Levant Rant Hits… And Misses: ..The Point
Ron Bolin: June 29, 2014
Ezra Levant’s crusade to paint Nanaimo’s Council as a bunch of ignorant hicks has garnered sufficient traction that they now seem to be caught like deer in the headlights, unable to move and, unless something changes quickly in their attitude, appear likely to stay in that posture at least until July 14 (if Staff put the matter on that agenda), or at the COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting on July 21 at which time the public has the opportunity of raising the issue.
While I am forced to agree with the core of Mr. Levant’s argument about the folly of Council’s motion to cancel the Leadercast conference in Nanaimo, the layers of innuendo and conflation with which he has wrapped his screed vie to overwhelm that subject. Watching his presentation at:
can turn as many off of Mr. Levant as on to his topic, at least here in Nanaimo. Certainly Council acted without doing their due diligence as, unfortunately, they have done too frequently in the last few years, but I think no one here would suggest the vile intentions about which Mr. Levant rants and none of us recognizes the monsters which he has conjured up.
And what about the implications for democracy of Mr. Levant’s comments about Nanaimo, its Council and their reporting process and technology by which means, by the way, he collected the material for his rant. Here’s what he has to say:
“But what the councillors lacked in knowledge, they made up for in vitriol. You can see for yourself. Nanaimo is a small city of just 80,000 people, but the politicians there think highly enough of themselves and their deep thoughts that they actually televise their council meetings. Their 20-minute tirade against the conference can be viewed online, at http://www.nanaimo.ca/ ”
Did Mr. Levant really think any further about what he was saying in this passage about Council than Council did about banning the Leadercast event? Is it really ridiculous that our Council should have implemented a video system that allows all citizens to see what is going on at Council meetings? Does he really think that they enjoy having their actions in Council meetings open to the public for now and forever? Is there a reason why they now resort more and more to in-camera meetings whenever they can where they will not be subject to direct and immediate public scrutiny?
Say what you will, Mr. Levant, Nanaimo’s City Council, in making Council meetings open to the public by video has shown considerable bravery… and more than that, an admirable disposition to democracy. More consideration for democracy than you have shown in your ill-considered comments. For a short cut to Mr. Levant’s comments disparaging the public’s right to see what their Council is up to, go to minute 13 of the “shame of Nanaimo” video referenced above.
Nanaimo’s Council needs to finally expunge both their hasty motion from May 5 clearly and in its entirety and their fuzzy pseudo apologia as quickly as possible so that we can all get on with the business of our city rather than remaining embroiled in hidden negotiations and costly legal actions.
And you, Mr. Levant, should climb down from your high horse and recognize the significance of the democratic action which Council has taken to bring City Hall to its constituents.
And we now have MLA Doug Routley giving kudos to the Nanaimo City Council.You must see this story from the Nanaimo Info Blog at http://www.nanaimo-info-blog.com/2014/06/mla-routley-weighs-in-on-leadercast.html
According to the blog MLA Doug Routley posted the following:
Doug Routley28 June 2014 14:30
“This is the entire post, as it should have been posted. the editor chose the formatting, which makes the first sentence appear to be the title. As for the missing first paragraph, well, I don’t know about that. When he checked for verification, I pointed out that the first paragraph was missing, provided it and was told it couldn’t be changed.
“The issue of Council’s recent decision to deny access to the Nanaimo convention center is complex, as is the issue of free speech versus acceptable community standards. While we have the right to our beliefs, we do not have the right to advocate for discrimination that contravenes the Human Rights code or constitutes hate speech. The convention is clearly not the issue, the record of the sponsor is. Council explains that they do not wish to isolate vulnerable groups in the community. The question is clearly, where would you draw the line as to what groups can use publicly funded facilities? Would you accept a convention sponsored by the Klu Klux Clan?
