The News Rundown
- This week in the Alberta legislature the opposition NDP put forward a motion to have the government condemn the Alberta independence movement.
- Wexit/AIP background
- Meaning of a motion: Purely symbolic
- UCP moved the motion to the bottom of the order paper meaning it won’t see a vote.
- UCP MLA Drew Barnes encouraged the vote to come forward as he’s been one of the most outspoken regarding the independence movement.
- Rachel Notley accused the Premier of not standing for a united Canada.
- What the former Premier is missing though is that the founding document of the UCP and the constitution of the UCP says that members of the party support a united Canada.
- Discussing ideas in the legislature should not be frowned upon whether it be independence, private health care, or firearms legislation.
- The entire independence movement at this point is predicated upon Alberta not receiving fair treatment from the federal government despite paying billions over the last 6 decades to the federal treasury by way of income taxes.
- The NDP wants the independence movement to flourish because it increases their chances for re-election in 2023.
- What all Albertans need to focus on is ensuring that despite whatever aspirations for independence we may have, we do not provide a pathway to government for the NDP in 2023.
- And who’s the biggest agitator of this aside from Rachel Notley?
- Justin Trudeau of course.
- While appearing on a 630 CHED radio show Trudeau said that the Alberta government is responsible for “fanning the flames of political division.”
- He pointed to his government's single use plastics ban which goes against what the Alberta government is trying to do in terms of becoming the biggest plastics recycler on the continent.
- In addition to that Alberta would also become a bigger plastics manufacturer relying on recycled plastics to reduce emissions and cut down on waste.
- When the plastics ban was announced the Alberta energy minister told the Prime Minister to stay in his own lane and respect his constitutional bounds.
- Sonya Savage also rightly pointed out that most of the plastics being recycled that Alberta would turn into other things were going to be manufactured elsewhere.
- There’s also division according to the Prime Minister when it comes to his government’s national COVID-19 contact tracing app.
- Keep in mind that the Alberta app shipped in May and Alberta was the first province to roll out such a system.
- The app was initially unusable for iOS users since they would’ve had to keep their phone open and the app in the foreground but those have been fixed.
- The Alberta app also integrates better into the provinces contact tracing system.
- So why is the federal government so adamant that we use their app to the point of telling Apple and Google initially to not work with the province in updating our app?
- The app has since been updated and works in the background on iOS and Android but does not receive the operating system based COVID-alert apps since the federal government yet again told Apple and Google to not support that feature for the provincial app.
- So you see the problem here?
- It’s not the provincial government throwing up barriers. It’s the federal government. Health is a provincial jurisdiction.
- It’s this same attitude of the Trudeau government that brings independence sentiments forward in Alberta.
- Trudeau and Notley are agitating the independence movement directly by their policies and rhetoric in the house respectively.
- The answer here is to not let Trudeau push Alberta out of Canada but to push Trudeau out of the Prime Minister’s Office at the earliest opportunity and to use this experience to make a Canada that’s great for all Canadians.
- On Aug. 14, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, more than a dozen artists gathered in Bastion Square in Victoria BC to paint messages of support for the movement and raise awareness generally about racial inequality in Canada. With sponsorship from the City of Victoria and local businesses, the words "More Justice More Peace" were painted in large letters on the square.
- The problem with the mural is that inside one of the letters appeared the acronym "ACAB," which stands for "All Cops are Bastards." Victoria police Chief Del Manak, himself a person of colour, says he was made aware of the message and raised his concerns with Victoria's city manager:
- "The inclusion of ACAB is deeply disrespectful to the women and men of the Victoria Police Department. I fully support the spirit behind the mural as I understand it to have been originally presented to the City of Victoria. The Victoria Police Department, and I personally, stand behind the call for “More Justice, More Peace.” Justice is not justice if it does not include all members of society. Excluding one group through harmful words seems counter to the very spirit of the mural itself."
- The mural-painting event was organized by Victoria resident Charity Williams, an Olympic bronze medalist and member of Canada's national women's rugby team. Williams shared a statement on her Instagram page on behalf of two artists involved in creating the offending letters on the mural.
- Under the heading "Why We Say ACAB," artists Kaiya Jacob and Karmella Benedito De Barros say, "If we can say we contributed to the conversation of police abolition here locally with four little letters, then we did our job sure enough. To those looking to vandalise our work, we are not willing to compromise our art for your comfort."
- The City of Victoria did not take any immediate action to change the mural, and instead met with the artists and the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island to discuss the phrase.
- During the Oct. 16 committee meeting, Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe brought the motion forward, seconded by Coun. Geoff Young, asking the council to facilitate further dialogue among the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island, the artists, staff and the police while removing the acronym at the earliest possible opportunity. Council had received a letter from the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island – one of the main sponsors – expressing their discomfort with the acronym, expressing that they could not condone that message: "While we stand behind the 'More Justice, More Peace' sentiment we do not condone the offensive ACAB acronym," it said in a statement.
