MAXIME BERNIER ON CANCEL CULTURE
Ten months ago I discussed freedom of speech and cancel culture with @ezralevant on my show. It’s a good time to watch it if you haven’t already.
Dear OCLA Supporter,
This email is to give you an update on the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA)’s work in the surreal year of 2020. We hope to stay connected with you and work together to resist and reverse the rapid degradation of civil rights currently occurring in Canada.
OCLA report “Criticism of Government Response to COVID-19 in Canada”
In April, we published a research report authored by OCLA researcher Dr. Denis Rancourt, criticizing the government’s actions during the spring lockdown. The Abstract of the report reads as follows:
We review the scientific literature about general-population lockdown and social-distancing measures, which is relevant to mitigation policy in Canada. Federal and provincial Canadian government responses to and communications about COVID-19 have been irresponsible. The latest research implies that the government interventions to “flatten the curve” risk causing significant additional cumulative COVID-19 deaths, due to seasonal driving of transmissibility and delayed societal immunity.
Denis has written several research and review articles on COVID-19, including:
- Masks don’t work: A review of science relevant to Covid-19 social policy (April 2020)
- All-cause mortality during COVID-19: No plague and a likely signature of mass homicide by government response (June 2020)
- Face masks, lies, damn lies, and public health officials: “A growing body of evidence” (August 2020)
- Evaluation of the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 in France, from all-cause mortality 1946-2020 (August 2020)
- Measures do not prevent deaths, transmission is not by contact, masks provide no benefit, vaccines are inherently dangerous: Review update of recent science relevant to COVID-19 policy (December 2020)
OCLA’s opposition to mandatory face mask policies
OCLA continues to oppose the arbitrary and draconian imposition of face masks on the general population. Our interventions in 2020 are documented at the following links:
- OCLA asks the World Health Organization (WHO) to retract its recommendation advising the use of face masks in the general population: https://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-06-21-Letter-OCLA-to-WHO-DG.pdf
- OCLA’s practice guide for civil disobedience against mandatory masking: https://ocla.ca/ocla-recommends-civil-disobedience-against-mandatory-masking/
- Campaign page containing letters to Ontario municipal officials and their responses: https://ocla.ca/opposing-mandatory-face-masks-in-ontario-municipalities/
- Invitation to Keith Egli, Chairperson of Ottawa Board of Health, to participate in a public debate on mandatory face masks (Mr. Egli declined): https://ocla.ca/the-chairperson-of-the-ottawa-board-of-health-keith-egli-refuses-to-debate-ottawas-face-mask-law/
OCLA’s submission on new online hate speech law
In July 2020, civil liberties associations were invited by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to participate in consultations to “inform the development of legal remedies for victims of online hate”.
OCLA has previously argued that the “hate speech” provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code are unconstitutional and in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and we reiterated this argument in our submission for the July 2020 consultations, as well as critiquing the Minister’s specific proposed additions to Canada’s hate speech laws.
Defending free speech of Ontario medical doctor Dr. Kulvinder Gill
In August, OCLA asked Dr. Brenda Copps, President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), to dismiss the CPSO’s investigations of tweets made by Ontario medical doctor Dr. Kulvinder Gill that are critical of COVID-19 policy and practices. The letter can be read here: https://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-08-11-OCLA-letter-to-CPSO-President.pdf
“Blocking YouTube channels and banning books on Amazon are akin to requiring government authorisation to operate a printing press or to buy a photocopier or pen and paper. Only the technology and the administrative covering structures have changed. Establishment censorship is establishment censorship.”
The above quote is from OCLA’s statement opposing Amazon’s deplatforming of Ezra Levant’s book China Virus: How Justin Trudeau’s Pro-Communist Ideology is Putting Canadians in danger.
We, like many other organizations and individuals, have also been affected by social media censorship. In July, our Facebook group was disappeared and then reappeared 24 hours later. Many posts in the group are now being arbitrarily removed by Facebook. As a backup in the event that Facebook deletes our group, OCLA maintains an alternative group at MeWe. However, our email list remains the best and most secure way to stay connected with us.
