The true north strong and free, as the Canadian national anthem has it, is no longer true, strong or free. It is still north, of course, but this is no cause for celebration. While retaining its position on the geographical compass, it has lost its place on the moral compass. Our “basic dictatorship”-loving Liberal Prime Minister, friend of the late Fidel Castro, is taking the country down the path of increasing socialist control and totalitarian closure: unsustainable debt, skyrocketing taxes, rising unemployment, media bribery, the stink of corruption and—the cake under the icing—“totalitarian tendencies” and gradual police state governance.
As Lee Harding writes in the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, “Canada has no explicit re-education camps. But Trudeau’s leadership has introduced softer forms of forced belief, religious oppression, political indoctrination, restricted communications and mass surveillance.” Bills such as C-16, C-25, C-59, C-75 and C-76 reduce and even criminalize freedom of expression, infringe on rights, compromise due process and render government transparency dark as night.
We know that Justin Trudeau is a thin-skinned prima donna with a vindictive and imperious nature who cannot tolerate criticism. His latest caper is to go after dissident journalist and author Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel News, for publishing and promoting a book, The Librano$: What the Media Won’t Tell You About Justin’s Trudeau’s Corruption, during the October 2019 election campaign. As one of the very few honest media sites in the country, the network has been consistently maligned in the press and in politically left platforms such as Wikipedia where terms like “far right” and “neo-fascist” are bandied about indiscriminately. Trudeau is clearly counting on public sentiment and media collusion in pressing an utterly fraudulent and indeed farcical case against Levant.
Having received a threatening letter from the Commissioner of Canada Elections channelling an unidentified complaint, Levant flew from Calgary to Ottawa to be grilled in camera by two former RCMP officers. Fortunately, Levant managed to secretly videotape the interrogation. He was accused of violating Division 352 of the Canada Elections Act, under the rubric “Partisan Activities, Election Advertising and Election Surveys During Election Period,” which states: Not more than $3,000 of the maximum amount referred to in subsection (1) shall be incurred to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a given electoral district.
Even though book publishing is exempted from the law, in a typical instance of forensic malfeasance Levant is being accused of spending money to oppose Trudeau’s re-election because he advertised his book on lawn signs, posters and billboards. He is under threat of prosecution specifically for publishing his book during the election and refusing to “register” it with the government. As for the actual details and precise origin of the complaint, Levant has been kept in the dark for “security reasons”—a practice straight out of Kafka’s The Trial. The timing of the summons two months after the supposed infraction is also curious. As Levant suggests, “it was timed to land right now, while Trudeau is on a private jet holiday in Costa Rica, far from any reporters who might ask him about prosecuting authors.” Not, to be candid, that many reporters would, but convenient nonetheless.
Naturally, other books released at approximately the same time that happened to be pro-Liberal and soft on Trudeau, such as John Ivison’s Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister and Aaron Wherry’s Promise and Peril: Justin Trudeau in Power (touted as “A must-read for all Canadians before the next federal election), received a free pass. And as Levant points out, “there’s the small detail that 23 other authors published books about Trudeau during the election. But not a single one of them is being investigated by Trudeau’s staff.” Big surprise.
This is not the first time that Trudeau has attempted to go after his bête noir. Our petulant PM sic’d five legal attack dogs on Levant, at a cost of $130,000 in taxpayer money, to prevent Rebel News from covering the federal election debates. Levant hired two savvy young lawyers to represent him, at a personal cost of $18,000, winning the case and putting a despotic and unscrupulous Prime Minister to shame.
It is uncertain at this time whether Trudeau will release the kraken once again and whether Levant’s brace of newbies will be up to the challenge. It should be an open and shut case. In a democratic society, one is free to publish a book at any time of the year, including election time, without being compelled to register the book with a government commission or censoring agency. Levant was not running for election nor was he engaged in a political advertising campaign. The official complaint levied against him and the legal chicanery that must inevitably follow would carry coercive weight only in a totalitarian state where such procedures are commonplace.
We’ll have to wait and see what the Justin and Ezra show has in store for us. If Trudeau pursues the case and actually prevails, we may as well rename the country Chinada. And why not? Trudeau is on record as saying that China is the country he most admires. As Conservative MP Harold Albrecht told the House of Commons, “I am concerned that…many Canadians… would not be able to even discuss public policy issues…on which they may disagree with the government-imposed agenda.” Confirming Albrecht’s premonition, Trudeau’s Librano$ are presently deliberating a new policy that would require all News websites to get a government licence effectively monitoring public access to information. Levant is the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
Trudeau’s treatment of Levant is perhaps somewhat less egregious than Obama’s contemptibly personal vendetta against conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, as recounted in Stealing America. D’Souza had to serve prison time for a minor electoral donation of whose illegality he was unaware. Levant similarly did not know the nature of his transgression and may conceivably find himself facing punitive sanctions; according to Bill C-76, Levant could face fines up to $50,000 and serious jail time. But the respective issues are cut from the same cloth: leftist demagogues asserting their ideological will against vulnerable targets of whose political convictions they disapprove.
American voters providentially saw the last of the worst president in the nation’s history in 2016—at least so far as the Presidency goes—but Canada is saddled for years to come with the worst Prime Minister since Confederation. The office of Prime Minister has no term limit in this country. Additionally, given the leftward skew of the Canadian electorate, the vast extent of public ignorance, the legislative erosion of rights and freedoms and the near extinction of a responsible press, the country seems likely to continue down the road toward a totalitarian destination.
Our national anthem sings, “God keep our land glorious and free.” Regrettably, the prayer may not be answered.
David Solway’s latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, Black House Publishing, 2019, London. A CD of his original songs, Partial to Cain, appeared in 2019.