Categories for Feature

Neo-Nazi hate rag: Canadian Jewish News has the latest

A quick summary, also provided to Paul at CJN:

  • the Criminal Code charges for promoting hatred against women and Jews are going ahead with a hearing in February
  • the criminal charge for uttering death threats – initiated by Lisa and I – is also going to another court hearing in February
  • the panel reviewing the ministerial order to stop Canada Post from delivering Your Ward News is still holding hearings, but has essentially become moot following the laying of criminal charges
  • Lisa and I have separate civil defamation actions going against the publisher and editor of this pro-Nazi rag – out of which we hope to learn who is giving them financial support

There is a lot of other stuff going on, but that should give you an overview. The fight goes on.

Now, here’s the CJN report:

Warren and Lisa Kinsella have been among the loudest critics of Your Ward News, and they, like Farber, have often been featured in its pages.

They allege that the paper published death threats against them, and they filed separate civil actions against the paper and the people behind it.

For his part, Sears is contesting all the legal steps taken against the paper and rejecting the allegations that have been made by his critics. He told CBC News that, “Being criticized by mentally deranged Marxists has never caused us to consider shutting down our truth tract.”

The Winter 2018 edition notes that it is responding to six legal attacks and that, “We are fighting to overturn the Canada Post ban.” Meanwhile, Sears claims that 305,000 copies of the publication are being distributed by private companies and a “volunteer army.”

Warren Kinsella said that seeing a new edition of Your Ward News after its two principals were charged criminally was somewhat unexpected.

“I wish I could say I was surprised, but common sense doesn’t seem to be a characteristic of these individuals,” he said.

Kinsella speculated that they ignored the advice of lawyers not to publish, or “they have a bottomless” amount of money.

There are rumours, he continued, that the publication is receiving financial support from extremists in Germany and South Africa.

“Based on the evidence, they must be getting support from somewhere. We think it’s offshore,” he said.

According to Kinsella, who wrote a book on the racist fringe in Canada, Your Ward News is being distributed as far as Kingston and Niagara Falls, Ont.

He noted that it appears as though Sears has become something of a hero among extremists around the world who share his admiration for the Nazi cause. Photos on the Your Ward News website show German Holocaust “revisionist” Alfred Schaefer, who is awaiting trial on charges of Holocaust denial, with a copy of the paper, as well as French writer Robert Faurisson, who testified on behalf of neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel, also holding a copy of Your Ward News that was presented to him by “Canadian nationalist” Paul Fromm.


Do all Jewish people look alike?

Quebec’s bigoted securities regulator certainly thinks so.

Check out this shocking Graeme Hamilton report in the Post:

MONTREAL — Rabbi Momi Pinto has a beard and wears a yarmulke, just like the man from whom he bought his Montreal home in 2012.

According to court documents, that is where the similarity between the two men ends — and yet it was allegedly enough for Quebec’s securities regulator to conduct an “abusive” search of Pinto’s home last September.

In a lawsuit filed this month at the Montreal courthouse, Pinto and his family are seeking $230,000 in damages from the Autorité des marchés financiers and two of its investigators. They allege that in its hunt for evidence related to online gambling company Amaya Inc., the AMF relied on outdated registry information and a “grossly negligent” investigation to search their house.

Pinto’s lawyer, Julius Grey, said the “humiliating and invasive” search is a symptom of a larger problem. “It is the high-handedness of many government institutions today. They think they have a right to do whatever they want to do,” Grey said.

I was actually born on that street in Montreal. My parents told me our Jewish neighbours were thoughtful, courteous and wonderful people to live among. They loved it there.

And you know what, AMF jerks?

We could tell them all apart.


Column: ink-stained enablers

Who’s to blame?

When the United States of America regains its sanity – when the equivalent of political Nuremberg war crimes trial is convened – who will bear the blame for Donald Trump?  Who is responsible?

There will be plenty of blame to go around.  Russia, of course, for interfering in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, so as to give Trump an extra 79,646 votes and an illegitimate Electoral College “victory.”  The Republican Party, for embracing a “man” who admits to groping women – and who says dark-skinned people live in “huts” and “shitholes” and should not be allowed to set foot in the United States.  Several million Americans, who are apparently just as racist and misogynistic as their man.

But we in the media will be in the metaphorical prisoner’s dock, too.  We deserve to be.