- Dec. 14, 2020: “RINNER: Canada’s current pandemic response isn’t supported by the facts”, Toronto Sun
- Oct. 27, 2020: OCLA’s Joseph Hickey interviewed on political organization during the lockdown, The Shift with Doug McKenty
- Jul. 7, 2020: OCLA’s Hazel Lievonen interviewed on civil disobedience of mandatory mask policies, Global News Radio Toronto 640
- Jun. 22, 2020: OCLA’s Denis Rancourt interviewed about OCLA letter to WHO, Global News 640
- Apr. 21, 2020: OCLA’s Denis Rancourt interviewed about COVID-19 and OCLA’s report, The Craig Needles Show
What you can do
Thank you for being a valued contact for OCLA. Here are some suggestions for what you can do to help:
- Tell your friends and family about OCLA, and the importance of freedom, and suggest that they look at our website and join our free Newsletter list.
- Let us know about civil rights violations in Ontario, via our Contact page, here.
- Make a donation to OCLA, if you can this year.
- If you are a lawyer or paralegal, consider adding your name to our list of legal contacts, and tell us about your relevant interests.
- If you have academic research skills, consider offering some volunteer involvement.
- If you have social activist skills, and would like to get more connected with OCLA, let us know.
- Fight for freedom any way you can, and let us know about your battles.
How to stay connected and donate to OCLA
OCLA is an independent, volunteer-run organization. Donations help cover operating costs such as booking rooms for public events, printing promotional material for campaigns and events, and paying for court filing fees and court document production costs (copies and binding) for court and tribunal interventions on civil liberties issues.
As we are an entirely volunteer-run organization with a very small budget, we do depend on donations to continue our work, and appreciate any contribution you can make.
Donations can be made in three ways:
1) Through PayPal, by clicking the “Donate” button in the top-right corner of https://ocla.ca;
2) With cryptocurrency (Bitcoin and other options) at the link here; or
3) By sending a cheque to “Ontario Civil Liberties Association” to our mailing address:
Ontario Civil Liberties Association
170 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 603
Canada K1P 5V5OCLA is not affiliated with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) or the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA). All three associations are separate and distinct.
Thank you for your support!
Amazon’s Deplatforming of Ezra Levant’s China Virus Book is Wrong
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association has received documentation from Ontario lawyer Aaron Rosenberg showing that Amazon interfered with and repeatedly deplatformed his client’s book.
The book is “China Virus: How Justin Trudeau’s Pro-Communist Ideology is Putting Canadians in danger”, by Ezra Levant of Rebel News.
Amazon is enabled by State corporate laws to in-effect operate as a book publishing monopoly.
Amazon benefits from corporate law by tax advantages and by shielding its executives and board members from personal liability.
Amazon occupies the internet, thus using internet facilities that have been largely created with public money. The internet is a publicly-funded shared resource, from landlines following rail and road networks, to university hubs, and so on. The very architecture of the internet is from publicly-funded intellectual efforts.
Corporations, such as Amazon, are free to be independent in their corporate strategy and functioning. However, non-specialized monopolistic online publishers and social media giants, because of their fundamental and government-enabled societal role in giving individuals a voice to participate in democracy and to express themselves freely, with equal access, should not violate the constitutional, Charter, democratic, political, and natural freedom-of-expression rights of authors and readers, arbitrarily or by contract.
Blocking YouTube channels and banning books on Amazon are akin to requiring government authorisation to operate a printing press or to buy a photocopier or pen and paper. Only the technology and the administrative covering structures have changed. Establishment censorship is establishment censorship.
Amazon is applying the correct principle of free expression in publishing the historically influential works of Mao, Hitler, Che Guevara, Karl Marx, Errico Malatesta, Adam Smith, and many others, but it is applying outright censorship against current works that it deems threatens the dominant establishment projects of the moment.
OCLA has noticed an aggressive censorship of influential works that potentially threaten the current global state of medical totalitarianism. “Public health risk” is being wielded as a ready-made pretext for deplatforming and censorship. This is obscene. There must be free expression, whether establishment structures have declared a pandemic or not. There must especially be free expression when the government is enacting draconian measures, such as a global lockdown and forcing individuals to wear masks, no less. Everyone must have a voice. Everyone is impacted by unprecedented (we argue reckless) government actions.
