02.23.2016 01:09 AM

In this week’s Hill Times: Ezra, the Rebels and me

It being Lent and all, I was canvassing Scripture and – bear with me here – I was reminded of Ezra Levant and his Rebels.

Rona Ambrose may think she is the Leader of the Opposition, but she isn’t. Ezra is. As a lawyer, a political assistant, a magazine publisher, a newspaper columnist, a TV talk-show host, Ezra has always done one thing: get under the skin of the purportedly progressive establishment. If you are a Liberal, a New Democrat, or a “Progressive” Conservative – if you work for the CBC or the Toronto Star or a government – the chances are pretty good that Ezra has taken a run at you. He’s good at it.

Over the years, Ezra and I have (briefly) been friends, and we have (mostly) hated each other’s guts. He’s sued me, I’ve sued him. He’s gone after me professionally, I’ve done likewise. It’s been nasty.

In 2011, however, our mutual friend Kory Teneycke was starting up Sun News Network, and he wanted us on it. But not if Ezra and I were going to keep fighting with each other. So we agreed to stop fighting. We didn’t become besties and start hanging out together, naturally, but we laid down our arms. He did his thing, I did mine.

Now, this is where the Bible stuff comes in. Pay attention.

On two occasions, I have tried to be a good Catholic, and I have come to Ezra’s defence. Almost exactly three years ago, then, Ezra went on TV and said various horrible things about the Roma people. Or, as he called them, gypsies. Among other things, he said the Roma “a culture synonymous with swindlers…one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging.” He went on like that for a while.

Now, I’m married to a person who is Roma. I’m not neutral on the subject. But when I learned that the Attorney-General of Ontario was getting close to having Ezra (and likely Kory) charged criminally – for on-air promotion of hatred against an identifiable group – I intervened. Instead of being on Spring Break vacation with my wife and kids, I spent hours on the telephone trying to calm the waters. And get Ezra to apologize on-air. Which, eventually, he and Sun News did. No charges laid, Ezra doesn’t go to jail.

Fast-forward three years, to example number two. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley takes leave of her senses, and decides she is going to pick a fight with Ezra and his Rebel TV online start-up thing. She is going to bar him and his ersatz rebellion from press conferences.

Now, Ezra likes to call guys like me “the Media Party.” He says, over and over, that most of Canada’s journalists and editors aren’t media – they’re an actual lefty political party, conspiring to impose a One World Latte Government. Human rights commissions, political correctness, Volvos, month-long Sean Penn film festivals. The Media Party, in other words.

Well, guess what? When socialist overlord Rachel Notley made her dumb decision, guess who rallied to the defence of Ezra and the Rebel TV gang? Yep. Me. On my web site, on Twitter, on Facebook, in various media interviews, I angrily said that governments shouldn’t ever decide who is a journalist – and that they should leave Ezra and Co. alone. After a day so of this, the Alberta NDP executed a whiplash-inducing reversal. Ezra would be allowed in.

At this point, you are probably wondering (a) why I kicked off this column with the Biblical references and (b) why I went to the wall for Ezra et al.

Well, on the latter point, I’m kind of wondering the same thing myself. Here’s why.

Ontario’s now-former Ombudsman, Andre Marin, doesn’t like me.

There’s a reason for that. In the past, I’ve been pretty critical of Marin because I thought he was a vain, thin-skinned bully. Because I thought he didn’t act like a representative of the Legislature, he acted like a six-year-old with a bad temper. Because Marin and his senior team have been the subject of several human rights complaints, all settled with secrecy agreements. Because he used public money to buy himself wide-screen TVs for his home and body wash and whatnot. Because he has given contracts worth a quarter million dollars to a friend. And because he – a quasi-judicial officer of the Legislature, with more power than any judge or MPP – repeatedly acted like a child on social media.

After I voiced those criticisms, Marin went after me at the Law Society of Upper Canada. I’m a lawyer, and Marin and his acolytes apparently want me disbarred. For being, you know, critical of Andre Marin.

Because Marin’s gang are using taxpayer resources to get me disbarred, and because I’m fighting them off all on my lonesome, I have reluctantly asked for help. Some folks have made donations to a puny legal defence fund, and some have spoken up on my behalf. I’m grateful to them.

But from Ezra and the Rebels – the ones who, you know, talk about the importance of free speech all the time? The ones who I have gone to the proverbial wall to defend?

Nada. Zero, zippo, zilch. Not a peep. They refuse to say a word – a single word – in the Marin v. Kinsella battle, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Notley v. Levant battle.

Which leads me to my Biblical analogy, and to my conclusion.

The Rebel folks demand crucifixion. And, when they get it, they always complain about the view.

And, if you’re up there as well, being crucified with them?

Well, too bad, so sad. You’re the Media Party.


