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.