It appears that Ezra Levant’s book may have been captured by the medical totalitarian net. Whatever the actual reasons for Amazon’s egregious violation of Mr. Levant’s free expression, and of the rights of his readers, the actions of Amazon are wrong and harmful to society.
 OCLA Report 2020-1, “Criticism of Government Response to COVID-19 in Canada”, by Denis G. Rancourt: https://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/OCLA-Report-2020-1-Criticism-of-Government-Response-to-COVID19.pdf
| Remember when we were told that it would take two weeks to “flatten the curve”? Stay home, isolate from your friends and family, close your business, delay your doctor visits and surgeries, stop attending funerals. Save lives! We were told that if we did that, we would slow down the rate of people getting sick, so the hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed.|
It’s been more than four months now.
The curve has been flattened – in fact, most hospital wards have been empty the whole time. So how did “flattening the curve” turn into unlimited rule by unelected health officials? The same health officials that jet-set around the country while telling you that you can’t leave your house. Click here to watch what I have to say about that.
This virus has been no worse than the annual flu season in terms of the death toll. It’s done now. But that’s not enough. Now we’re being told to wear masks everywhere we go and to continue distancing ourselves until a rushed, made in China vaccine, is developed – and that this could take another 2-3 years. This is politics, not medicine.
They love their power over you, and they won’t let go. And other than Rebel News, who is telling the other side of the story? Yours truly, Ezra Levant
P.S. Every weekday I speak frankly like this, telling the other side of the story, saying things the Media Party would never say. This video is a sneak peek at one of my daily shows that’s normally behind a paywall. Why not subscribe to RebelNews+ to get this kind of video every day? For only $8 a month, you can get full access to my show, The Ezra Levant Show, and other TV-style shows, including Rebel Roundup with David Menzies and The Gunn Show with Sheila Gunn Reid. Please go to RebelNewsPlus.com and subscribe toda
GOOD NEWS: I’ve found a way to stop leftist bullies from cancelling conservative events!
November 19, 2019 — Ezra Levant:
Last month, left-wing bullies — including a university professor and an NDP politician — pressured a theatre into cancelling my book-signing event.
I had a contract with the theatre, I paid them in advance, everything was set to go. But then an online mob harassed the theatre owner until he breached his contract with me, cancelled the event and literally locked the doors.
So last week I sued him for breach of contract. (He still hasn’t even given me the money back for the theatre rental.)
But I did something new: I sued all of the bullies, too. At least the ones I could identify — the ones who were leading the mob on social media.
We’re suing them for inducing the breach of contract.
They knew we had a contract with the theatre; they helped cause the breach of the contract, and we lost thousands of dollars because of it. So that’s what’s new here. We’re not letting the mob go. We’ve identified members of the mob. And we’re suing them.
Read the lawsuit for yourself — it’s written in plain English. You can read it below. It was written by our great free speech law firm in Edmonton, as a way to preserve our freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. Those rights were trampled by the bullies — so we’re fighting back.
Right before he ripped up the contract with me, the theatre owner told me the threats against him were so bad, he was literally losing sleep over it. I still don’t think he should have cancelled it. But don’t you think someone has to tell those bullies they’re wrong?
If they don’t see it, maybe they need a judge to tell them. So we filed the lawsuit last week, and we’ve begun serving it on the bullies — who include a university professor and a former NDP politician.
I’ve just received our first bill from the law firm — it’s for $4,700. Obviously this trial will cost much more than that, probably more than $100,000 by the time it’s all done. We’re suing at least 12 people.
Obviously we’re not doing this to make money. We’re doing it to stop deplatforming in Canada — against us, against anyone, against you.
If you think this is a good idea, and want to help, please give us a hand to pay our lawyers. You can chip in right here on this page — ten dollars, a hundred dollars, whatever you can. We need the help, and I’d be very grateful.
