02.16.2016 04:14 PM

Ten reasons why the Notley government is really stupid to bar Ezra and The Rebel

  1. Ezra lives for this stuff. In a battle with bureaucrats, he always wins. He always has the last word, and his audience is bigger than you think.
  2. Media who dislike Ezra are starting to come to his defence.
  3. Political people who dislike Ezra are starting to come to his defence.
  4. The Notley folks look scared shitless when they pull a stunt like this. Or, worse, like thugs. Same beast.
  5. The Notley folks embraced The Streisand Effect when they kicked out Ezra et al. – so, now everyone wants to hear from Ezra, even those who dislike him.  Well done, Dippers: Martyr-Makers, just add water. Good job!
  6. Governments should have no role – none – in deciding who is media and who isn’t.  Ever.
  7. The Supreme Court of Canada, no less, has held that what Ezra does online – and even little guys like me – enjoys actual, you know, constitutional protection.
  8. Accreditation should be decided by press galleries, not hacks.  In Ottawa, that’s how it works.  And it works just fine.
  9. As Romeo LeBlanc used to say to me: when you’re hunting’ bear, don’t get distracted by rabbit tracks.  The Notley folks should focus on the many big and real problems they have, not the chickenshit puny ones.
  10. I have fought Ezra more than any of you have, or ever will.  We’re not besties.  But on this, he is right.  And you, Premier Notley, are so wrong.

 [About to do Arlene Bynon Show on this subject, on Sirius XM Canada Talks.  Tune in!]


  1. The Doctor says:

    Our tolerant, progressive, social democrats in full bloom.

  2. Fascist-like conduct is not reserved to the right of centre after all.

    • Its the fully spinning left that are the first to shut you up if you might be right with the “nana na na naaaa” chant. This is not unexpected from the NDP. They have never worked anywhere they were in power. Oddly, they also seem to get elected when every thing is going to shit.

      • Jacquie says:

        Perhaps there’s a reason that the NDP’s always end up with all the sh*t…lol. This isn’t NDP country and it never will be. Rachel Notley will be ‘cannonized’ faster than that Redford crooked person was! Woahhh….I’m a female and am somewhat ashamed at these ladies’ lack of finesse, decorum and plain common sense, not to mention compassion, working knowledge of ‘economics’ and the inability to refrain from stomping their foot to get whatever they want. Daddy’s girls? Maybe we should just invite Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie out to run the Province…at least they like publicity…good or bad. lol Can’t wait til Ms. Notley joins Ms. Redford at the gym, quilting club or whatever sandbox they seem to be playing in.

    • jim says:

      Fascist-like conduct is never reserved to the right of centre at all. Fascism and all forms of tyranny are solely the tenets of the left.

      • Derek Pearce says:

        Mmmmhmmmm. So I guess overgeneralization and hyperbole are the sole domain of the right going by your comment?

      • Ian McKerracher says:

        It is completely clear that tyranny has no permanent home at either end of the political spectrum. When Lord Acton suggested that “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” he was talking about the whole of the human experience. You and I are equally subject to the inevitable corruption should we find ourselves in possession of any unaccountable power. It is the nature of the beast and the reason that a wise person would seek to be as accountable as possible.

        • nobonus4nonis says:

          ok WTF is going on. I’ve read seven posts in this thread and still no mention of Hitler or Nazis yet geez louise :0(

  3. Marcel says:

    Anyone should be able to attend government press events and be able to report on same, whatever the media source or size of audience.

  4. dean sherratt says:

    The photograph of the rough looking guy baring the journalist is priceless. One of the few media laws that I have learned is if you look like you are going to put your hand in front of a camera, it is 100% certain to be front-page print…A short taciturn letter from an Alberta government lawyer isn’t going to help her cause at all…

    Now Ezra is an agent provocateur and seems to relish this scenario. In contrast Notley looks exactly like what she is in fact doing…I’ll give very long odds that a reporter for the “Education-worker union newspaper” would be admitted no questions asked…You see both motive and execution or “legally” mens rea and actus reas.

  5. Jeff Adams says:

    Is there a point that journalists can cross, after which they’re banned?

    (I’m not disagreeing with you)


    • Cory says:

      That’s also a private event (in the sense that it’s non-government) and not an official government press conference with a blacklist enforced by agents of the state.

      If this was an NDP party event, no big deal. This was a government press conference however.

  6. Jack D says:

    The ironic part of all this is that the Notley government has inadvertently breathed so much life into Ezra Levant and the Rebel, that barring them from media avails was probably the best thing to happen to them since their inception.