The sponsors have attempted to overturn the Human Rights Act protected rights of a group based on their identity. Ezra Levant and Sun are the worst example of extremist media in Canada, as evidenced by their spin that Nanaimo banned Christians. Levant appears to pass up no opportunity to foment division and undermine progressive Canadian values. He seems determined to “Americanize” Canadian politics and social discourse to the detriment of all of us.
Free speech is not without responsibility and the sponsors of that convention who have attacked the rights of Canadians now, ironically, challenge the decision of Council by invoking rights protected under the same act. This is a sad perversion of the intent of our Charter. Do Christians feel comfortable being identified alongside the bigoted sponsors? I suspect that those who object to the decision of Council have never been chased down an alley or beaten in a school yard because of who they are. Kudos to the City Council of Nanaimo.”
There are many implications to be taken from what took place at the May 5 Nanaimo City Council meeting. There was no notice of motion, no presentation of a factual report, no legal advice sought and no right of anyone affected by the motion to speak to the Council. This resulted in a decision that was based solely on stereotypes and deeply held prejudices of Council members with the outcome of the decision being determined in advance by those prejudices. Doug Routley has endorsed this by giving “kudos” to the City Council. He not only stands alongside a member of City Council who compares Christianity with Boko Haram but he has added his own comparison with the “Klu Klux Clan”.
Is this a preview of what an NDP government would bring us?
To try to pin this attitude on the NDP is as sorry a proposition as painting Levant as a fascist. There is no winner in this deep doo-doo.
Both MP Crowder and MLA Routley are NDP members and are complicit through their support for the City Council decision and the bigotry and prejudice shown by Council members in the matter. The only fascism in this case is that shown by 8 members of Council who relied upon hearsay, denied due process and expressed deeply held prejudice in using government power to suppress the rights of a minority.
With viewing only the video and witnessing the disgusting behaviour of 8 council members it would be fair comment to refer to them as “a bunch of ignorant hicks”. However, there is more than ignorance involved here. I suggest that they were so self-righteous and confident in their action that they thought they were above challenge, even with an irrefutable video of their actions. Many human rights abusers have maintained good records of their work. This Council is just one more.
I find it sad that this blog & the press has been inudated by manufactured outrage by those who complain of their religious feelings being hurt in the name of free speach.
Where are these people when council hides behind closed doors making dubious decisions?
Where is this vocal minority when we discus,demonstrate or attend political meetings?
They are nowhere to be seen; they are a one issue minority group.
I believe it no coincidence that there have been letters from MP Lunney & the regiously offended of Nanaimo that castigate Council & others that lead, and believe in,a secular exsitsence .
To class this episode as a human right abuse is frankly an over the top knee jerk reaction.
Perhaps if all council members are condemed to eternal damnation , what ever that is, the compainants will go home watch 100 Huntley street & sleep much better.
Meantime the rest of use will express our individuality on this blog ,letters to the editor,or whatever public venue we choose.
Needless to say we will contribute more to the workings of this city & RDN than they ever will outside a pankake breakfast.
No one is so blind as he who will not see.
“…class this episode as a human right abuse is frankly an over the top…”
Man! You haven’t been paying attention to Human Rights Commissions in Canada for the past decade, have you? Shocking overreaction is the norm, except that it is followed by the crushing force of law.
Note this event if you wish to comment to Mr. Levant
UPDATE: Ezra Levant in Nanaimo on July 2
We have blown the whistle and exposed the anti-Christian bigotry at Nanaimo city council. The response from Canadians has been overwhelming and together we are being heard. But the discriminatory motion passed by council on May 5th is still on the books. We can’t let up yet.
On Wednesday July 2nd I will be traveling to Nanaimo to talk to residents and continue the fight for religious freedom.
If you will be in the Nanaimo area please come and stop to say hello. I’ll be at Nanaimo City Hall 455 Wallace Street from 12:00 noon until 12:30 pm local time. I would love to meet you and hear what you think about this outrage. I’ll bring the Timbits – come on down and let me know what you think!