If you’d prefer to contribute by cheque, please make cheques payable to Rebel News and send to:
PO Box 61056 Eglinton/Dufferin RO
Toronto, ON M6E 5B2
DONATE TO STOP DEPLATFORMING
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The CBC report continues: “Three months after instituting a policy barring its chapters from affiliating with groups known to promote hate, the Royal Canadian Legion says it is investigating why one of its Toronto chapters hosted a Rebel News book event, saying “it never should have happened.”t. “This goes against our anti-hate policy and the Provincial Commands have been notified,” the legion tweeted. The event went ahead anyway — despite a new policy instituted after one of its Alberta chapters was found to have counted members of the far-right group Soldiers of Odin among its ranks. …The national legion instituted the new policy, stating in part ‘no branch or command within the legion may affiliate itself in any manner whatsoever with a group or organization that promotes or is known to promote hatred or violence due to ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or any other social determinant. This also applies to legion support of groups affiliated with organizations that espouse hostility.'” The policy goes on to say that it is up to branch and provincial executives to ‘use their best judgment to ensure policy compliance.’ The national headquarters makes the final determination as to what constitutes a prohibited group, it says.”
This pathetic policy is so loose that it could be used to ban almost anyone. Of course, there’s no hearing or chance for the maligned group to defend itself. What, for instance, would promoting hatred … due to any other social determinant” be? Whatever became of freedom of speech and due process? Weren’t these the reasons men and women risked and even sacrificed their lives in two World Wars? The Legion seems to have become just a cozy watering hole for politically correct types. What a fall?
Both my parents fought in World War II, my mother, 1939-1945, as a nurse in the Canadian Army; my father, 1943-1945, in the Royal Canadian Navy. People enlisted for many reasons, some after 10 years of the Depression, just to be assured of shelter, clothes and three meals a day. Many enlisted for idealistic reasons. Having spoken to many old vets, I learned that they felt they were fighting for a better world, a “free world”, summarized in the famous WW II song by Vera Lynn “We’ll Meet Again” One line promises, “we’ll meet again, tomorrow, when the world is free.”
How could those bureaucrats who run the Legion so betray the ideals of freedom? This isn’t the first time. In May of 2018, “A political party with controversial views on immigration and multiculturalism have been left scrambling after the Royal Canadian Legion cancelled a town hall it planned to hold at a legion building in Halifax on Friday. The National Citizens Alliance (NCA) … was set to host its meeting at the legion branch at 6158 Almon St. at 5:30 p.m. … ‘ When RCL Branch 27 learned that the booking was intended as a town hall meeting for the National Citizens Alliance, the booking was cancelled,’ she wrote. (Global News, May 31, 2019)
So, criticizing immigration and multiculturalism gets you banned from the Legion. Just what were these men fighting for?
The current Legion leadership has betrayed the ideal of freedom of speech. People should reconsider support for the November 11 Poppy Campaign. Why support an institution that no longer supports free speech? You’ll see donation boxes with poppies in many stores. The box has the phone number of the local legion. Write it down, phone them and let them know you are reconsidering your donation this year because the Legion seems to have abandoned support for freedom of speech, a goal for which the veterans fought. — Paul Fromm
Ezra Levant is the president of The Rebel News Network Ltd.
It’s become standard practice for the Liberal government to refuse to accredit me or other reporters from my company, Rebel News, at press conferences. Other right-leaning reporters are banned, too. But, at a recent press conference at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, there I was, smiling at Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland from the front row.
I had been smuggled into the room by the former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Okay – that sounds more dramatic than it really was. The former director of the CIA is Mr. Pompeo himself. And he didn’t really smuggle me in. But he did let me walk into the news conference as part of his own delegation, which included U.S. journalists. And I doubt he told Ms. Freeland about it.
That’s just as shocking as if it had really been a CIA operation: The only way I was able to attend a news conference by my own government was with the assistance of a foreign government.
It happened in the summer, too, when Ms. Freeland co-hosted a media freedom conference in London along with her then-British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt.
There, Ms. Freeland gave a speech and invited journalists to a question-and-answer session. But her staff singled out two of the seven reporters who showed up and told them they would not be welcome.
There just wasn’t enough room for all seven, they said. The Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC, Global TV and Al Jazeera could come. But the two conservative reporters could not – Andrew Lawton, the former Sun newspaper columnist who now writes for True North Canada; and Sheila Gunn Reid, a reporter for my company, Rebel News.
Mr. Lawton and Ms. Gunn Reid had been accredited by the British government, which organized the conference. Both had crowdfunded their travel from Canada. It was literally a conference about media freedom. But not for journalists with the wrong politics.
