The News Rundown
- Dominic LeBlanc’s family, friends, and neighbour win 5 of 6 recent judicial appointments
- Dominic Leblanc is the federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trudeau’s childhood friend.
- 5 of 6 recent federal appointments made in New Brunswick include a neighbour, a family relative, and three lawyers who helped wipe away debts from his 2008 Liberal leadership run.
- The Prime Minister said, "We are fully confident that the process — the transparent merit-based process that we’ve put in place is the right one and we stand by it.”
- This process is far from merit based.
- The group Democracy Watch called for an investigation in a 10 page letter sent to Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion.
- Moncton lawyer Robert M. Drysart and Saint John lawyer Arthur T. Doyle were named to the trial division of the Court of Queen’s bench.
- Both donated to LeBlanc’s riding association even though Doyle lives 100km away from Leblanc’s riding of Beauséjour.
- Charles LeBlond was appointed as a judge of the New Brunswick Court of Appeal in March and helped pay away LeBlanc’s leadership debt.
- Jacques Pinet also helped LeBlanc with leadership debts and is married to Justice Tracey Deware who was named Chief Justice of New Brunswick’s Court of Queen’s Bench trial division in early June.
- And finally, Moncton family lawyer Marie-Claude Belanger-Richard is married to LeBlanc’s brother-in-law was picked to fill a judicial vacancy in Saint John.
- The CBC article painted this as common in New Brunswick talking to professor Erin Cradall at Acadia university who said it still happens but isn’t as prevalent as 50 years ago.
- The CBC also highlights that patronage appointments in New Brunswick are far from rare citing a 2010 study that 77% of appointments were patronage appointments.
- This does not get Trudeau and company off the hook.
- As detailed before on the podcast this doesn’t only happen in New Brunswick. The federal Liberals have cross referenced donor and supporter lists when looking at provincial and supreme court nominations. We talked about this on episode 116.
- There’s a fall election, the deck is being filled just in case the Liberals lose.
- Justin Trudeau, Dominic LeBlanc, David Lametti, and Bill Morneau are just a few of the names of the current Liberal government that have had trouble with the ethics commissioner.
- Justin Trudeau’s father was instrumental in patriating the Canadian Constitution in 1982. Justin Trudeau has eroded the federation that Canada is and was prior to 2015. He has stoked western alienation by targeting one sector in one province. He has faced ethics questions about his own physical conduct in the house and in taking private vacations with the Aga Khan (a spiritual leader) And he has trampled over a world renowned justice system by enabling these patronage appointments and firing ministers who stood up for the rule of law.
- This while trying to tangle with China, a country with none of these benchmarks.
- It is worth noting that these appointments took place after Jody Wilson-Raybould left the portfolio of Minister of Justice.
- For this BC story, we're going to head local again, since news province wide has been pretty quiet, unless you consider the BC government sending out surveys on whether we should switch to year round daylight savings time.
- This past week a story was originated on Facebook, which should already make people skeptical. I saw it there first, and chuckled a bit about how absurd it sounded, but it got shared around many different BC groups and got picked up by all local outlets as well as some national ones! So I figured it was one that I just had to cover on the show today.
- On Facebook, a First Nations carver and artist called Richard Hunt shared a photo of the Royal BC Museum's Gift Shop, located in the heart of downtown Victoria. In the photo were First Nations themed artwork, including carvings on display in the museum gift shop. The Kwaquitl artist captioned the picture with "Fake First Nations culture being sold at the royal B c museum. Reconciliation ha!"
- Demonstrating the extreme virality of outrage culture and the power of social media, Hunt's Facebook post garnered a lot of “likes” and was widely shared, leading to many be upset over the supposed "fake art" being sold in one of the province's most visited tourist attractions.
- Here's the thing though. Anyone going into the gift shop can actually go up to the art in question, and in most cases there will be a sticker or a sign saying exactly which artist worked on the art. I've personally been in the gift shop myself many times over the years I've lived in Victoria, and I know that unlike many gift shops around North America, the museum strives to always give artist credit.
- Spokespeople for the museum and the Royal BC Museum Foundation, which runs the gift shop, said Tuesday that all of the Indigenous artworks sold in the shop – including those pictured in Hunt's photo – are authentic.
- Museum executive director Cristi Main said in an interview that "The artwork that he is portraying to be fake is, in fact, not fake. If we can't trace back the provenance on a reproduction piece, then we simply don’t carry it."
- Despite the clarification, the museum shop is now undertaking an audit to make sure its past and current arrangements with Indigenous artists have not changed. The audit, she added, is meant to ensure the shop's agreements with specific artists have not changed and that compensation for sales of the artworks still flows to the artists.
- "We will now be undertaking an audit of sorts to go back to objects that we've carried for a long time to ensure that they are all authentic as well," Main said. "They were [authentic] when we purchased them but has anything changed in that time?"