I hope to see you in Nanaimo!
While the action of Council was not a “human rights abuse”, it was an unnecessary assault on free speech and freedom of religion. Councillor Pattje’s comments about not permitting “divisiveness” is the beginning of a very slippery slope indeed. On that basis would he argue that the Conference Centre should be off limits to all political and religious groups? How would he respond if Greenpeace or Enbridge wanted to use the facility. What about an atheist group or a humanist group – which, of course, have views which are very divisive from the perspective of some people?. Based on the Pattje Test all or most religious groups – whether conservative Christian, liberal Christian, fundamentalist or moderate Islamic, etc.should be off limits. .
As to that Ezra Levant – he is false crusader if there ever was one. He is vitriol from bottom to top and has a public stature only because his often extreme views coincide with certain elements of media ownership. He practices his own form of political correctness and he is quick to attach derogatory labels to all sorts of people and bodies who disagree with his world view.
An assault by government on free speech and freedom of religion is a “human rights abuse” if there ever was one.
Council will hold a Special Open Council meeting at the VICC tomorrow at 5pm to rescind the motion made and passed on May 5 to cancel the Leadercast event at the VICC on May 10. This meeting is open to the public and it is to be hoped that it will bring to an end this unfortunate event in Nanaimo’s journey to improvement.
It is wishful thinking to assume that rescinding the May 5 directive will bring the matter to and end. Nanaimo will still have 8 Council members with deeply held prejudices and an appalling lack of judgement, supported by an NDP MP and an NDP MLA. I don’t expect they will be rescinding or amending their support for the May 5 directive.
Deryk: Do you think they would have called a special meeting if they were not in substantial, if not complete, agreement?
“Improvement” will be a long road, which will include a basic reality check which you can thank certain media journalists. This shows me that wise words do not originate from the uniformed and those that lack the necessary wisdom to lead.
It has been pointed out to me that I am quoted in an article in the National Post:
that Council is “stupid”. I did speak to the author yesterday morning when he called from Victoria and my conversation with him was not complimentary in this matter (or in several others, for that matter). I did not record my conversation, and as he did not caution that he was recording it in any way other than by ear, I don’t believe that there is any way to determine the entire accuracy of the quote assigned to me.
I will not deny that I may have indicated that Council has made a number of decisions which I consider to flawed (i.e. stupid), but I certainly did not mean to state that our Council is stupid. We all do “stupid” things from time to time. This does not necessarily make us “stupid”. If Council or anyone has umbrage at my “quote”, then I apologize for it whether it was an unfortunate oversight on my part, or if I actually said it out of context. The rest of the quote about shooting from the hip and worrying later is an accurate summary of my feelings in the matter.
“Stupid is as stupid does”.
There is another story behind the story of Council members’ bigotry and it is about the silence of BC media in the matter before the story broke in the national media. Even now there is nothing being said about it in the Victoria TC or the Vancouver Sun. I suggest there is a media bias at work.
The decision was well reported in both local newspapers.
The , published, comments on the subject were ,all but one, condemning the decision.
Just how much retribution do you wish for?
The subject is hardly earth shattering.
Did you & your like; complain when Steven Harper denies science an appearence at hearings into climate change or fisheries?
I think that there is manufactured outrage by a small group wishing to further their cause.
Perhaps you are more intollerant than those you so accuse?
Still no coverage in the Van Sun or Times Colonist. There was belated coverage in the Nanaimo papers in reaction to a public energized by a Sun TV News story. It is somewhat obvious that the City Council decision and behaviour would have stood without the national coverage. Unfortunately, the intolerance of the NDP still stands as exemplified by MP Crowder and MLA Doug Routley who continue to support the Council directive.
So Council rescinded its May 5 motion by unanimous vote in spite of voices from the public gallery who wanted the bigotry, prejudice and censorship to continue. And Bestwick has given notice of a related motion to be considered at the next Council meeting. If the next motion maintains his and Council’s inclination to censor public events we will be back at square one and the lawsuits will continue.
If the next motion maintains his and Council’s inclination to censor public events we will be back at square one and the lawsuits will continue.
May I ask?
Who are ‘we’ and why do we need a lawsuit?
To what end & what recompence you you desire?
As the unanimous vote at the Special Council Meeting of July 3 has rescinded the offending motion of May 5, comments to this post, including my own unfinished piece, are closed. no more from new commentors will be accepted and those from regulars on the subject will be removed.
Council deserves our consideration for recognizing that their decision, made in haste, was wrong and having the fortitude to correct the situation. It is firmly to be hoped that similar situations may be recognized and that due diligence and forethought will in future be exercised before decisions are made.
The subject of the financial settlement in this matter may be the topic of a new post.
In a Facebook discussion with Coun. Mckay on July 5th, he says that “Council was suckered.”
In our discussion, I learned from Mckay that, apparently, the booking for the Leadercast event was “cancelled by the conference centre three days before the vote” … (the vote on Coun. Pattje’s motion at the May 5th COW meeting).
Deryk: The motion that Coun. Bestwick intends to bring forth at the Regular Council Meeting to be held July 14th, is apparently, about the need for a thorough investigation to take place. I asked Mckay if he will ensure that a report of the findings of said investigation is provided to the public and he said, “Absolutely!”
So … now it seems that council feels that it has been “suckered”. What about the rest of us?!!
In our discussion, I learned from Mckay that, apparently, the booking for the Leadercast event was “cancelled by the conference centre three days before the vote” … (the vote on Coun. Pattje’s motion at the May 5th COW meeting..
Surely this begs more questions than we have answers?
Did McKay know this when he voted against the decision?
I have contacted both the City and the Daily News for comment on the nature of any agreement should such exist -which it appears i does, I have heard that this information will be released this week. Hope my information is correct. This issue has reinfected the wound which was cauterized by rescinding the May 5 motion. How much are the taxpayers of Nanaimo supposed to pay for this gaffe?
Janet: I am allowing this comment as it deals with the contracts side of the issue. Does anyone have hard copies of the Daily News for May 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 or 7? Did the Daily News in fact print an ad cancelling the Leadercast event? And if so, when.
My online subscription removes access to issues after about a month.
On the front page of the July 5th edition of the Nanaimo Daily News it was announced that:
“Leadercast cancellation settlement reached
The Nanaimo Daily News and the City of Nanaimo have reached a settlement in regards to the circumstances regarding city council’s decision to cancel the Daily News sponsored Leadercast event May 9 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
The settlement is representative of a portion of the costs of canceling the Leadercast event in terms of lost sponsorship revenue, ticket sales, and promotion of the event.
In an effort to diffuse the situation concerning the event with an eye towards restoring Nanaimo’s international and national reputation, the Daily News has offered to allow the city to broadcast the Leadercast event, in its entirety, in taped format, at the VICC in an as yet to be determined date, which the city of Nanaimo has accepted.”
There was no mention of the sums involved or whether any and all claims arising from this situation have been settled. These issues.will be dealt with in a new post after the release of this information by the City and the Nanaimo Daily News. Given Mayor Ruttan’s statements at the Special Open Council Meeting on July 3, it should be available on July 7.
The following email was sent this morning to Council and to the Daily News. I have had no reply nor seen anything in the DN or the City’s web site.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Both your parties in the Leadercast fiasco have given the public assurances that when a final settlement in the affair is reached that the public will be informed of the nature of that settlement. It was reported in the Daily News last Saturday that a settlement had been reached. I have examined the Daily News this morning as well as the City’s web site for details of the settlement to no avail. Can you please explain?
Thank you for your prompt attention.
