The (Right) News Rundown
- Remember back on Episode 29 where we did our federal NDP Leadership race special, and both of us mentioned that none of the candidates are getting any coverage in the media? It appears that thanks to a heckler, Jagmeet Singh has been in the media a lot recently.
- Singh was speaking at an event in Brampton Ontario meant to introduce himself and his policies that he and his campaign called a "Jagmeet and Greet", and I personally have to take a moment to admire that pun. It's pretty great.
- Just as he was about to start speaking, a woman got up right in Singh's face and started yelling at him about how Singh was apparently wanting to impose Shariah law in Canada, and was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. As Singh's aides tried to usher the woman away, she yelled at them as well, saying she would "contact the police immediately" if anyone touched her. It's clear that the heckler was trying to get a reaction out of Singh.
- But Singh told the protester that everyone in the room supported her and believed in her rights. She tried to assert that he supports intolerance and sharia law; he exploded the claim by extending patience and compassion. Singh emerged with reputation enhanced, and is getting a lot of praise from the media for his response.
- The exchange was caught on video and lasted more than four minutes. It later blew up all over social media with many condemning the heckler.
- What many in the media are noting is that the heckler misidentified that Singh is Sikh, and that it's important to note in day to day life that Sikhs are not Muslims. Just because Singh wears a turban and a long beard does not mean he is a Muslim, of course, but as Singh notes, "Many people have commented that I could have just said I'm not Muslim. In fact, many have clarified that I'm actually Sikh. While I'm proud of who I am, I purposely didn't go down that road because it suggests their hate would be OK if I was Muslim."
- The heckler was later identified as Jennifer Bush, and in an interview with Rebel Media's David Menzies, explained that she was "encouraged to ask questions" and that she said she wanted to ask "why he continually votes in favour of Sharia, opposing the Niqab ban, M103, these kinds of things". The clearly high energy Jennifer Bush mentions that the clip cuts out where she got up and calmly asked about M103 and Singh refused to answer, and that it cuts to right when she was "getting hysterical". She mentioned that the reason for questioning him was because he was Sikh and apparently voting in favour of what she calls "Islamic legislation".
- Admittedly, this is a pretty crazy story, and it's interesting how the media has covered it. The Rebel went to the other side to get Bush's side of the story, whereas all other media outlets just took quotes from Singh. Personally, I think that while Bush might have had good intentions initially, she definitely crossed the line in trying to get her point across, as now a lot more people are talking about Singh because of his skin colour and religion rather than his policies. As I mentioned before, if you want those, check out Episode 29.
- UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean told the Old Sands Trade Show & Conference in Fort McMurray that Rachel Notley wants to “close down the oilsands.”
- This then later spurred Satoshi Abe, president of Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd (JACOS). to say that he supports the carbon tax. He said, "I think, not only for us, but all energy companies know that we have to address the concerns of climate change. I would like the government to take the leadership on that."
- What this story does not go into is that the carbon tax is felt by many more everyday Albertans rather than companies. That’s simple math and common sense. There are more Albertans feeling the burden of the carbon tax rather than there are oil companies paying their carbon tax.
- Not only do we pay the upfront carbon tax on fuels and electricity but we feel the carbon tax on anything that arrives to us by truck or train. We also feel the carbon tax when we visit any store, they are also paying the carbon tax on fuel and electricity. The price of the carbon tax works its way into almost every aspect of modern life in Alberta.
- It’s very short sighted of the CBC to have a story on climate leadership and the carbon tax without pointing out these cost increases that everyday Albertans are feeling. Also, while JACOS may feel the carbon tax is taking leadership, it doesn’t feel like leadership to Albertans who are paying more for everything in day to day life.
- In other carbon tax related news this week the NDP government has converted a $176m loan that the City of Edmonton took out under the Redford government to a grant. The grant was to be used for southeast LRT expansion, the previously mentioned valley line. This means that the city does not need to pay back the $600m. It’s also rather interesting timing since there is a municipal election going on and under the right circumstances this could be seen as the NDP delving to support the current mayor’s re-election campaign.
- The new BC NDP government is expected to have some hiccups, but the transition to power has not been smooth. During the transition, Horgan's team fired the province's "LNG Advocate", former BC Liberal leader Gordon Wilson. Before we talk about the case, it's important to talk about Gordon Wilson himself.
- Wilson, who is a bit of a political chameleon, was leader from 1987-1993 where he brought the party out of the woods and into the political mainstream as a credible alternative to the NDP and Social Credit. In 1993 he lost to Gordon Campbell in a leadership review after Wilson was found to be having an affair with another Liberal MLA Judi Tyabji who was recently promoted to House Leader. Within weeks, he and Tyabji left the Liberal caucus and formed a new party, the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA), and he was the sole member elected in the 1996 election.
- A few years later in 1999 he shocked everyone by disbanding his party and crossing the floor to sit as an NDP cabinet minister, and he even ran in the NDP leadership race the following year, before losing his seat in Gordon Campbell's Liberal landslide in 2001. For over a decade he was quiet, but after he endorsed Christy Clark and she won the leadership of the BC Liberals in 2013, Wilson ended up going back to the Liberals and became the LNG Advocate which paid him $150,000 a year. So it's hard to really have sympathy for Wilson in his firing, as he's clearly a political opportunist.
