa that the fast pace of the gaming industry- and Cuphead itself- could be too much for him. In gaming parlance, this would make him a “filthy casual” and a “scrub”.

Or it could be that Prime Minister n00b and the rest of the Liberals couldn’t use Cuphead’s admittedly niche success to distract from the problems facing his government, the way his counterpart in Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, used the (possibly manufactured) controversy over another video game- the rather racist Dirty Chinese Restaurant. This creation of the trollishly named Markham developers Big-O-Tree Games was recently pulled after provincial politicians chorused in horror on Twitter last week.

Whether it be malice or incompetence on the part of the Liberals, the inspiring story of Cuphead will not be receiving its own Heritage Moment any time soon. But hopefully the story of the little Canadian video game that became a huge success will inspire other Canadian content creators to resist the tyranny of the arts bureaucracy.

 

 

 

CBC: Trudeau’s State Broadcaster

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 Hitches With CBC’s 10 Canadians ‘Face-to-Face’ With PM

Before unmasking last week’s riddled-with-loopholes CBC special, “Face to Face with the Prime Minister”, I’d like to commend the 10 participants of the show for having the courage to go on national television to share their hardships with millions of Canadians, and for also earnestly trying their best to hold our new PM to account–despite the cards being stacked against them and there being little of a track record to review. The participants are all far more lionhearted than myself and many of our compatriots. Bravo to these 10 Canadians for seizing the opportunity to stand up for what is dear to their hearts. So please do not misconstrue the below in any way as an attack on these wonderful Canadian citizens.

That being said, the way the CBC and Justin Trudeau and co. set up this supposedly avant-garde interviewing process–according to Peter Mansbridge, “like nothing you’ve ever seen”–they should be ashamed of themselves. This piss-poor yellow journalism reeks on so many levels. So without further ado, allow me to turn this gimmicky production inside out with a gimmicky top ten listicle of its abominations.

1) Peter Mansbridge And CBC Are In Bed With The Liberals:

The CBC coverage of last election cycle should leave no doubt in Canadians’ minds that the CBC is the cheer-leading captain of our new government (The CBC’s Insolent Election Bias is a post of mine on this subject that garnered ten-thousand hits).

Leading up to the election, the Conservative Party of Canada ran an attack ad using a snippet from a Mansbridge interview with Justin Trudeau. Now, being in the news business and a supposed consummate professional, Mansbridge should have known about copyright law and fair dealings (a law that allows one to use parts of others’ works). CBC and The National do this all the time when borrowing footage from other news organizations in their coverage. That’s why it was so shocking when internal emails (obtained by Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley) revealed Mansbridge complained to management about the CPC’s ad and worked actively with the rest of the media consortium in having them removed from all the major Canadian networks.

Mother Corp. wasn’t done there in protecting Trudeau from unflattering attacks though, it then had its legal counsel ask YouTube and Facebook to remove the ad as well. (Yet, ironically, CBC was A-Okay with producing its own two-minute attack ad, containing many clips of Harper repeating “friends” to audiences, and then posting it on its own Facebook page). Facebook and YouTube politely declined the CBC’s ludicrous complaint, while probably wondering to themselves how a public broadcaster could be so thick as to not understand how fair dealings works.

But the above is only a glimpse into how much our public broadcaster and Mansbridge are intertwined with the Liberal Party of Canada. Canadaland, a new digital Canadian media website, reported that Mansbridge officiated the wedding of Justin Trudeau’s Director of Communications, Kate Purchase (though years before she was employed with Trudeau). Her father, Bruce Anderson, is a close friend of Mansbridge and had a cozy gig on Mansbridge’s The National for years as a political analyst (aka Liberal spin doctor), but he suddenly departed from the show–at the same time as the scoop was released, coincidence?–citing conflicts of interest. These close familial family connections put into question Mansbridge’s claim that he “played the ‘you talk of transparency and openness, so prove it’ card” in gaining exclusive access to Justin Trudeau on the day of his swearing in as PM. It’s a bit rich that this challenge to the PMO is what “curr[ied] favour” instead of Mansbridge’s family friend connection to Purchase.