We in the media share in the guilt for the chaos and division unleashed by Trump.  We mocked his candidacy before he won the Republican nomination.  And then, when he won, we swore that he’d never become president.  And when he topped the Electoral College – criminally aided and abetted by the aforementioned Russia – we said he’d be swiftly impeached.

But a year later, Donald Trump is still President of the United States.  And some of us bear responsibility for that.

This writer has a book coming out from Dundurn Press next year, loosely about the Trump era.  It is called New Dark Ages.  In a couple passages, I try to explain how those of us who ostensibly predict political events have gotten rather bad at it.

“The press called [him] a bigot and a white supremacist, and everything in between.  But, to Republicans, it didn’t matter.  The media didn’t understand that the Republican faithful weren’t gravitating towards to his campaign despite his racism – they were supporting him because of it.

“…the mainly-rural, high-school-educated, angry old white guys loved [Trump], wasn’t just because of what he said. They worshiped him because of how he said it – the way he said it. They loved him because he talked like they did, when they were in the privacy of a dark room in a trailer park somewhere. They loved that he didn’t use twenty-dollar words when two-dollar words would suffice. They loved that he said outrageous, offensive things, and that the queers on TV couldn’t resist reporting on what he said, and then analyzing it over and over and over. He stirred up the elites and the intellectuals.

And when they did that, they were letting [Trump] control the agenda. They were letting him dominate the dialogue. And, in some cases, [Trump] was therefore literally getting as much as a thousand times the coverage his more-experienced rivals were getting.”

Many of us in the media privately (and not-so-privately) despise Trump, but we can’t stop talking about him.  We chase every shiny silver ball he rolls past us.

Since he has become President, the media’s inability to understand Trumpism has only grown worse.  Facebook, for instance, last week announced that it would start minimizing real news stories on its platform – and, apparently, encouraging photos of kittens and birthday parties instead.  Twitter has announced its cracking down on racists who post hateful comments – but has continued to let the Hater-in-Chief, Donald Trump, to thumb out whatever foul thing that pops into his miniscule cranium.

Platforms like Huffington Post – which, full disclosure, I parted ways with last week, because of their willingness to shield Trump-like sexual predators from scrutiny – don’t even pay a cent to those who contribute to their web sites, and then wonder why journalism is dying.  And then Trump imposes a punitive duty of Canadian newsprint, clearly – as CFRA radio host Brian Lilley pointed out – to punish his critics at places like the Washington Post and the New York Times.

What we in the media are doing in respect of Trump’s new dark ages, we are doing wrong.  We diagnosed the disease wrongly – and, now that the pandemic is fully underway, we are merely advising a couple of aspirin and some bed rest.

We can do more, and we should do more.  We need to re-evaluate the way we cover Trump, and we need to change our ways.

Because whatever we are doing is working only for him.  And it’s not working for the people we serve – our readers and listeners and viewers.


MLK

It’s his day down here in the US, today.  It feels sad. It feels like this country is being run by the son of a Klansman – and it is. That’s bad.

Then again – on the other hand – a year ago, my wife and our daughter were near the spot seen in the photo above, protesting the racist, sexist, extremist Unpresident. That’s good.

Educate your kids about the importance of Dr. King.  In 2018, it will be more important than ever before.


New Dark Ages? What?

Spotted late last night on Apple iBooks. I didn’t expect to see it.

And, it immediately had the effect of panicking me about where I am on book three in the X Gang series (it’s a trilogy, for those who care).

The third book doesn’t have a title yet. But, like the first two, it’ll likely be another Bad Religion song title.

Pre-order now!


How’d you like to get this in your inbox?

All of Hawaii did, today. Would certainly make you a lot more alert, wouldn’t it?

When I was a kid in Dallas, at David G. Burnet Elementary, we used to practice for air raids. We’d take shelter under our desks, stop talking, and await further instructions.

We were preparing for the inevitable North Vietnamese fusillade, apparently. I was pretty young, so I didn’t ask a lot of questions.

Anyway. As Lisa and me head Stateside tomorrow, I am moved to wonder: is the most-policed state in the world smarter because it’s always ready for incoming missiles? Or are they just sort of naturally paranoid?

I still know the Pledge of Allegiance, but I actually don’t know the answer. But I do know I’m quite happy Hawaii is still there. It’s the only state I’ve never been to, you know.