- Christa Cato, who looks after all acquisitions for the museum shop, says the gift shop has had a policy in place for years to ensure it isn't peddling in art that is purported to be made by Indigenous artists but is not.
- "All of those pieces, the artist has approved the use of their design for that item and they are being compensated for the use of their design for their artwork as well," Cato said of the artworks Hunt called out as fake. All of those reproductions have a B.C. Indigenous artist attached to them. So it's either a reproduction of a piece that they have done or it is a reproduction featuring their design."
- To Hunt's credit, he did learn of the royalties Tuesday, more than a week after the Facebook post, after speaking to a Haida artist. He said he was pleased to find out that Indigenous artists are profiting from the sales, adding that when he shared the post he was frustrated seeing artwork he believes was not created by Indigenous artists being sold in Victoria’s downtown.
- On Wednesday he deleted his original post, and posted an apology stating "I didn’t know the power of Facebook and I should have checked my facts before posting the post that I did about the fake artwork in the Royal BC Museum. For this I am sorry. The good news is that the artists are given a small royalty for the reproduction of their work."
- Honestly that's more than most who perpetuate fake news on social media do, and we should credit Hunt for raising an issue that he feels is important albeit going about it the wrong way. At least when he found out he was wrong he tried to make it right.
- This whole story serves as a caution for social media and the power of outrage culture. Whether a story is correct or not has little bearing on the virality of a post, and things that are factually wrong can turn into nationwide news stories raising the ire of thousands and even millions. As readers of the news it's vital that we look at all sides of a story and critically think about a story and its possible impact. It's important to have the context of a story to know how it affects us, and that's why we're here doing this story this week.
- The media was focusing on the opposition NDPs filibuster to Bill 8 allowing parents to be notified in exceptional circumstances if their child has joined a GSA at school.
- The spring session ended with a 46 hour sitting day due to the filibuster capping off the UCP’s first sitting in the house as government.
- The “summer of repeal” as it’s been called repealed the carbon tax, cut corporate tax rates, rolled back some of the NDP’s farm safety legislations, restored the secret ballot for unions, and set in motion a plan to reduce red tape for businesses.
- As a result of Bill C–48 and C–69 passing federally the UCP government also introduced Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act, and passed it through third reading.
- Albertans will be voting for senators with the 2021 municipal ballot.
- It is also worth noting that NDP MLA Richard Feehan’s private member’s Bill 203, An Act to Protect Public Health Care passed first reading.
- The main story though this week is that Alberta has unveiled its next steps in the “fight back strategy” against foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns.
- Steve Allan a forensic and restructuring accountant will be commissioner for the public inquiry that has been launched with the goal of submitting a final report to the government by July 2, 2020.
- First the commissioner will conduct an information review, interview witnesses and conduct research.
- After this the commissioner will hold a public hearing if deemed necessary.
- Premier Jason Kenney said, “This misinformation has been allowed to defame Alberta for far too long. It has seen foreign special interests secretively spending tens of millions of dollars to thwart Alberta’s economic development by landlocking our energy – but it stops now.”
- The inquiry will have a budget of $2.5m.
- The inquiry will look into the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the Sea Change Foundation amongst others.
- Tzeporah Berman who was once on the former governments oil sands advisory group called the inquiry a “witch hunt”. She’s already found the witch and doesn’t need to look further than her nose.
- She has been involved in the Tar Sands Campaign against oilsands expansion.
- Meanwhile the CBC questioned whether it would limit free speech of third party groups and Keith Stewart with Greenpeace Canada called it a “show trial” saying, “It’s basically kind of a show trial to try and intimidate critics and people concerned about climate change into silence.”
- If anything Greenpeace attempts to intimidate their targets by disrupting events, disrupting work sites, and defacing property such as the Calgary tower.
- Greenpeace is an organization that despite their purported interest in climate seeks to turn up the volume and make noise just like the US President likes doing except the media doesn’t cover Greenpeace for what they actually are.
- If the media has problems with President Trump they should have problems with Greenpeace.
- The media coverage highlighting those with opposition to the inquiry has distorted what the goal of the actual inquiry: an investigation to see if foreign money is meddling in Albertan affairs.
- Any province or region should want to control its own affairs and ensure there is no foreign meddling. This should have been the focus of the story and will hopefully be the focus of the inquiry.
- While my BC story this week focused on the dangers of spreading fake news on social media, this upcoming story is an even worse example of that. This upcoming story isn't being propagated by ordinary Canadians on social media, but by the top dog of information in Canada, and that is our publically taxpayer funding media broadcasting corporation, the CBC.
- The CBC has a kids' section of their website, to go along with their television station aimed at preteens and young teenagers. On their website, CBC Kids has news articles that the CBC feels kids should be aware of. Many of them are deeply controversial and politically charged. As this weekend marks the beginning of the Calgary Stampede, CBC has decided to inform kids across the nation of this story, with an article titled "Should the Calgary Stampede ban animal events?".