    If Ezra and company are considered journalists (as with writers for the rabble.ca) then I don’t know what journalism is anymore. I always thought they were considered bloggers with a partisan warp, but I guess all journalists are essentially bloggers now. To be honest, I don’t even consider Buzzfeed writers as journalists.

    Nonetheless, hugely stupid mistake by the NDP to do this. Governments should never get to decide who should and shouldn’t get access, and who is and isn’t legitimate. Let their peers decide like they do in Ottawa. This could set a dangerous precedence.

    • Albert Kuyerhuis says:

      “If Ezra and company are considered journalists (as with writers for the rabble.ca) then I don’t know what journalism is anymore. I always thought they were considered bloggers with a partisan warp, but I guess all journalists are essentially bloggers now. To be honest, I don’t even consider Buzzfeed writers as journalists.” – Jack D. are you not echoing Notley’s reasons for banning The Rebel?

      Say what you will, the media in the Western world would be a lot better off with hundreds of Ezras that go places, and ask questions, that virtually nobody else dares. Questions that NEED to be asked! Ezra deserves a Freedom medal from Notley and Jack D, me thinks.

      • Jack D says:

        Wait, what?

        I wasn’t advocating for the expulsion of Ezra by the NDP at all, I don’t know where you got that impression from. Read my comment again; this time thoroughly. Online bloggers like The Rebel, rabble.ca and Buzzfeed are entitled to access to press availabilities, provided their peers in the Press Gallery agree. In Ottawa, for example, the aforementioned are all permitted on this exact basis. Now, you could make an argument as to who is and isn’t referred to as a journalist but no government posses the prerogative to decide who does/doesn’t get access –regardless of reasoning.

        I’m not even going to entertain a response to your medal comment.

  7. Robert White says:

    Rachel Notley seems to have forgotten Alberta history on this point. In 1937, when Premier William Aberhart tried to force newspapers to print government rebuttals of news stories the cabinet said were inaccurate, the Edmonton Journal fought the law and the Journal won. When I worked at the Neighbors section of the Journal in the mid-’80s, I saw the special Pulitzer Prize the Journal won for its defense of the freedom of the press.

    The lesson: let the media decide who’s the media and not the politicians.

  8. Dianne says:

    Another reason: the Notley government were revealed in “The Destroyers” and they don’t like the truth to be known!

  9. Scott McLeod says:

    Well said, even though I don’t often agree with you Warren, well done

  10. Tim White says:

    Well I think it’s pretty funny. I’ve never seen Ezra Levant stymied by a a journalistic protocol or convention that couldn’t be ignored by yelling free speech. Do I get to be a journalist because I say I’m one also?

    There will be a lot of farts and burps flying around the Rebel’s echo chamber today. Noone else will give a shit.

  11. Shawn says:

    You are so on point for this top 10 list. In the Federal Parliament they allow media like the Rabble, Tyee, even the CBC! This is a fight she will fail miserably.

  12. davie says:

    I used to think the Alberta NDP was the most closely monitored government in Canada.
    I am starting to think it might be the most closely monitored government on the continent.

    • davie says:

      I tried to find an organization in this country that accredits a person as a journalist, and cannot find much info. The review the Alberta Government has ordered might be useful in coming up with some recommendations.
      If there are no guidelines or an accreditation body, then it seems to me that the injured party here has to argue that anyone who says s/he is a journalist, is a journalist, and can enter government lock ups ( I understand this one had to do with the lock up where journalists who were in got a review of the royalty decision).
      The lady involved here, who says she wanted to interview industry people about the the royalty regime, is one Ms Reid. She is the investigator who publicized the tweets of a 15 year old in Calgary, the tweets which when revealed, had that 15 year old, now about 22, resign as a Liberal candidate in Calgary. It looks like she often contributes to Levant’s web site.
      I guess Levant would be called the publisher in this Alberta Government incident, and she the journalist.

      I agree, a government should not be deciding who is s journalist. We have had many attempts by governments to provide access to favoured media people, and deny access to others.
      I notice that there is an Alberta Legislature Press Gallery. I suppose being a member of that group is a kind of accreditation. But I cannot find anything like a professional association that accredits journalists. Looks to me like it can sometimes be an ad hoc thing, from event to event.

  13. the salamander horde says:

    .. fail to see a reason to have the slightest concern re anything related to Ezra Levant.. or those associated with him. Periodically I catch wind of a distant shrill partisan ‘position’ or complaint.. but it has the weight of a Joe Oliver oped, or one by Ken Boessenkool or Andrew MacDougall.. frothy foaming hysteria dressed up as journalism or intellectualism ?