- The city provided an arts grant to the association and the artists to complete the mural. The Victoria program provides grants between $500 and $5,000 for public projects.
- The acronym is "not in the spirit of the city's guidelines for art in public spaces," said city spokesman Sheldon Johnson.
- The association's statement said despite the acronym, its presence has fuelled important conversations: "Unfortunately, this has happened in a divisive manner at the expense of the community. The mural itself is impactful and whatever the outcome, we are glad that the mural will inspire, teach, provoke conversations and contribute to ongoing dialogue about systemic racism."
- After 2 months of dialogue, the artists, city and police came to an agreement to remove the ACAB acronym from the mural.
- Earlier this week, the artist collective who created the mural came to an agreement with the City of Victoria to paint over the letter S.
- The artists replaced the letter with a black oval bearing the image of a feather and the message “This letter has been censored by the City of Victoria, influenced by the Victoria Police Department. In doing so, Victoria is contributing to the silencing of Black and Indigenous voices and experiences across this land.”
- Charity Williams posted on social media saying that the removal of ACAB from the mural and conversations that preceded it with the city were a step forward for the community: “Today, the artist collective have come to an arrangement to alter this mural. This is in no way a concession, rather a way forward. A commitment to hold those in power accountable. Because even in this process, there were lessons learned.”
- The City of Victoria, who helped sponsor the mural’s creation in August, says that the art piece will continue to be a reflection of the challenges that BIPOC community members face in Canada.
- “While the mural in Bastion Square will be changing, it will remain an honest representation of the artists’ experience,” said city manager Jocelyn Jenkyns in a statement Wednesday.
- “I want to acknowledge the feelings that have been expressed on all sides of this issue. The city is committed to supporting artists and public art. The 17 BIPOC artists who created the More Justice, More Peace mural have sparked an important conversation about systemic racism and discrimination in our city and in our country.”
- In a statement, police chief Del Manak criticized the modification “as offensive, if not more so, than the original anti-police rhetoric.”
- Just a day later, a man on a motorcycle painted over the new message with black spray paint and sped away. Police are still looking for the vandal.
- It's clear that there is a discussion still to be had, but bad faith actors trying to demean the work of good people trying to bridge the gaps in our society and bring people together should be condemned. That includes both the vandal of the mural, the artists who wrote ACAB, a knowingly divisive acronym, into the mural, and the City of Victoria for approving a divisive message into the mural. Clearly on ending systemic racism in our society there are many more discussions and work to be done.
- Next year Canada aims to bring in 401,000 new permanent residents, which is up from about 260,000 5 years ago.
- And between 2021 and 2023 the goal is to admit 1.2 million new permanent residents.
- Whether or not this actually happens due to the pandemic is a big question but we have to ask what are the motivations?
- As per usual the parliament has been vague. There were no targets listed in parliament for the various categories except the low and high markers. The low mark is about 300,000.
- Ask the question: are these immigrants going to benefit us economically? Are they going to be high skilled or low skilled? Are they going to be family members of existing permanent residents or new?
- No one seems to know or be telling us yet and that’s very important for an economy that will be recovering.
- The immigration file is one that’s very important to us as this goes all the way back to the second episode of the podcast with Trudeau’s #WelcometoCanada tweet and subsequent flow of illegal migrants or irregular asylum seekers as the government calls them.
- The immigration file going back to 2015 is something that has been mishandled and has divided our country.
- If you believe the data put forth by the government the number of RCMP interceptions just dropped and it ceased being a problem in April.
- We went from 1,110 in January to 955 in March, then a grand total of 6 people were intercepted in April. 21 in May, 32 in June, 49 in July, 18 in August, and 41 in September.
- As with the number of permanent residents being allowed in, we’re not getting the full story on this.
- Rebel Media paid a visit to Roxham road again.
- The buildings and infrastructure is still there but there’s more to this story.
- The RCMP at the border said that the numbers have dropped down but despite the fact that our official land borders are closed there are still people coming in but not as many.
- The infrastructure even includes a portable hospital according to a CBC radio Canada reporter.
- Following a tip from a local resident, The Rebel went to an area believed to be housing the illegal migrants coming into Canada.
- Upon arrival they found a hotel that had no vacancy with private security guarding an empty parking lot.
- The hotel appeared to be staffed by individuals wearing blue vests with neon safety markings on them who would shut the window shutters when the camera came out.
- 7km east of Roxham road they also found an encampment with trailers, propane heaters, and trucked-in water tankers.
- It appears that despite the government saying only a handful of people were intercepted by the RCMP, there is still very much an operation going on in Quebec.