The Nanaimo City Council fiasco and public response to it reminds me of that famous quote:
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. ”
Wendell Phillips, 1852
The recent letter from the BCCLA to Nanaimo City Council is now posted on the BCCLA website. I wonder if Councillor Anderson has read it.
Please indicate where it is to be found on the bccla web site http://www.bccla.org
I looked for it but could not find… But then sometimes I can overlook the obvious… just as I overlooked the implication for the followers of Abraham in the May 5 motion as I concentrated on the human rights issues.
I went to http://www.bccla.org and located letter from the BCCLA to Nanaimo City Council by using the site’s search function to search the site for the word “nanaimo”. Letter is accompanied by a post dated July 4, 2014, “BCCLA writes to Nanaimo city council condemning censorship and cancellation of planned conference”. It’s under the heading, “Our Work”.
Thanks Janet….. I found the letter at::
Click to access 2014-07-04-Letter-to-Nanaimo-Council-re-banned-conference.pdf
Interestingly when I first tried to shortcut to http://www.bccla.ca I got to the Chinese Language Association of BC and only when I entered the full http version of the early did I get to the BC Civil Liberties Association.
When will someone publicly challenge MLA Doug Routley for giving “kudos” to City Council for its May 5 directive?
Ezra at his “best”
When will this pestilence be over. The video of the Council meeting of July 14 has been redacted. The missing piece is of the reading of Councillor Bestwick’s Notice of motion. The offending piece of video follows a brief discussion of the motion and can be seen at:
The text of the Notice of Motion is as follows:
CITY OF NANAIMO
NOTICE OF MOTION
WHEREAS the City of Nanaimo entered into a contract for services with Vancouver Island Conference Centre Management Company (“VICC Operator”) to operate the Vancouver Island Conference Centre (“VICC”) on behalf of the City of Nanaimo and that neither City Staff nor Council have authority over the day-to-day operations of VICC by the VICC Operator;
WHEREAS the VICC Operator entered into one or more contracts with the Nanaimo Daily News and Coast Capital Credit Union (“Event Sponsors”) for purposes of simulcasting the Leadercast conference on May 9, 2014 (“Leadercast Event”);
WHEREAS Councillor Pattje advised City Staff that he would be bringing forward a motion on May 5, 2014 to cancel the Leadercast Event (“Leadercast Motion”);
WHEREAS there are conflicting statements at Council meetings on May 5, 2014, June 16, 2014 and July 3, 2014 about communications regarding the Leadercast Event among City Staff, the Event Sponsors, the VICC Operator and some members of Council prior to May 5, 2014 and afterwards;
WHEREAS the City Manager and Manager of Legislative Services are responsible for providing advice to Council regarding compliance with applicable federal and provincial laws, City bylaws, and City policies, and on May 5, 2014 City Staff added the Leadercast Motion as a late item under Other Business as 11(a);
AND WHEREAS the Mayor has made public statements that Council will report openly and transparently on the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast Event and that a similar vote will never happen again;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. Council strike a task force to conduct an investigation of the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast on or before May 5, 2014 and report back to Council before August 31, 2014;
2. City Staff be directed to cooperate fully with the investigation by providing all relevant records; and
3. City Staff be directed to seek the cooperation of the VICC Operator and Event Sponsors in order to make a full accounting of the facts and where necessary seek consents to waive confidentiality arrangements.
1. Council appoint an independent investigator to conduct an investigation of the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast on or before May 5, 2014 and report back to Council before August 31, 2014;
2. City Staff be directed to cooperate fully with the investigation by providing all relevant records on a confidential basis and support to the independent investigator;
3. City Staff be directed to seek the cooperation of the VICC Operator and Event Sponsors in order to make a full accounting of the facts and where necessary seek consents to waive confidentiality arrangements.
4. The independent investigator must demonstrate that he or she has no prior business dealings with the City of Nanaimo, City Staff, the VICC Operator, Council or the Event Sponsors; and
5. Any requests made by the independent investigator to City of Nanaimo under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC) and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw be given top priority.