The resulting coverage of that day, where a highly unprofessional Mansbridge gushed and fawned over the new PM, only confirmed the falseness of Mansbridge’s article, which bragged about how he scored his exclusive through his journalistic expertise and mettle. But Mansbridge wasn’t done with his vainglorious tales, in a recent article hyping up the “Face to Face” program, Mansbridge claimed CBC was “doubl[ing] down” on its challenging of the LPC’s transparency. In reality, the CBC and Mansbridge only “doubled down” on their own dishonesty.

Underneath the facade of Mansbridge’s baritone-silky-smooth-voice-of-truth and mock-earnestness, there is an underlying deceitfulness. Mansbridge has never publicly disclosed his personal connection to Trudeau’s Director of Communications (just like he’s never publicly disclosed how he’s received hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in speaking fees from the corporate world of Canada). It’s not really surprising that Mansbridge–The National’s anchor for eternity, starting since 1988!–has gotten away scot-free with ethical breaches for so long, it goes along with the pattern of CBC cult of personality that led to the disgraceful behaviour of the likes of Gian Ghomeshi, Evan Solomon, Rex Murphy, and Amanda Lang. It’s about time Canadians realized Mansbridge isn’t Canada’s trustworthy Walter Cronkite, but instead our own phony Brian Williams.

Here are some final notes on CBC’s incestuous ties to the LPC: A couple of CBC executives took leave-of-absences so they could campaign with the LPC; The union representing many CBC journalists registered to campaign against the Conservatives last election; A former CBC journalist who covered federal politics recently wrote about how the new defence minister is “bad ass” is now working and writing press releases for that very same “bad ass”; And the LPC has promised to give the CBC an additional 150 million dollars to its one billion dollar annual subsidy (essentially bribing the network for immensely favourable coverage of Trudeau).

2) The Participants Were Embedded In A News Junket:

I did some digging into what was included in the ten Canadians’ trip to Ottawa. From what I found, the trip appears to have been an all-expenses-paid junket, which by all fair guesstimates cost taxpayers tens-of-thousands-of-dollars (I’m awaiting a response from CBC regarding costs, etc, but I’m not holding my breath).

What I do know is the participants were flown from all over the country and were put up in the Ottawa Sheraton for several days. Many of the contestants posted star-struck selfies they’d taken with our selfie-indulgent PM and the so-called venerable Mansbridge. In this setting of idolatry it would be nearly impossible to pierce through the impenetrable atmosphere-of-adoration with barbed questions.

It also appears that the contestants’ (let’s be honest, the special broadcast was reality TV) questions were groomed by CBC producers and Mansbridge whom appeared to go over the contestants’ questions in a boardroom before shooting the interviews. It’s surprising how little specific examples and follow-up questions the ten Canadians asked considering they most likely had professional journalists assist them in the preparation of their interviews (CBC claims Trudeau’s people had no input or knowledge of the interviewers’ questions, but knowing Mansbridge’s connection should you believe the network?) It’s almost as if the producers were content with the ten Canadians asking personal questions (without rebuttals to talking points) that Trudeau could easily spin and skirt around.

Finally, after conducting the interviews, the interviewers were wined and dined at a ritzy restaurant near parliament for a champagne toast (the evidence is available on social media sites, but I opted not to publish it out of respect for the ten Canadians’ privacy). It’s not too far-fetched to imagine CBC literally dressed up the ten Canadians in new threads for their TV appearances. Now, under the pampering and careful eye of the Mother Corp., do you think average Joe Canadians are going to be in the mood for an antagonistic rumble with its darling, smiley Trudeau? It also doesn’t help the cause of accountability when the vast majority of the hand-picked contestants showed an affinity towards Trudeau on social media in the past few months.

CBC’s preening of these ten Canadians severely undermines its claim that Trudeau’s government is taking a “gamble” and huge “risk” for the sake of “transparency and accountability” by participating in the TV special. The “Face to Face” program was really nothing more than a carefully curated and constructed propaganda piece for Trudeau.