When a neo-Nazi hate rag returns, don’t stick your head in the sand

As many of you know, Lisa and I and many others – in the Jewish, Muslim, LGBT, and other minority communities – have been fighting the neo-Nazi hate sheet Your Ward News for more than two years. We have launched civil actions, we have pushed the authorities into laying criminal charges, and some of us have even initiated private criminal prosecutions of these white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

The latest issue of this so-called newspaper, however, is out. CBC News has interviewed us about it. Lisa and I have been hearing from many people on the East side of Toronto who are very upset. They thought the laying of the criminal charges would put an end to Your Ward News.

Unfortunately, however, that hasn’t happened yet. While the publisher and editor of this Holocaust-denying, pro-Hitler piece of filth have been charged with wilfully promoting hatred against women and Jews, the courts have lifted some conditions which would’ve made it difficult for them to continue disseminating hate. That was a mistake.

This week, then, I started a new civil action against the haters behind Your Ward News, and they’ll be served soon. Lisa, meanwhile, launched a civil action against them last year – and she is represented by the legal powerhouse of Heinen Hutchinson. And, next month, we will be back in the criminal courts to pursue the editor and publisher for printing death threats.

The best approach, then, is not to give up. The best approach is not to stick your head in the sand. The best approach – notwithstanding what our sadly-misguided local councillor says – is not just to shrug and give up.

The best approach is to keep fighting.

If you receive this newspaper, contact the police. Contact your local MPP. Contact your Member of Parliament. Let the media know. The only way to defeat hate is for communities to come together and keep up the pressure.

That’s what we intend to do, and hopefully you will too.


Ten reasons why Oprah would be a great candidate

Besides the weather, it’s all anyone is talking about: her speech at that awards thing was a blockbuster.

Personally, I think it’s a cool idea. Here’s ten reasons why.

1. If a corrupt, evil, mentally unfit TV billionaire could win, then a principled, decent, smart TV billionaire could certainly beat him.

2.  She would be a candidate at the precise moment when women are dominating the public and political agenda, and are looking for a candidate who will speak for them.

3.  She uses her celebrity in positive ways – to oppose bullying thugs (cf. Trump) and to promote great leaders (cf. Obama, the anti-Trump).

4.  The most motivated Democratic constituency – as we saw in Alabama – is African-American women.  An Oprah candidacy would keep them motivated and involved.

5.  She actually has a legislative record – cf. The Protect Our Children Act, an anti-predatory bill that became known as the Oprah Act.  She gets stuff done, even as a private citizen.

6.  She’s likeable and relatable, to say the least.  She didn’t get millions upon millions of viewers, and build a communications empire, by being a repellant reality TV circus act – she did it by being a person average folks want to bring into their living rooms, every single day.  As they did.

7. Does she have many years of political involvement?  No, she doesn’t, and so what.  In an era when many voters, on all points on the ideological spectrum (see: Trump and Sanders) are looking for atypical/outsider candidates, Oprah’s distance from Capitol Hill is a help, not a hindrance.

8.  She may be a billionaire, but she comes from humble roots – the child of an unwed mother in Mississippi, a survivor of sexual abuse, she was an honours student who could recite Bible verses off the top of her head.  She pulled herself up by her bootstraps.  And, she’s Oprah, for Chrissakes.

9.  She is unique, in that she is one of the few Weinstein-era celebrities who has retained her moral authority.  At a time when America is turning its lonely/anxious eyes to a Joe DiMaggio, Oprah is Joe DiMaggio.  She’s Poprah.

10.  She can win.  She can win.  Whether Trump is there or not – felled by Mueller or resigning to head off a post-midterm impeachment – she can beat him, just as she can beat the unholy cabal of Pence, Ryan et al.  She can win.

So, to those nay-sayers, objecting to my ten points here or on Facebook or Twitter, I say this:

If not Oprah, then who?  Who is the Democratic alternative?


Column: l’affaire Boyle

Not so long ago, I was in Vancouver at the same time as Jean Chretien.  He was there for his law firm, I was there for mine.  We decided to get together, in a spot down in Gastown.

It was sunny and a truly beautiful day.  Looking outside, Chretien suggested we go for a walk.  So, we left to take a walk – me, the former Prime Minister, and a single plainclothes RCMP officer.

Bruce Hartley, Chretien’s long-serving right-hand guy – and, frankly, the best EA in the history of Canadian politics – wasn’t with us.  He had business elsewhere.  So, Chretien, me and the cop strolled along Water Street, heading West.

People stopped and stared.  Japanese tourists took pictures.  BC Transit workers watched Chretien walk by, mouths agape.  Every few feet, Chretien would be stopped and asked for an autograph or to pose for a selfie.  It was a lot of fun.