The other journalists waiting to talk with Ms. Freeland – including the Al Jazeera reporter – were stunned by her attempt to de-platform Mr. Lawton and Ms. Gunn Reid. And to their credit, they refused to attend the news conference without them.
Faced with a boycott, Ms. Freeland blinked and grudgingly allowed some media freedom at the media freedom conference. Ms. Gunn Reid got to ask her questions. Why had Ms. Freeland asked the UN to ban Ms. Gunn Reid from their conferences? Why had the Liberals refused to respond to her Access to Information requests?
Ms. Freeland’s answer was shocking, especially in juxtaposition to what she had just said in her official speech: “We all need to defend our independent press – even, and perhaps especially, when it criticizes us.”
That’s the script she read when she was onstage with celebrities such as Amal Clooney. But when it was just Canadian reporters, Ms. Freeland let the mask slip.
“You are here asking me a question, and that’s my choice and my decision,” she said. In fact, her choice had been to exclude Ms. Gunn Reid. But do press freedoms really require her permission?
“I do also think that it is important for governments, for countries, for multilateral organizations to be thoughtful about media organizations that are truly independent and truly impartial,” she continued.
Ms. Freeland didn’t explain that accusation. She had no problem inviting Al Jazeera, the state broadcaster of Qatar. Later that day, she privately welcomed the Foreign Minister of Pakistan to the conference – one of the most brutal censors in the world.
Ms. Freeland did not reject censoring journalists. She justified it, if it was “thoughtful.” She ended by accusing Rebel News of being white supremacists.
It’s standard now.
Indeed, the Parliamentary Press Gallery – the reporters’ guild that controls access to many media conferences – has banned us without notice, explanation or any appeal. China’s state broadcaster, Xinhua, is a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. But we’re banned.
Not everyone appreciates our point of view. But we clearly speak to many Canadians. Our reporters have been accredited by governments around the world, in places such as Sweden, the Netherlands and India, and even in partly free countries such as Iraq and Morocco. Only Canada has banned us.
I’m not surprised the Liberals don’t like us. We ask prickly questions. But that’s part of our democratic system. If you need help understanding the problem, imagine if former prime minister Stephen Harper had banned liberal journalists from his government events.
Ms. Freeland’s conduct is remarkable given her former career as a journalist.
Liberals need to know how freedom of the press works – it’s a gift you have to give to your opponents, if you want it for yourself.
Thank you, CBC. I can’t believe I’m writing those words, but I mean it. — Ezra Levant
|Did you know that Sheila Gunn Reid and I were at a media freedom conference in London, England?
It was a remarkable experience because it was co-sponsored by the Canadian and U.K. governments. Governments and freedoms don’t mix at the best of times. But the U.K. and Canada are particularly censorious these days.
But there were some amazing moments. Not only did Sheila find herself in an alliance with CBC and CTV against Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, but I had a chance to confront Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
You can watch all our videos at MediaFreedomConference.com.
But here’s a quick selection of my favourite videos from the week:
Twitter has been warning users around the world that their tweets were violating Pakistani law. This has been going on since last year (at least), and it even happened to me!
That’s why I took my chance to challenge Pakistan’s Foreign Minister on this issue.
Click here to watch my video to see this censorious thug’s response.
Sheila Gunn Reid made strange friends and allies at the Defend Media Freedom Conference when a miracle happened after Chrystia Freeland’s staffer announced that only The Rebel and Andrew Lawton would not be allowed to attend a scrum.
Mainstream media journalists from outlets including the CBC, CTV and The Globe and Mail all refused to attend the event unless Sheila and Andrew were allowed, too.
To my surprise, I was invited to be part of a panel of young journalists!
I’m really not that young anymore, but I was happy to participate.
As you can see in my video, the younger reporters weren’t as dedicated to free speech as I am.
I hope you enjoyed these videos, you can watch all our reports from inside the Defend Media Freedom Conference, at MediaFreedomConference.com.
P.S. We were the only independent media organization at this conference — everybody else was demanding subsidies or censorship. So we need your help to hold our politicians accountable because if we don’t do it, no-one else will.
UN official admits there is NO LEGAL DEFINITION of “hate speech”
Liberals attack Facebook — for not censoring enough!