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    the salamander horde says:

    .. altruism .. is its own reward ..

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    Cory says:

    If I’m not mistaken Brian Lilley did sent out some supportive Tweets.

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    Phil says:


    I just had a look at your Paypal “donate” link.

    Paying by credit card through Paypal is configured as $US.

    Last time I looked @ this (a while ago) Paypal charges a rather large currency conversion rate when a credit card is used.

    Am I missing something.


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      Warren says:

      I actually do not know

      Will check Phil

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    Tired of it All says:

    Your grace will be rewarded, one day. Just not from Mr. Levant.

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    DKL says:

    Too bad you intervened over Levant’s Roma comments. “Apology” notwithstanding he was completely unrepentant over comments that are the cloest anyone in Canadian TV has ever come to Der Sturmer. He deserved to be prosecuted for hate speech.

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    Sean says:

    Seems more like the story of the Scorpion and the Frog rather than anything biblical.

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    julian says:

    well said, warren.

    the politics of selfishness trump [pun intended] morality, while still pretending to be the politics of morality.

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    nobonus4nonis says:

    god help Ezra if he ever crosses one of the “Peaky Blinders.”

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    astrid says:

    At least Marin is not being a hypocrite, unlike Levant!

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    patrick says:

    The Orwellian “Rebels” are asinine, lying, fraudulent corporate turds who are the vulgar end of the neoliberal dogma that is espoused by all corporate media. There is no debate of for or against the current neoliberalism, just a discussion of much of a Ayn Rand world should we live in. The “Rebels” are without cause and are the ball lickers and polishers to the wealthy.
    You should have let Ezra rot in jail.

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    Tim Sullivan says:

    Warren, you’re an idiot to think Ezra is principled or that he stands for anything, or something. He’s a contrarian but not in a good way. He’ll take the opportunity to slam whomever, whenever, so long as it gets hisself some publicity, some ink.

    He is not respected nor is he respectable. He is a terrible writer, a bigot, a thug. He is shameful but without shame.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. As a pretty conservative friend of mine once said to his mother in response to her query why he had so many ‘liberal’ (or was it lefty?) friends, his response was: “they are nicer people than we are.”

    He probably even thinks this site is a blog.

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    Danni says:

    And in other breaking news, cow goes ‘moo.’

    What’s your point? Levant is a douchebag? You’re right and Marin is wrong? You are a Born Again Bible thumper? Snap out of it man!

    I think this is a distraction from your problem at hand, Marin’s attack on you. And don’t flinch, and get all Good Samaritaney on him, because he won’t. He only has his war with you now as his only means of public redemption (in his worldview):


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      Yul says:

      RE “And don’t flinch, and get all Good Samaritaney on him, because he won’t. He only has his war with you now as his only means of public redemption (in his worldview).”

      Warren, I agree with Danni %100. I am staff that lived under the regime of Andre Marin at the OO and I helped more than a few fellow staff through their nightmares. The biggest problem we had by far in keeping staff on track to follow through on their complaints, was the fact that staff were rational, honest and acted in good faith. So whenever OO management showed them the slightest bit of rationality, compromise or reprieve (esp after grinding them down), staff members with complaints would take management at their word and….in other words, they would blink. And BAM! That is when the blade dropped for a clan cutoff at the neck.

      In my experience with Marin and his OO people, this was Marin’s specific style. I can also add, that in my opinion, Marin is not a smart man and he will always act out of vengeance or rage over rationality or strategy. The good news is that he is predictable and given enough rope, will hang himself due to his nature…as has been shown via Twitter over the last couple years. So this also means, as Danni said, “don’t flinch.” If you do, he will strike; but if you match him hit for hit and do not back down, you can count on his screwing himself. So keep up the pressure, you are stronger than he is and you have more public support than he does.

      PS I have heard that Marin’s LSUC complaint against you has caused major stress for his management team he left behind. The more public this becomes, it is likely it becomes increasingly more diffucult for their individual careers.

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        Warren says:

        I’ve brought complaints against them, too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

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          Tenko says:

          Yeah-but you should use the thing going around right now about Marin’s “private” viewing habits. He would use it if he had it in a NY minute. Could seriously to the balance or at least expose serious hypocrisy.

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            Warren says:

            What he does at approximately 2 AM on January 26, 2016 at what I hope is not a University of Ottawa computer is his private business.

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            Tenko says:

            And that’s why you are the superior man.

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            Yul says:

            Ok… wow… I found what you are talking about. Wow… how can anyone be that stupid? If your law society hearing is public…. Going to try and scrub my eyeballs clean now.

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    Iris Mclean says:

    I wouldn’t want a weasel like Levant on my side in any conflict.

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    Ron says:

    I enjoyed Oscar Levant interviews. Ezra not so much.


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