At one point, in front of Waterfront Station, a homeless guy called out to Chretien.  The guy was sitting on the sidewalk, bearded and a little bit grimy.  He stood up and moved our way.  “Hey, Chretien!” the homeless guy yelled. “Hey, Chretien!”

The homeless guy now had the RCMP officer’s full attention, and mine, too.  I started pondering whether I could take a bullet for the greatest-ever Prime Minister, and concluded that I could and would.  But the homeless guy meant no harm.  He extended a grubby hand.  “Jean,” he said, giving a gap-toothed smile, “I just want to thank you for keeping us out of Bush’s illegal war in Iraq!”

Chretien burst out laughing, and so did I.  The Mountie relaxed.  Chretien gave the homeless guy five bucks.

Apologies for the length of this little anecdote, but it’s become relevant in recent days.  To wit: how does one get a meeting with a Prime Minister?

Quite a few folks are wondering about that, in the wake of the revelation that Justin Trudeau – a serving Prime Minister, and not just a former one – met with the rather-controversial Boyle family.  How did such a meeting happen?

The Boyles, of course, are the folks who were held hostage by terrorists and jihadists for half a decade in different locations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Joshua Boyle, the father, is a Canadian and was tortured and beaten.  Caitlan Coleman, his American wife, was raped.  Their three young children were born in captivity.

They returned to Canada in October and met with Trudeau in December.  The Boyles requested the meeting, apparently, and Trudeau agreed.  The Prime Minister received the Boyles in his Parliament Hill office, but precious few knew about it. After Christmas, however, the Boyles posted photos of the meeting on Twitter.  Eyebrows were raised.  Observers were puzzled.

When Joshua Boyle was last week charged with more than a dozen serious criminal offences – among them sexual assault, assault, administering a noxious substance, unlawful confinement and uttering threats – observers were more than puzzled.  Many, mostly of the conservative variety, were apoplectic.

In the National Post, Christie Blatchford wrote: “As Joshua Boyle, thank God, must be presumed innocent, so may Justin Trudeau be presumed to be merely stupid.”  Her colleague Chris Selley huffed that putting Trudeau together with Joshua Boyle was “a very strange decision,” a “bizarre misstep,” and a “backlash” is therefore coming that “could be legendary.”

“Legendary.” Could be.  Or, it could be – as in most things in politics – the most blasé explanation for events is the likeliest one.  This is Canadian politics, after all.

Sure, it seems likely that Joshua Boyle was under criminal investigation when he and his wife and kids met with Justin Trudeau.  It’s obvious, however, that Trudeau didn’t know that: there isn’t a political advisor alive – outside of Donald Trump’s circle, that is – who would knowingly put his or her boss in a meeting with a criminal, or a soon-to-be-alleged one.

It was in Joshua Boyle’s interest to get those photos published, because they potentially put a Crown prosecutor in a bit of a bind.  So we know Boyle didn’t tell Trudeau what was coming, in just two week’s time.

But what of the RCMP?  What of the Privy Council Office, Trudeau’s personal bureaucracy?  Didn’t they know?  Why not, if not?  And if they did, why didn’t they warn Trudeau not to meet with Joshua Boyle?

If the Mounties knew Boyle was about to be charged, and declined to tell Trudeau’s staff, it would be a massive scandal – but not the first time it has happened.  During this writer’s tenure on the Hill, it was well-known that the RCMP, CSIS and/or the uniformed guys and gals at the department of National Defence would sometimes place their political masters in harm’s way, so as to (a) be rid of them or (b) acquire leverage to be deployed at budget time or whatever.

Would PCO have known?  Perhaps, but highly unlikely.  The Privy Council Office mainly provides advice to the Prime Minister and his or her government.  In my experience, PCO is highly controversy-adverse.  They write memos and place ATIP-less yellow sticky notes on binders: they are not in the business of manufacturing scandal.  PCO dislikes scandal.

For now, no one is talking on the record about who knew what, and when they knew it.  We can be reasonably assured that Justin Trudeau and his senior staff are justifiably unhappy, and have had some interesting chats with the RCMP.  When it returns at months’-end, angry questions in the House of Commons are inevitable.

In the meantime, however, the most bland explanation for l’affaire Boyle is the most likely: Joshua Boyle asked for a meeting, no one objected, so Justin Trudeau agreed.

Sometimes – as with homeless guys, just as it is with a former hostage of the Taliban – these things simply happen.