- Enter the NDP in 2017, who under the power of a non-confidence vote and propped up by 3 Green MLAs, and the mass firings of old Liberal staffers. Wilson was just one who was fired, but he's received far more attention because of how Premier John Horgan and Jobs Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston fired him.
- Wilson sued last month in a defamation lawsuit after Horgan and Ralston made comments implying that the NDP reviewed Wilson's work as the LNG advocate, and that Wilson did little to earn his money. The review turned up “nothing written by him,” Ralston said, adding: “It’s very difficult to see that he accomplished anything other than to cash his cheques.” Horgan piled on, insisting Wilson produced “no briefings, no reports, no memoranda” during his three-and-a-half years promoting B.C.’s liquefied natural gas sector.
- Just one problem though: Wilson filed more than 180 pages of reports, memos and progress updates to the former Liberal government during his first 15 months on the job alone. The documents can be found with a simple search of the government’s own “Open Information” website, where the records were posted two years ago after (ironically) they were requested by the NDP under freedom-of-information law. It's clear that if the NDP did their own review of Wilson, they would have easily found all the work that he did.
- Wilson’s lawsuit claims Horgan and Ralston “undertook a campaign to destroy the plaintiff’s reputation” adding: “The defamatory words uttered by the defendants were made out of malice.” Horgan and Ralston both apologized to Wilson, but Wilson sued for $5 million anyway.
- And now, Horgan and Ralston are both asking B.C. taxpayers to pay their legal bills in a $5-million libel lawsuit. Horgan and Ralston confirmed on Wednesday that they have filed “indemnity applications” for taxpayers to pay for two high-priced lawyers to defend them in the case filed by Wilson. Since then, the case has had nothing but biased coverage in the media.
- As Mike Smyth of the Vancouver Province writes, "The legal bills will be huge. And it looks like you’ll pay them, because I have little doubt the indemnity applications will be approved. But the legal bills could be just the first whack to your wallet. Wilson could win big bucks in court, with taxpayers picking up the tab. And if there’s an out-of-court settlement? Sources tell me there are already back-channel talks underway, and you can bet you’ll cough up any loot paid to Wilson. What a disgusting way to treat B.C. taxpayers. It could have been avoided if Horgan and Ralston had just fired Wilson and kept their mouths shut. They had to sling the slime, instead. Now it will cost you."
- That's pretty strong language from a journalist who's supposed to be pretty impartial about the whole thing and reporting just the facts. Many are railing against Smyth for his "biased" article, and lots are actually defending the NDP because of it! If the media would just cover the case properly, it would be very clear who's in the wrong here.
The Firing Line
- This past Monday marked the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks in the US. Most coverage focused on memorials and remembering those lost but Global took it one step further. On September 11th published this story with the title, “What happens when an ISIS member returns to Canada? The story of one Toronto-area man.”
- The story starts off chronicling the Pakistani-Canadian’s journey to Syria for 6 months. He had served in the “morality police” of the ISIS army. He goes through his journey to Syria and his return to Canada through Turkey. He then says, “we all do things we regret.”
- The RCMP say they pay very close attention to these people who return. They want to make sure they won’t seek to radicalize others or continue the fight here in Canada. And rightly so.
- Global News chatted with one of these recruits who was living in, “a spacious house with a satellite dish and a two-car garage and attends a university in the Toronto region.” His identity was kept anonymous because he feared arrest!
- As the story of this fighter is chronicled it gets worrying when he says the Turkish authorities who arrested him on his return from Syria said that he should go to Pakistan because of his former connections there. He stayed in Pakistan for 2 years and came back to Toronto in the summer of 2016. Upon arriving at Pearson airport he went through the usual passport checks with no problem, though he did admit the fact he was in Syria.
- It was only when he posted online that he was a former ISIS member that the national security authorities became interested.
- The article wraps with Hamid Slimi who heads the national security committee of the Canadian Council of Imams said that, “they need support and guidance”. And that they should not be kept isolated. The RCMP told this returnee that he should, “stay focused on school” and if the officer were to come back he would be charged. He likely hasn’t been charged because of lack of evidence.
- There are a number of problems with this story: first and foremost it attempts to humanize those who want to or wanted to disrupt the fabric of western life on September 11th, secondly it raises alarming questions of why someone who was coming into Canada who had been in Syria raised no alarms until he posted on social media, and thirdly, minimizes the potential consequences for any potential recruits wanting to go fight for ISIS.
- This isn’t what’s needed on September 11th nor after the UK has witnessed another terrorist attack just this past Friday.
Word of the Week
showing or feeling no concern for others' feelings: an insensitive remark.
• not sensitive to a physical sensation: she was remarkably insensitive to pain.
• not aware of or able to respond to something: both were in many ways insensitive to painting.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Media Slime and Insensitivity
Teaser: A video of Jagmeet Singh being heckled takes off in the media, an oilsands company defends Notley’s carbon tax, but who’s paying? Also, Horgan’s “slimy” remarks lead to a taxpayer funded lawsuit, lastly, some insensitive articles posted on Sept 11th.
Recorded Date: September 16, 2017
Release Date: September 16, 2017
Edit Notes: Jagmeet singh mic issue.