- Supplementals, watch the full story there.
- This next story has not been covered at all by the mainstream media. When you find out what it is, you'll begin to wonder why.
- The Canadian Forces wants to establish a new organization that will use propaganda and other techniques to try to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of Canadians, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen, who originally broke the story on Monday.
- The plan comes on the heels of the Canadian Forces spending more than $1 million to train public affairs officers on behaviour modification techniques of the same sort used by the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica, as well as a controversial and bizarre propaganda training mission in which the military forged letters from the Nova Scotia government to warn the public that wolves were wandering in the province. Once the letter became public, it sparked appreciable concern among frightened residents of the Annapolis Valley, and was later branded as “fake” by the Nova Scotia government which didn’t even know at the time that it was actually the military.
- The new Defence Strategic Communication group will advance “national interests by using defence activities to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of audiences,” according to the document dated October 2020. Target audiences for such an initiative would be the Canadian public as well as foreign populations in countries where military forces are sent.
- The document is the end result of what Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance has called the “weaponization” of the military’s public affairs branch. The document is in a draft form, but work is already underway on some aspects of the plan and some techniques have been already tested on the Canadian public.
- But the office of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Sunday that the plan, at least for now, is not authorized to proceed. Sajjan has raised concerns about some of the activities related to such influence and propaganda operations. “No such plan has been approved, nor will it be,” Floriane Bonneville, Sajjan’s press secretary, said after being asked by this newspaper about the initiative.
- The initiative also proposes the creation of a new research capability established to analyze and collect information from the social media accounts of Canadians, non-governmental organizations, industry and the news media, according to the report.
- The Canadian Forces have already tested that capability earlier this year. This newspaper reported that a team assigned to a Canadian military intelligence unit monitored and collected information from people’s social media accounts in Ontario, claiming such data-mining was needed to help troops who were to work in long-term care homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
- That initiative, aimed at people’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, involved collecting comments made by the public about the provincial government’s failure to take care of the elderly. That data was then turned over to the Ontario government, with a warning from the team it represented a “negative” reaction from the public.
- Military officers see nothing wrong with such collection of data as it is already in the public domain on social media accounts. They concede the team should not have been assigned to military intelligence, but under the new plan it will be controlled by the military’s public affairs branch.
- But others have questioned how collecting information on the public’s views concerning Ontario Premier Doug Ford was even relevant to how the Canadian Forces were to care for elderly residents. In addition, concerns have also been raised on why the military turned over such data to Ford’s government and what became of it.
- Some in the Canadian Forces already attempted to conduct a trial run of such techniques. In July the military had planned a propaganda campaign aimed at heading off civil disobedience by Canadians during the coronavirus pandemic. That campaign was to use similar propaganda tactics to those employed against the Afghan population during the war in Afghanistan, including loudspeaker trucks to transmit government messages. The propaganda operation was halted after concerns were raised about the ethics behind such techniques.
- Sajjan's attempt to distance himself from this outrageous plan should be noted as well. Sajjan had originally approved the weaponization of the public affairs initiative starting in 2015, along with a separate but significant expansion of military propaganda capabilities for various units. The Liberals outlined in their 2017 defence strategy policy the need for the Canadian military to become more involved in propaganda and information warfare.
- As part of that PR effort, dossiers were created about journalists the military believed would cover the issue of racists in the ranks, including the CBC’s Murray Brewster, who often reports on military and defence issues. The dossier about Brewster, who has since broken a number of stories about the far-right in the Canadian Forces, contained transcripts of his interviews with senior military staff and the warning, “He’s familiar with the defence system, and his reporting, while factual, often emphasizes the mistakes and shortcoming of DND and the CAF.”
- When people hear that the Canadian military is setting up a wing to become more involved in propaganda and information warfare, they would probably think that it's to combat foreign influence in Canada, such as that coming from China, or Russia. They would not think that it would be used on our own citizens to cover up our military's mistakes from reaching the public.
- And our media, upon hearing of this egregious, aggressive advance into journalistic integrity? None of them have reported on the issue. Not the CBC, CTV, Global, National Post, none of them. Only the Post Millennial and Toronto Sun, as well as the original posting in the Ottawa Citizen have covered this. It's disgusting that our own military, supposedly designed to protect Canadians from outside threats, is attempting to turn inward in a blatant invasion of privacy and unwanted propaganda. The fact that the Canadian media has not reported on this issue is no less a travesty.
Word of the Week
Propaganda - information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Propaganda Coverups
Teaser: The Alberta independence debate flares up again, the City of Victoria twice approves divisive messaging in a BLM mural, and illegal migrants are still crossing at Roxham Road. Also, the Canadian military wants to use propaganda on Canadian citizens.
Recorded Date: November 6, 2020
Release Date: November 8, 2020
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes