Given the immediate, sustained outrage with which Rebel Media commander Ezra Levant reacted to the news that one-time teenaged Guatanamo Bay detainee — or, as Levant puts it, “convicted, confessed Al-Qaida terrorist” — Omar Khadr was set to hit the speakers’ circuit for the first time since he was released from prison in 2015, it’s no surprise that Levant would head to Halifax to cover Khadr’s planned appearance at a panel discussion on child soldiers at Dalhousie University.
What neither Levant nor Khadr may have expected, however, was that their paths would cross well before either made it to the venue, courtesy of a morning Air Canada flight from Toronto to Halifax.
“Little did I know that Khadr would be on the same plane as me, just a few rows ahead of me,” Levant reported to his followers, first in near real-time via Twitter and later through an update to the Rebel website.
“He was sitting first class — that’s what you can do when Justin Trudeau gives you $10.5 million,” Levant claimed.
While he admitted that he hadn’t initially recognized Khadr on boarding “because he hid his face from me,” he realized who he was when they landed in Halifax, at which point he had a few questions for both a nearby flight attendant and the co-pilot, namely: “Why was an Al Qaida terrorist allowed on a plane? Why wasn’t the no-fly list being enforced?”
Neither, as per Levant, “had any idea,” although it’s worth noting that at no point did the pugnacious YouTube host offer any evidence that Khadr was, in fact, on the no-fly list at all.
Undaunted by the lack of a clear response from the air personnel, Levant then found himself standing just a few feet from Khadr and “a group of his local fans who had come to meet him at the airport,” at which point he decided to approach him directly and ask for an interview, the resulting video footage of which he subsequently posted online.
While Khadr doesn’t say much beyond asking Levant if he “wants to take a selfie together” before he and his entourage attempt to walk away, Levant soon finds himself facing off against several airport security personnel, one of whom he accuses of “assault” for allegedly touching him, and another he calls a “goddamn disgrace” for blocking his attempt to approach Khadr outside the terminal.
Or, as he put it: “Police threatened to arrest me. Not Khadr, the Al Qaida terrorist — me. They called me a danger. I didn’t touch him or block him or swear at him — I tried to ask him some basic questions. The police literally grabbed me and pushed me … Canadian police protecting an Al Qaida terrorist’s ‘right’ to fly on a passenger plane.”
The brief standoff was sufficiently unsettling for Levant to make one of his signature moves: start a petition drive, in this to press Public Safety Minister Bill Blair for answers on why Khadr was allowed to fly: “Is that a special favour that Trudeau did for him?”
In any case, Levant eventually made it to the event, where, he recounted later, he was “immediately targeted by a whack of campus security and Halifax police,” all of which he captured, once again, on his trusty phone, and is mostly comprised of Levant bickering with organizers over whether he should be allowed to attend the event, and suggesting that refusing to honour his ticket constitutes a “breach of contract.”
As it turned out, Levant was ultimately allowed into the theatre, where he provided running tweeted commentary on what he saw as a deliberate attempt by the university to squelch any pointed questioning of Khadr.
Levant’s back-and-forth with local law enforcement came shortly after Rebel’s Toronto-based “mission specialist” David Menzies announced that he was “suing the cops” — and specifically, York Regional Police Service — after officers prevented him from approaching Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Ron McLean over his failure to stand by his former Coach’s Corner co-host Don Cherry.
“I was pushed, shoved, put in a bear hug,” Menzies contends, whose initial statement claim asks for $50,000 in damages.
“And my crime was practising journalism in the public square? Seriously. What those cops did was against the law; contrary to my Charter Rights, and even in violation of a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision that prohibits the police from acting in such a manner.”
(A few days later, Menzies finally got the opportunity to buttonhole MacLean during a remote shoot in Ottawa.)
Back in #Wexit country, the Rebel team has officially “re-platformed” controversial Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, who will headline a Rebel-hosted evening event in Regina in May.
For those who missed the initial coverage, Moore was abruptly disinvited from a conference on sustainability organized by the City of Regina after environmental advocates raised concern over his scepticism towards widely accepted scientific theories on the link between emissions and climate change.
Meanwhile, Alberta Rebel contributor Sheila Gunn Reid offered up back-to-back examples of eyebrow-raising spending by the federal government.
First up, and with full Rebel kudos to Blacklocks Reporter for the original report, a $14.4 million grant to “support climate change news coverage” as part of the overarching media bailout package, which Gunn Reid suggests is basically “paid advertising masquerading as news,” despite at least one recipient organization stressing that its coverage of the issue would be balanced.
“Canadians have been unwittingly consuming bought and paid for Government propaganda and not one of Trudeau’s pet publishers divulged who they’ve been working for,” she warns, concluding with what is, for the Rebel, a fundamental tenet of faith: “You just can’t trust the mainstream media.”
Her second expense-related expose comes courtesy of an order paper response provided to New Democrat MP Don Davies and reveals the overall tab for food and drink on board the prime ministerial Challenger in 2019, which, as per the government response, tops out at $367,108.82 for food and $3,200 for “booze.”
That, she notes, works out to “203 bottles of wine and 157 beer for just 6 trips” — or, to “put it in context … the food on Trudeau’s six trips totalled more than the annual grocery bills for 30 Canadian families.”
Finally, as the Rebel crunches the numbers on Trudeau’s recent international travel, True North News has an update on Jaspal Atwal — or, as they put it, “the convicted terrorist and attempted assassin at the heart of Justin Trudeau’s disastrous India trip” — who, as per Candice Malcolm, was arrested in Surrey earlier this week after allegedly publicly threatening a former coworker.
A quick check on the progressive-left side of the media spectrum:
- Ricochet contributor Jerome Turner continues to provide updates and images from the frontlines of the Wet’suwet’en standoff in northern British Columbia, including a photo essay on “the day the RCMP came” to the Gidimt’en checkpoint and a full account of what went on within — and outside — the “media confinement zone,” including his own 8-hour detention by the RCMP.
- Back in Toronto, Rabble freelance contributor Anna Bianca Roach chronicles a Wet’suwet’en solidarity protest at Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office, where, she notes, Indigenous activists and youth eventually “chose not to take part in the meeting the minister had proposed,” as “reconciliation is dead.”
- Press Progress crunches the latest Stratcom polling numbers and concludes that “more than half of Ontario voters in Conservative-held ridings oppose Doug Ford’s cuts to education,” and a majority are “less inclined to support a Progressive Conservative candidate in the next election.”
That’s all for now, but we’ll be back next week with all new bulletins from across the activist media spectrum.