3) Why The Reality TV Feel?:

Further incriminating evidence supporting the propaganda charge against CBC’s special, “Face to Face”, is the reality-TV-like-quality of the production. It was odd that Peter Mansbridge and producers thought it appropriate to start each interview with the repetitive camera shot of the PM’s-glossy-wooden-door-with-gilded-lettering being opened by each contestant and then Trudeau purring each time, “Welcome to the Prime Minister’s office.” The accompanying music gave it the feel of some tacky reality TV show, instead of what it should’ve been, serious interviews about serious issues affecting millions of everyday Canadians.

Let’s contrast the CBC’s TV special’s gimmicky production values with some of Mansbridge’s tough words in his most recent promotional article:

There’s one other interview format that most PMs do like, though. It comes at Christmas when the prime minister’s staff wants the interview sitting next to a roaring fire and a decorated tree.
Somehow those sessions rarely lend themselves to any productive accountability.
In 2014, after arguing with the prime minister’s office about the background, we managed to shoot the interview in such a way you didn’t see the fire or the tree, and we managed some good exchanges with Stephen Harper, some of which resulted in comments that still haunt him today.

So Mansbridge was opposed to warming up a frigid Harper by a fire, but with Trudeau it’s suddenly okay to create an hour-long reality TV show? This is first-rate hypocrisy.

To make matters worse, another CBC promotional article hyped the TV special by claiming they scoured the nation coast to coast to coast to find the top ten best Canadians to represent us all, and then they would all get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the PM–how glamorous. It was reminiscent of the five golden tickets from the children‘s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

4) Green Interviewers Cannot Possibly Hold A Slippery Thespian Politician To Account:

Some contestants left their interviews still in a Willy-Wonka-like wonder for our PM, while others left their interviews dismayed and disillusioned by an exposed Wizard of OZ; however, they were all left feeling many of their questions remained unanswered.

They shouldn’t feel discouraged though, many politicians and journalists can’t get a straight answer from the cliche-happy Trudeau either. The former part-time drama teacher seems thus far to be proving the trite adage wrong: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. (As a teacher myself I’m allowed to use this glib expression.)

Trudeau’s acting chops were enough to convince enough of the public into voting him into the PM’s office, but we’ll see how long the man can keep up the performance. To many of us, Trudeau’s perspicacious capacity for platitudes has already become a worn out routine.

One of the victim’s spouses of the Berkino Faso massacre hung up on Trudeau because the PM’s condolences came off as phony pretentiousness. It probably didn’t help that when Trudeau first addressed the nation about the tragedy, in a mosque, the PM thought it was appropriate to go around taking selfies with the crowd.

Perhaps its this type of discordance between the PM’s cheap talk and his un-statesman-like, contradictory behaviour that is most jarring about the CBC’s TV special. Trudeau dodged and blatantly lied to many of the guests in his office, and below I’d like to point out his most glaring offenses.

5) Virtue Signalling Over Actually Helping The Average Indigenous Person:

Trudeau’s interview with Nikki Faser was a heart-wrenching scene. The young indigenous mother, who lost an aunt and cousin too soon to the streets, came to ask Trudeau how he is going to ensure that indigenous women in the future–like Fraser’s daughter–won’t become an all too common and tragic statistic.

Trudeau, corny and glib as always, told her “indigenous lives matter”.  He then championed his government’s future public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, saying “everyone” will be involved in the process. Knowing how public inquiries go, this process will undoubtedly last years if he proposes to include everyone involved. And as nice as this virtue signalling by Trudeau appears, inquiries don’t solve immediate problems.

Trudeau’s answers pleased Fraser, and I’m sure many other indigenous people. For people surrounded by tragedy, recognition of your communities’ plight is a welcome change.

But excuse me for not being sold. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission didn’t solve the problems facing indigenous people today, and none of these endless apologies, inquiries and reparations ever will.

What is needed is a federal government with the stomach to abolish the racist and archaic Indian Act. A federal government willing to challenge the nepotism and corruption of many of the bands. European settlers of the past, our ancestors, as well as living Canadians and the federal government throughout history all deserve the lion-share of the blame for the current state of affairs of indigenous people today–but all perpetrators, whether white or indigenous, should be held to account.

That’s why it was so puzzling that Trudeau’s government decided that First Nations’ bands shouldn’t have to comply with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which forced indigenous governments to make financial disclosures. Apparently Trudeau only meant most Canadians would get a more “transparent and accountable” government under his watch.

