Disclosure: David M. Haskell is a PPC candidate in Cambridge.
A decade ago, I was researching media bias in Canada.
My studies aligned with others that showed many national journalists purposely promote ideas and people on the left while slanting their coverage against those on the right.
Now, ten years later, I’ve moved from researching the issue to experiencing it first hand.
On leave from my job as a professor, I’m running as a candidate for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC). Recent events have made it clear that some in the left-leaning national media don’t like “my kind.”
Before I describe those recent events, it’s necessary that I give a short description of the PPC. We’re the fastest-growing political party in the history of Canada. We formed in September and already we have electoral associations and candidates in over 300 of Canada’s 338 ridings. We’ll soon fill the rest.
Our candidates are men and women from all races, ethnicities, and religions. We have more official members than the Green Party which began in the 1980s. Though clearly on the political right, our policies are an ideological hybrid reflecting a blend of conservative, libertarian, and classical liberal positions.
By any stretch, the People’s Party is a political miracle. In terms of the criteria that makes something “newsworthy,” the PPC “story” meets the requirements. Still, it’s rare to hear anything about our diversity or successes.
On the other hand, there’s a good chance you’ve heard something negative, which brings me to my discussion of a few recent events.
On Wednesday, July 23, the Leader of my party, Maxime Bernier, came to Toronto to unveil the PPC’s immigration policy. He delivered his speech to a conference venue with close to a thousand supporters. I was one of them.
Reporters from all the national media were there too. However, as I’ve read the stories filed by the journalists from the CBC and Toronto Star, I had to question whether or not we were at the same event.
In the name of brevity, I won’t outline all the ways that the representatives of these two outlets twisted their accounts to diminish or demonize Max and his message, but I’ll mention a few of the glaring omissions and manipulations.
First to the size of the crowd itself. According to the Star, just 400 people attended Bernier’s speech; the CBC was silent on number of attendees. However, the National Post reporter, like me, saw “a crowd that filled approximately 900 seats.”
What else about the attendees were CBC and Star reporters unable to see while others, like the reporter from the National Post, saw and found striking? They were blind to the fact the crowd was a “multi-ethnic room of supporters, both young and old” that “welcomed” the ideas being presented.
Of course, if the vision of the CBC and Star reporters was so compromised that they couldn’t make out the size or composition of the crowd, it’s not surprising that the were absolutely blind to the solitary figure who spoke before Maxime, heartily endorsed his message, and welcomed him to the stage.
In contrast, the National Post reporter thought it was important to mention that the man introducing Max was Dr. Salim Mansur.
Mansur, a professor from Western University and now a candidate for the People’s Party, had himself “immigrated to Toronto in 1974” and “is Muslim” who “criticizes Islamic extremism.”
Of course, that observation would not have gone well with the CBC’s and Star’s false narrative that the PPC is a party of intolerant, old, white men.
A blind and dead media
Not only were the reporters of the CBC and Star blind, they were also deaf.
In his address, Maxime said that a People’s Party government, as a condition of entry to Canada, will require that immigrants support Canadian values.
Despite clearly outlining the specific values that newcomers would be expected to hold, the Star accused Max of “offer[ing] little detail on the nature of his proposed “values test” on newcomers.”
The CBC chose not to list the expected values at all but, instead, tried to impute negativity on the idea saying it was “eerily similar to the ‘Canadian values test’ proposed by Kellie Leitch.”
So why would these reporters not want to list exactly what Maxime said? I think it’s because they know, if they did, Canadians would strongly agree with him.
For the record, in his exact words, here are the “controversial” values that Maxime dared to utter and that the CBC and Star chose not to report:
Our distinct values are those of contemporary Western civilization. They include democracy, individual rights and freedoms, including freedom of religious belief and freedom to criticize religion.
Our distinct values also include equality between men and women, the equal treatment of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, the rule of law, separation of state and religion, tolerance and pluralism, and loyalty to the wider society instead of to one’s clan or tribe.
When I say that newcomers to Canada must integrate into our society and share our values, it is to these Western values that I am referring.
I wonder which of these values, above, the reporters at the CBC and Star don’t want newcomers to hold?
I wish the slanted coverage from the CBC and Star was relegated to just the events of last night, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s part of a larger pattern to slander Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party.
For example, in July Maxime spoke at an event in Calgary and then allowed attendees to take pictures with him. Some men in the crowd posed with Max and it was later discovered that they belonged to a group promoting intolerance.
When Max was told who these strangers were, he was unequivocal in his rejection saying, “People who are racist and anti-Semitic, they’re not welcome in our party.”
Appealing to common sense, he also noted the PPC doesn’t do background checks on event attendees at public events and those who want a photo, get one.
But in the eyes of the Toronto Star and CBC this chance meeting was national news. And in their coverage their intent to create guilt by association was clear.
Now let’s compare the reaction of those key media players.
In early July, my PPC riding association in Cambridge, Ontario and, another just down the road in Guelph booked venues to host separate events, one after another.
Locals could come meet our party leader, Max. He was in Southern Ontario for the day so this was a unique opportunity.
Interest was high. Our events sold out. And then the intimidation began.
A group of protesters out of Guelph and Hamilton, describing themselves as “anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist militants,” demanded that Max not be allowed to speak.
They told the manager of the venue in Guelph that if Max was present, they’d be showing up too. And, according to their posters and social media messages, once on site their goal was to “smash fascists” (or, more correctly, anyone they had decided were fascists).
The Guelph venue cancelled. Then, fearing the mob’s attention would turn to them, my Cambridge venue cancelled.
We scrambled and were able to find other venues. But, we were forced to keep the location of both events a secret made known only to ticket holders.
Let that sink in: Law-abiding citizens had their freedom of assembly spat upon and the leader of a federal political party had his freedom of speech compromised by group of far-left activists.
Canadians had to meet in secret because of their political leanings.
To me, that sounds like national news. But others thought “no.”
The local newspapers in Cambridge and Guelph reported on this travesty. They’re owned by the Toronto Star and often share content. CBC has a bureau in our area that covers local news and feeds stories to HQ. Oddly, nothing made its way up the chain.
Maybe the staff at these national bureaus couldn’t get to typing because they were too busy clapping.
At least the local “militants” were honest about being against us.