Recommended options for an independent investigator:
o Honourable Brian Peckford, former Premier of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
o Mr. Mike Patterson, former Council member, the City of Cranbrook, from 1979 to 1999, the last nine years as Mayor; or
o Mr. Jonathan Baker, Legal Counsel of Baker and Baker, and former Alderman, the City of Vancouver, serving from 1986 – 1992.
Recommended options for a task force:
o Councillors Johnstone, Bestwick and McKay; and
o Exclude any City Staff that may be in a conflict of interest – City Manager, Manager of Legislative Services and General Manager Corporate Services.
I have also written to the Ombudsperson regarding the right of City Hall to redact a public record, i.e. the video of the Council meeting. I will report back when I hear from that Office.
There was always the rumor that the event was to be cancelled.
Now I hear that only SIX people had signed up for the event!
If so then manufactured outrage is what it was all about; but to who’s benefit?
How many real dollars of lost tax revenues per imaginary person?
Over $10,000.per person.
My concern is that if the conference was to be cancelled then why the fuss?
Why pay the NDN for a conference about to be cancelled?
Why the manufactured outrage?
Whilst council smells there are more rotten eggs out there!!
Perhaps the left hand don’t know what the right hand do? I don’t imagine Humpty Dumpty would have much of a chance what with all the commotion and such. They are a rather swashbuckling bunch don’t you think?
Council & staff exsist in a parrallel universe; coming together once every four years.
They are quite predictable ; rarely any surprises.
I suspect that the Leadership debacle was, in part, stoked by Mark McDonald who I believe is going to be promoting Bill Makay as the next mayor.
The NDN interest in the Leadership debate is deeper than a news story!
Trailblazer 18 September 2014 at 1pm said: “Now I hear that only SIX people had signed up for the event!”
The Report to City Council of August 11, 2014 regarding “Chronology of Events re Leadercast Event Cancellation”, advises that in a phone conversation between City Staff, (Howat and Swabey), and Ms. Rosato-Taylor of the Nanaimo Daily News, Staff had been informed that the NDN had sold about 50 tickets.
Understand that the tel/con took place on Monday, May 5th, right before the scheduled May 5th Committee of the Whole meeting. The Leadercast event was to take place on Friday, May 9th and it is public knowledge that Ms. E.T. Turner of the VI Rainbow Association, apparently, started her contact with city council on the evening of Thursday, May 1, 2014, when she emailed Coun. Brennan at 10:03 p.m. to express “shock and dismay” that the event had been scheduled at the VICC. The chronology also indicates that, apparently, Turner emailed Coun. Pattje on Friday, May 2 at 10:21 a.m.
Wonder if the activist, who apparently moved here from Tacoma, Washington, was pleased with the political scandal that resulted from her efforts?
Will we ever get the independent examination of the events leading up to the cancellation? Why or why not???
Not much point.
All involved have already covered their tracks.
Those responsible for making a mountain from a molehill have either left town(Ezra)
are waiting further instructions( the evangelists) or are counting profits rather than losses(Mark MacDonald/NDN.
Council,at least, will have the benefit of the experience and are unlikely to make a similar mistake; not for a few years anyway.
If anything has come from this is to realise why Council &staff are so untrusting of the NDN who are in the profit (whatever it takes) business not the news business.
After the obtrusive advertisement; may I suggest a discussion on the many persons wishing to be mayor of this fair Towne!
Tongue in cheek.
We have so many candidates for the Mayors position ; Brunnie Brunnie may sneak up the middle & win!!!
Truth be known.
The developers are still out to suck on the taxpayers teet!!
Did you mean the potato sack race? One potato, two potato, three potato, four………….ten in all with some of them still pushing for an incinerator after 12,000 people already said no!
If you at first , don’t succeed then try try again.
Eventually you will find someone asleep at the wheel.