Another contradictory move by Trudeau, as pointed out by Jesse Brown on his Canadaland podcast, is his Liberal government’s friendliness to John Furlong, the head organizer of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and a man accused by many indigenous people of committing physical, sexual and emotional abuse against them while he worked at a residential school.

It’s actions like the above that should make one skeptical of Trudeau’s warm and fuzzy rhetoric on indigenous people. Indigenous people are likely being set up for a huge letdown in the coming years when their great expectations give way to disheartened disappointment.

6) A Prime Example Of A Low-Skilled Canadian Victimized By Liberal Policy:

Neil Piercey, 58, had some bleak and blunt questions for PM Trudeau. Piercey, from London, Ontario, is barely scraping by after using up his pension to help pay for his mortgage. He has nothing saved and is approaching retirement age. Working in manufacturing most of his life, Piercey has been a victim of a drying up manufacturing sector within the city. One of the explanations for why manufacturing hasn’t bounced back in Ontario, despite the incentive of a weak dollar, is the off-the-dial electricity costs in one of the most indebted sub-nations in the developed world.

Gerald Butts is Trudeau’s best friend and top adviser (some say de facto PM because it appears he calls the shots on many things–like feeding Trudeau the asinine “because it’s 2015” line), and was the former adviser to Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario Liberals and an architect behind their failed green energy policy that has contributed in putting the province in dire straits today. Under this context, it is even more cringe-worthy when Piercey, voicing his fears of losing his home and ending up homeless, asks Trudeau what help he can expect from his government and Trudeau answers by saying there is no “quick fix” and that the government was looking into it and needs to work on “investing in skills” that young people will need for the job market. Apparently people like Piercey, victims of Trudeau’s best friend Butts, shouldn’t expect “sunny ways” any time in the near future.

7) Trudeau’s Surprisingly Uninformed Response To Secondary Education Questions:

Charlotte Kiddell is a 24-year-old undergraduate student who interviewed Trudeau on student debt and affordable post-secondary education. A CBC followup article revealed Kiddell left her interview unsatisfied with many of Trudeau’s canned responses (such as “It’s 2016”). I was actually slightly surprised how unspecific Trudeau was on this file because he was the education critic for years while an opposition MP during the Conservative government. I thought he would be better briefed on the subject. Though one shouldn’t be too shocked because Trudeau did happen to have one of the worst attendance records of all of the MPs of the House of Commons at the time. I guess he was busy racking up six-figure speaking fees from school boards and charities, amounting in hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in extra income from his side gig.

Probably the most revealing part of this interview was the giggly exchange at the beginning of the interview, when Kiddell said she saw him earlier in the day “photo-bomb[ing]” a tourist. Trudeau’s response was priceless:

“I came in, and the woman, who was…who I took the picture with recognized me, but the one taking it didn’t. So I sort of smiled, she took the picture right away and I kept walking, and I kept walking and counting down in my head, ‘three, two, one,’ and I heard–‘Oh my god’–and that’s the explanation anyway.”

“That’s so cute,” gushed Kiddell.

“You’ve got to enjoy this job and stay connected to people, and that’s why I’m so glad you decided to participate in this.”

(Barf.) A little less “cool” and flirty selfie-PM and a little more diligence and respect for the highest job in the land, please.

8) Affordable Child Day Care For All And Trudeau’s Two Nannies:

Jenna Fray, a 31-year-old with a young family, interviewed the PM about how he is going to help middle-class families. He explained the new tax cut for people in the second income bracket and the new Child Care Benefit (CCB) “for families not making over two-hundred-thousand dollars a year.”

The irony in his caveat of ineligibility for CCB is that it doesn’t apply to Justin Trudeau. A perfect rejoinder from Fray would’ve been: “Why do you think it’s acceptable for you to have taxpayers cover the cost of your two nannies, especially since you made a show of donating your childcare benefit and claimed people like you didn’t need help paying for childcare?”

Fray responded much more politely by saying her calculated savings under the new plan would only be enough to afford one month of childcare costs and wondered why affordable childcare wasn’t available to everyone.