    • Steve T says:

      You mean, sort of what the CBC does every day for the left? (in particular, CBC Radio). Or, APTN for that matter?

    • Cam says:

      The concern is not directly regarding Levant.
      The concern is with governments hand-selecting who will, and will not, be able to cover and ‘report’ on their scrums.
      I would think the importance of this issue is not only obvious in the present, but with mainstream sources becoming ever more condensed, make it even more crucial going into the future.

  14. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Thank you, Warren!

    What I like about Ezra is that he goes places, and asks questions, that virtually nobody else in the MSM in Canada will dare. Questions that NEED to be asked! He’s fearless, and he is wonderfully politically incorrect!

    And he scares the hell out of the leftists, the environmentalists, and the anti-everything crowd, principally because he exposes them for the frauds and shameless hypocrites that basically all of them are.

    Brian Lilly once summed up the Ottawa Press Gallery with, to paraphrase, “…running around sniffing each others bums”. Amen!!! GD it, but I miss Sun News!!!

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      As someone once famously said, “You just can’t make up s**t like this!”


      WTF are Notley et al thinking??? That Alberta is some kind of Venezuela North???


      • Dave says:

        And yet, strangely enough, most of the ranting hordes who have posted here were silent when Harper refused to answer questions, hold news conferences and the like. See, this is the problem with people like Ezrat Lerant and his ilk. It’s all rant, rage, misrepresentations, partial truths, no truths, all of the time. That said, I don’t have any problem with letting representatives from “The Rebel” (now there’s a joke of a name) attend sessions like these. The nonsense they spew will be ignored by most thinking people who pay attention to what’s going on and they will fade into the obscurity they richly deserve.

        Some have pointed to the “inexperience of Notley’s crew”. Go figure, eh? You have a province that unthinkingly maintained one-party rule for 44+ years and you can’t understand why the new kids come off as a big green. A quick survey of a few countries attempting to make the transition from dictatorship or oligarchy to democracy have faced lengthy periods of difficulties. Alberta is going through the same phase for the same reasons. Democracy and effective oppositions can’t materialize overnight.

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Sun News went after Harper’s government, too, on numerous occasions.

          Ever watch Ezra interview anti-everything protesters at demonstrations and rallies? It reveals an entirely other world these people live in, not even hinted at in coverage presented by CBC and CTV! And, IMHO, they deliberately don’t present it in order to maintain an illusion of legitimacy for this garbage they inevitably peddle, be it climate change or anti-oil sands, you name it! With Sun News people got to see the flip side of it, but now, sadly, nobody gets a look into the over the top radical nature of any of this extremism.

          Rebel Media is the exception to this pathetically imbalanced reporting that has become the norm in Canada.

          More power to them! Balance is crucial to a healthy democracy.

        • davie says:

          Hey, your last point is exactly what Shelley said in his poem, ‘The Revolt of Islam,’ in which he justified what was happening during the French Revolutin.

        • Matt says:

          Refusing to answer questions or limiting the number of questions is a tad different than outright barring people from a particular media outlet from attending.

          You may also recall Trudeau’s spat with Sun News refusing to answer questions, and even going so far as to accuse a CBC reporter of being with Sun News when the reporter actually challanged him.

        • The Doctor says:

          So Alberta was a dictatorship and not a democracy for the last 44 years? Are you fucking serious? And Notley’s government is to be equated with some fledgling administration emerging at the birth of democracy, like Vaclev Havel’s Czech government? You win the prize for idiotic overreach of the day.

  15. Maps Onburt says:

    No where else to post this that makes sense but IPSO is reporting that the Trudeau Jr. Honeymoon is over. 54% of Canadians now think the country is headed in the wrong direction (46% think right – down from 57% in December when the honeymoon was in full bloom). “In three short months, a majority of Canadians have gone from believing the country is heading in the right direction to believing we are now off on the wrong track. This is the widest disparity with negatives outweighing positives since 2010” ~ Ipsos

    You saw some foreshadowing of this when despite Wynne throwing most of her cabinet and Mr Sonny’s Dazed himself at the recent Oshawa Whitby byelection, the new Progressive Conservative candidate won by over 50% (significantly bigger margin than even the very popular Christine Elliot).

    And yes Warren, you too predicted this too would happen! 🙂

    • Matt says:

      It’s hard to compare by-election results to general election results. I think only something like 12,000 people voted in the Whitby Oshawa by-election last week.

