Ezra Levant is the Canadian kingpin of Rebel News Inc., a dissident media company that likes nothing more than getting in the faces of the hypocritical Left, and he is best described with a sort of oxymoron; Levant is an affable firebrand. There is something of the naughty schoolboy mixed with the instinctive and determined journalistic style. Now, he may very well be treated like a naughty schoolboy, for Levant has published a book concerned with the alleged corruption of giggling clothes-horse Justin Trudeau.
Of the 25 – that’s a two and a five – books on Trudeau that were published at the same time (during the Canadian General Election, which turns out to be relevant) Levant’s is the only one to be investigated by the Canadian Electoral Commission (CEC). It was also the only book in the bunch to be critical of the Prime Minister.
Levant was required to attend a meeting – which he covertly recorded – which turned out to be with two veteran Canadian police officers who had worked previously as case investigators concerned with terrorism. And by their own admission, they weren’t even the lead investigators on Levant’s file. A tad, heavy handed, perhaps.
The interview itself is a strange and somber affair, occasionally enlivened by Levant’s puckish humour, such as when the reporter asks one of the slot-mouthed policemen if he is an intern, or whether he needs to ask his mother before answering a question about procedure.
Levant is not told who has made the complaint the CEC are acting, nor even what the exact complaint is. Josef K has more information at his disposal in Kafka’s The Trial. All that is revealed is that there may or not be a problem about the timing and promotion of the book, during a General Election. But, countered Levant, still relying on good old Enlightenment reason, the book was largely about the General Election. As he says to Rebel colleague David Menzies, if you have written a Christmas book, you tend to release it before Christmas.
Whether or not the CEC prosecutes is still undecided but, if a prosecution does result, it will not exactly be the first for Rebel. Levant, in conversation with Menzies, makes an interesting point which indicates the necessarily liquid business model of an outfit such as Rebel Media. In addition to being journalists, opinion commentators and book publishers, Rebel are also a de facto public-access law firm. A lot of dissident media outlets are finding out that they are also a flock of canaries in a very deep, dark coalmine.
So, then, Canada goes that couple of extra baby steps to the outlawing of free speech, at least free speech which concerns topics which are verboten by the elites and their enforcers. And, of course, as free speech drains away, it is replaced with mandatory speech, not concerning what you cannot say, but what you must say. It is exactly this point, and the validity of legislation which enables it, that first propelled Professor Jordan Peterson to public attention.
Do you remember when the clown Trudeau scolded a girl who asked him a question in which she used the word ‘mankind’? He told her, ‘we use peoplekind. It’s more inclusive’. At the moment that is a bit of a joke, but how long before it is actionable? Back in the land which spawned the Commonwealth, a land which has just (apparently) freed itself from a far more malevolent – and far more broke – commonwealth, a doctor with 26 years’ NHS experience was struck off because he ‘misgendered’ a mentally ill person. If the deep state and its attitude to free speech teaches us anything at all, it is that what you are warned against saying today, you may well be incarcerated for tomorrow.
Ezra Levant and Rebel Media’s tribulations with the CEC may not appear to concern us. They very much do, and we must wish him well.