Somehow Trudeau believes the third thing to help middle-class families like Fray’s is through massive “investment” (read cost sink) in infrastructure projects, like public transportation, as if this will make up for Fray’s eleven more months of childcare costs she’s struggling to afford.

Fray, still clearly perturbed in how she can afford childcare, asked Trudeau for compassion and to remember families like hers.

“Jenna, quite frankly, the day I forget about you and your family, and all the people like you, is the day I’m no longer worthy of sitting in that chair.”

Trudeau’s saccharine response was just too rich.

Trudeau’s actions do not show him prioritizing people like Fray and her family. Here’s a PM who made sure his childcare costs were retroactively covered back to the day he took office, had his mother announce he wasn’t moving into 24 Sussex until it’s renovated, scheduled a photo-shoot with Vogue shortly after winning the election, spends countless time taking selfies with adoring fans, gave back excessive sick days (costing taxpayers’ hundreds-of-millions of dollars) to civil servants, gave away billions of dollars to foreign developing countries’ infrastructure projects, is spending billions of dollars on a rushed refugee program, and took an over 300 person delegation (more than several other countries combined, excessively wasting taxpayers’ money) to the Paris climate talks–yet Jenna’s family is supposed to get by paying for childcare with a measly extra eight-hundred dollar or so tax break.

The scene with Fray and Trudeau was like the extravagant Marie Antoinette and her immortal words: “Let them eat cake.” Let’s hope Trudeau gets the proverbial guillotine in four years’ time.

9 & 10) Wishy Washy on Alberta’s Woes And Combat Against ISIS

End note: Several of the participants of CBC’s “Face to Face” were contacted for this article. Two responded and seemed open to an interview, but neither have responded after I followed up. I will update if CBC or any of the participants respond to my questions.

Way overdue followup: After writing over three-thousand words on this article I ran into my own hitch with finishing up my last few months teaching in South Korea and never got around to finishing 9 & 10 on the listicle. I guess I also fatigued from already belabouring the absurdity of the TV special in this lengthy article.

Below is a response from Jihane Elatifi, a participant in the “Face-to-Face” TV special:

1) What did you think of PM Trudeau’s answers to your questions and what is your overall opinion of our new PM since meeting him?

I thought he didn’t answer them frankly. I wanted his own opinion and feelings on certain matters. I did not want him to deliver the usual speech – which is why I interrupted him several times. Unlike a few other participants, I’ve always had a positive opinion of PM Trudeau and always voted Liberal. Also, I had seen him working in the Papineau riding in Montreal, had friends who volunteered for him and he was always open to dialogue. I think we also just passed the 100 days mark of his government being in power, I expect less talk and more action now.

2) How were you chosen as one of the participants to interview Trudeau?

Luck and word of mouth 😉

3) How long was the preparation for the interview, and did Mansbridge or other CBC employees coach you on how to conduct an interview? What kind of preparation was involved?

Peter Mansbridge just came in and say hi, we asked him questions about his job, etc. We didn’t really get to speak to him a lot. As for the CBC staff, they briefed us, but did not impose any questions or forbid us to ask any questions. Of course, they had to avoid overlaps in terms to the subjects addressed by each of the Canadians. The fact that they didn’t try to impose anything on us and let us express ourselves the way we wanted was also one of the reasons why I chose to participate. This was not a staged, rehearsed or directed conversation…We all came with our own agendas.
 
4) Were you happy with what made the cut for the show? How did the other participants feel about the process?
Absolutely, it was a great experience. The best experience was meeting all the other participants. I sincerely miss them and we keep in touch via a giant email thread 🙂 – I do not want to put words in their mouths, but I feel like generally everyone was happy with the selection process. The one thing that may have been a frustration was the lack of time (we all had 10 minutes).
5) How long was your trip to Ottawa? Did CBC cover all expenses? What was included in your trip for taking part in the show?
I live in Montreal so I did not spend the entire 4 days in Ottawa, some people came from places that were far from the capital, other participants had to leave and couldn’t be there on Sunday either. Expenses covered were basic for me: food, train and room. I spent two nights in Ottawa, came in early and left early in the morning because i had work.

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