- Scrolling through the website you can see other stories that CBC has deemed important for young children to know about, ranging from insipid topics such as "Highlights from the BET awards" and "Are Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus creating the song of the summer?", to more politically controversial ones like "What do Climate Strikers want?" and "Shameful or Great? Kids react to Canada's new pipeline project." and "Teen speaks out against Quebec ban on religious symbols".
- But probably the most controversial one of all is the headline that reads "Kid drag queens sashay their way into the spotlight". Umm what? Kid drag queens? On the CBC kids section?
- Yes, that's right. It's one thing to peddle leftist political propaganda, it's another thing altogether to promote something that is little more than child abuse.
- On July 4th the CBC decided to promote their new documentary "Drag Kids" by posting an article on the CBC Kids website, and it's honestly horrifying to look at. In the article, according to the CBC, "we get a glimpse into the glamorous lives of four of these dreamers — also known as kid drag queens — as they meet other drag kids for the first time."
- These 4 kids are just aged 9, 10, 11, and 12. They aren't even teenagers yet, and haven't even gone through puberty, yet their parents and the CBC are encouraging this behaviour.
- In the write-up for video, the CBC explains to the viewer that “as an art form, drag has always been about breaking down barriers, exploring new territory and daring to do the unexpected.”
- Some roads are best left untravelled. CBC has decided not just to walk down this path, but indeed to trailblaze as it attempts to spearhead the normalization of drag kids into popular culture, saying that “A new type of queen is emerging on the scene: she’s fierce, she’s living in a time of unprecedented access to queer culture and she’s younger than ever before,” writes the CBC, framing the video as if it isn’t something totally insane.
- The concerns surrounding drag queens are obvious. Drag, as an art form, has always had very sexual elements in it. But those involved in the art form believe they are doing what’s right for their children, allowing them to express themselves. One parent in the documentary trailer attempts to clear the record by saying that as parents, they aren’t “child abusers” and they aren’t sexualizing their kids.
- In the documentary, the young boys are shown being interviewed. While the interview is going on, each of the 4 dances in the background in little more than what could be considered a strip club routine. On one of the boys' Instagram's, the drag kid is on a stage at a gay club, dressed up as Gwen Stefani, and accepting bills just like a stripper would as the drag kid gyrates around in revealing clothing.
- That same drag kid appeared on an LGBT YouTube show, probably unaware that the host he's sitting next to was convicted after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter of a child member of a New York LGBT culture group.
- To top it all off, the show is hosted in front of a painting which says the word “rohypnol” on it. For those unaware, rohypnol is a tranquillizer about ten times more potent than Valium. It is frequently used as a date rape drug that is “illegal to manufacture, sell, use or be in possession of” in the U.S. and Canada.
- How is any of this acceptable? On one hand you have the parents saying that they're just letting their kids "express themselves" but by encouraging it, it's little more than child abuse. Two of the drag kids cited their parent's watching RuPaul's show "Drag Race" as a reason as to why they got interested in Drag.
- One of the kids cites his personal hero as being a drag queen called Alaska. Even the CBC couldn't print "Alaska"'s full drag name, that being Alaska Thunder-'f word'. How is someone with a swear in their nickname in any way a good role model for a 10 year old?
- In the news, there are multiple cases of adult drag queens being exposed as pedophiles with histories of child sexual assault. One admitted that he was trying to normalize LGBT culture to kids as a form of grooming.
- With the full-length documentary set to be released towards the end of July, this doesn’t appear to be the last time we’ll be hearing about child Drag Queens.
- The world of drag is unequivocally linked to sexuality. Drag, as an art form, is a parody of sexuality. Do children really have the ability to grasp the connotations of human sexuality in drag in the first place? Or is this more a game of dress-up for them, akin to Halloween?
- In the same way that Halloween allows us to laugh in the face of death and fear, drag allows us to spoof just how odd and embarrassing sexuality really is. That’s what makes separating sexuality from drag impossible, and that is precisely why kids should not participate in it.
- Also, normalizing this behaviour in prepubescent kids should not be ok, and it's disgusting that the CBC wants to spend our tax dollars peddling this dangerous ideology, and to the nations kids nonetheless. This story should have received much more media attention than it did, just to show exactly what the CBC is trying to promote.
Word of the Week
Abuse - the improper use of something, cruel treatment of a person or animal.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Popping the Media Balloon
Teaser: Trudeau scraps merit based appointments in favour of his friends, a viral Facebook post about commercialized First Nations art is false, and the Alberta government is combating foreign influences. Also, the CBC tries to normalize drag queens to children.
Recorded Date: July 6, 2019
Release Date: July 7, 2019
Edit Notes: Oilseeds
Podcast Summary Notes