      • Maps Onburt says:

        Oh, I agree That you can’t equate a by election result to a general election victory but my point was despite Trudeau’s very partisan and widely celebrated participation (something the same people would have castigated Harper for), the PC candidate won with an even bigger margin than last time. Trudeau’s sunshine is fading.

    • Michael says:

      You might want to speak to Doug Holyday and Premier Tim Hudak about the meaning of by election results. Remember how Etobicoke Lakeshore was suppose to be the beachhead from whence the Ontario PCs would triumphantly start winning seats in the 6, on their way to a majority government.

  16. P. Brenn says:

    inexperience of notley’s crew shows

    • rabbit says:

      That struck me as well. It’s something a bunch of college students might think is a good idea, not the actions of a mature, responsible government that understands its place in a liberal democracy.

      • The Doctor says:

        That would explain a lot — given the fact that left-leaning student politicians and activists are arguably the most anti-free speech people on the planet these days.

    • Chris says:

      These are not inexperienced people. Brian Topp is Rachel’s chief-of-staff. He is the former president of the federal NDP and former chief-of-staff to Roy Romanow in Saskatchewan. Anne McGrath is Rachel’s deputy-chief-of-staff. She is also a former federal NDP president and was Jack Layton’s chief-of-staff.
      That these people think banning Ezra was a good idea is baffling. Maybe Brian and Anne were stuck in Pearson Airport during their commute from their Toronto homes to their Alberta jobs.

  17. e.a.f. says:

    absolutely can not stand him or what he has to say. On the other hand, he has the right to say it. He is part of the media. When a government starts to choose who is or is not the media we have a problem. Sort of reminds me of some of Harper’s actions.

    Being a good old NDPer, I am not in favour of “censoring” the press, so let the idiot in.

  18. Aongasha says:

    What’s the difference between the Newswatch commentators, The Rebel, iPolitics, Rabble etc. Does this mean Michael Harris is not a journalist and the Dippers in Alberta would bar him (he’s on a par with Levant)? That’d be interesting. BTW where is Harris these days – haven’t noticed any bleating from him lately?

    • billg says:

      Mr Harris is preparing his anti Trudeau Government columns, its just a matter of time.
      I remember when Liberals complained about Mr Harris’s rants on CFRA regarding Adscam and just about everything else any Liberal did.
      And for the past 5 years he was targeted by Conservatives for his biased rants.
      I just always thought he was a really good journalist and author.

      • Warren says:

        I don’t read his stuff. A long time ago, a friend said to me a columnist has one job: never be predictable.

        When you’re predictable, people just stop reading you.

        • billg says:

          Depending on who is our government, 60% of voters love what he writes 100% of the time.

        • Cory says:

          I think this is exactly it. I used to like him on CFRA because he was rather fair and balanced but even when he got into Adscam it was too repetitive. I feel the same thing with his Harper hating which has continued even after Harper is no longer PM. I think his comments on how Rona Ambrose dresses was the last straw for many.

        • The Doctor says:

          Warren, you’re bang-on about Harris. He became a one-note symphony.

  19. Darren H says:

    Wow The Rebel has one of the TOP law firms in Edmonton representing them in RMRF. Notley and crew better step carefully.

    • Cory says:

      Rebel wins the lawsuit or they settle: Ezra wins

      Rebel loses the lawsuit: Ezra goes disclosure fishing for confidential gov documents…Ezra wins.

  20. BillBC says:

    I guess you don’t need more people to tell you that you are 100% right, but I will anyway….you are 100% right, and I admire you for saying this. I wonder what the position of the Toronto Star is? Anyone know? I can’t stand listening to Levant…he’s incredibly abrasive…but I agree with some of what he says, and I thought he was a hero for standing up to the Human Rights Commission…remember his takedown of that bureaucrat who wanted to know the motives for what he was saying? Pure gold…

  21. Stan says:

    “Governments should have no role – none – in deciding who is media and who isn’t. Ever. -”

    By that same logic no media should be subsidized by the government.
    Government money buys bias no matter how you slice it.

    Rebel seems to thrive even while competing with the rest of the media which gets billions in corporate welfare while they receive none.
    Imagine how they would do on a level playing field!
    During all the agonizing over the fate of the Canadian media people seem to ignore the fact that Rebel is working and growing.

    Canadians want truth, not stories about gigantic overweight hunger strikers….

  22. Kelly says:

    If I were Notely I would quickly let the loudmouthed schnooks back in but then double down and go after them. Name and shame. She will never get a fair shake from the media in Alberta or the country at large. She should have a dossier of extremist Levantian quotes at the ready to throw back at the Rebel hacks every time they ask her a question, even if they are totally irrelevant . Throw a little Harper back at them. Hold up Levant as speaking for the Wild Rose Party and the PCs. Then she should double down on social democratic policy. Aggressive wealth redistribution. Pull a Norway and nationalize some of the oil industry. Introduce a big jump in income tax on high income earners, as well as a luxury tax — say, any purchases over $5000 to balance the budget, then put money into a real heritage fund. Might help to get some of those ridiculous 4 x 4 pickup trucks of the highways.

    • The Doctor says:

      Yeah, because there’s so much easy, loose money sloshing around Alberta these days . . .

    • HarryR says:

      …. “balance the budget, then put money into a real heritage fund”.
      Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaah! (Wipes away tears.)
      Thank you, thank you, Kelly, for that moment of comic relief. You really are a tonic in these dyspeptic times! Keep up the good work!

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      A real live Marxist, right here. You really dig the class warfare stuff, eh, Kelly? Equal poverty for all, and all that mindless shite.

      Two kinds of hard-ass socialists in this world, eh? Those fresh out of school who haven’t earned enough to pay any income taxes yet. And those who make it to 65 and still haven’t.

      • nobonus4nonis says:

        Oh Al there ya go again. What’s that five or six posts in one thread. if things are so bad why don’t you get yourself a white bronco and drive in circles for the next five years. you won’t be missed “(

  23. patrick says:

    I sympathize with Motley since it’s so easy to over react to ezra. You get it on your shoe and no matter how much you bleach it you never really get rid of the stain or smell.

  24. rabbit says:

    One thing filing a lawsuit accomplished was give the Canadian media a tangible story to print. It’s a fact that they can go to press with, as opposed to a lot of he said / she said.

  25. Spaceman Spiff says:

    First things first. Rebel Media, no matter how odious Ezra and his band of “rebels” choose to be, are the media. They are journalists. As awful their slant is on things, if you look at their website, they absolutely believe they’re conducting a form of journalism, as slanted and stupid as it is. To borrow from George Costanza, if you believe your lie is true, then it’s not a lie. If those bozos believe they’re journalists, then they are. Bless their hearts.
    That means they probably deserve media credentials to various government budget lockups and events. And it also means they shouldn’t be kicked out of events that they’ve already been credentialed for. The NDP government was wrong on both counts, but I’m not convinced that the previous Tory government(s) wouldn’t have done the same thing.
    Now … all of that said … it’s also incumbent on Rebel Media to act like a credentialed member of the media. That means less about the slant of their coverage and more about how they conduct themselves at events. Basically, it means you act like a professional adult and not some kind of sophomoric moron who’s only there to act like the proverbial fecal-matter-in-the-punchbowl.
    I saw a selfie photo on Twitter recently of a Rebel reporter/journalist/columnist/whatever-she’s-calling-herself holding her nose while, in the background, you could see Alberta’s agriculture minister speaking at a podium about Bill 6, the controversial legislation aimed at moving Alberta’s farm safety laws away from 19th-century England and closer to 21st-century Canada. Her tweet was something cheeky, along the lines of, “this is what it’s like to be in the same room with the Agriculture minister while he’s speaking.”
    That’s just excellent reportage right there (INSERT SARCASTIC TONE HERE). If I’m not mistaken, it was the same “reporter” who tried to enter the room this time around, too, even though her co-worker (or co-rebel, or whatever-they-call-themselves) was already in the room, presumably with proper credentials.
    But that’s all in the eye of the beholder, obviously. Online news outlets have as much right to slant as the printed or broadcast ones. That’s where things are headed in the “new media.” Ask any NHL team and I’m sure they’ll tell you that one of the biggest challenges at the start of each year is figuring out who should get a press pass and who shouldn’t. There are all kinds of fan sites and blog sites that are applying for full press access to NHL games and I’m pretty sure they’re not all getting them. But the NHL can make that call, unilaterally. They’re a private business, not government.
    And … if news-printed-on-dead-trees is going the way of the passenger-pigeon, then we all have accept the fact that crowd-funded vanity websites operated by bloviating buffoons like Levant are as much a part of the “new media” as anyone else is.
    I’m glad the government has changed its position on The Rebel, but next time one of its members is in a government lockup, I’d suggest the government members hold their noses.

    • jannx says:

      Free press passes for everything for everybody with a vanity blog. Yippee!
      I think Notley has told her people to figure out something for Vanity Bloggers who have testified under oath that they are not reporters or journalists?
      IMO that’s a good example and better than Steve ever entertained.

  26. jannx says:

    Where were you when the harper government aka cpc were the federal government… ? hmmm?

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