By: Ezra Levant
March 6, 2020:
Last October, Justin Trudeau’s hand-picked debates commission tried to block Rebel News reporters from covering the leaders debates. That was illegal censorship, of course, so we rushed to the Federal Court of Canada for an emergency injunction to stop Trudeau’s censorship.
We won that hearing, and Trudeau’s cronies had to back down. Our journalist went in.
Even more, the judge ordered that Trudeau had to pay a portion of our court costs. Our two free speech lawyers cost us $18,000. Trudeau has to pay us $5,500 — not enough to cover our costs, but at least a symbolic amount.
Which is precisely why Trudeau has refused to pay, despite repeated requests from our lawyers. Here, watch this quick video:
Trudeau paid the five lawyers who fought to keep us out of the debates $131,000. So why won’t he pay us $5,500 as required by law?
Because Trudeau thinks the law doesn’t apply to him — that’s why.
We’re going back to court on Monday, and this will be one of the things we’ll talk to the judge about. If you can help us cover the costs of our ongoing battle, please do by using the form below.
It’s not even about the money — although, unlike the CBC, we have to earn our money a dollar at a time, and $5,500 is nothing to sneeze at.
It’s about Trudeau simply refusing to comply with the laws that he doesn’t like. It’s becoming a pattern for him. And I think it’s up to us to expose that and fight that.
I promise I’ll keep you posted, and let you know how it goes on Monday.
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November 25, 2019:
I’ve just received huge news about our fight with Trudeau’s Debates Commission and it was too important to wait around — so I took to YouTube to explain what I’ve just learned.
November 14, 2019:
BREAKING NEWS: The Federal Court released its written ruling for Rebel News, against Trudeau — and it’s devastating!435031617-T-1631-19-T-1633-19-Reasons-for-Order
During the election, we won a huge victory against Justin Trudeau and his hand-picked election debates commission.
They accredited hundreds of reporters to attend the debates — including foreign journalists, like Al Jazeera — but they banned our Rebel News reporters (and our friends from True North, too).
We filed a long-shot, emergency lawsuit to the Federal Court, literally the morning of the first debate. And to our surprise, we won, with just hours to spare! Our reporters went and did a great job.
After the debates, Trudeau’s government lawyers filed an appeal of that great ruling — even though the debates were already over, and even though the official reasons for the judgement were published.
(How could Trudeau’s lawyers know that they wanted to appeal the ruling before they had even read it? Easy — they’re for censorship, no matter what.)
Well, today the Federal Court released their detailed reasons in that case. It’s a 23-page ruling, and it’s devastating.
You can read the entire decision above — but here are some of my favourite parts!
The court blasted the secrecy of how Trudeau’s debates commission, especially how they accredited their favourite liberal journalists, but banned conservatives journalists. The court said the debate commission’s decisions “are lacking in discernible rationality and logic, and thus are neither justified nor intelligible.”
Sounds like the court was describing Trudeau himself!
The court also rejected the excuse used to ban us, namely that we are “advocacy” journalists. The court quoted the Toronto Star’s left-wing mission statement, and said, “Absent any explanation as to the meaning to be given to the term “advocacy” and given that the Commission accredited some organizations that have engaged in advocacy, I am at a loss to understand why the Commission reached the decisions it did with respect to the Applicants.” (We’re the applicants.)
The court said Trudeau’s debate commission didn’t even give us a chance: “The process adopted by the Commission left the Applicants in the dark as to the basis on which accreditation might be denied, and in making the decision on the last possible day, entailed that they would have no opportunity to respond.”
There are too many gems to quote them all, but let me mention just one more: the court said that our Rebel lawyers — crowdfunded for by our viewers — were “excellent”!
Anyways, it’s great to read just a powerful endorsement of our freedom of the press. But remember — Trudeau is still appealing this ruling. There will be more legal fights to come.
Thank you for your help — and if you didn’t have a chance to help us at the hearing, please consider helping us cover the costs of the appeal — Trudeau had five lawyers in court last time, and I’m sure he’ll fight even harder now. Please use the form below to chip in to help our “excellent” lawyers!
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October 25, 2019
EMERGENCY NEWS: Moments ago — at 5 p.m. Eastern Time today (October 25), on a Friday night, just before the weekend — I received an urgent e-mail from our free speech lawyers.TOR01-8298908-v1-LDCIssued-Notice-of-Appeal-Rebel-News-Oct-17-2019
Justin Trudeau just served us with a notice of appeal to our Federal Court win. He’s sending lawyers to the Federal Court of Appeal to overturn our free speech victory in the campaign, the one that got us into the election debates.
He’s dead-set on banning our Rebel News journalists from ever covering political debates again.
Trudeau literally put five lawyers on the case to stop us from getting into the debate. He not only sent lawyers from the Debates Commission and the Justice Department, but he also splurged and hired one of the most expensive private law firms in the country, Borden Ladner Gervais.
There are so many Trudeau lawyers fighting against our little company right now, I’d laugh if it weren’t so serious.
Justin Trudeau hates us, and he desperately wants to silence us. He couldn’t buy us off, so he wants to shut us down.
It’s absurd that he’s appealing the emergency court order that we won. But he has his reasons: to grind us down, to set a precedent for the future, to stop us from ever asking him tough questions again.
We won a great victory for free speech in the Federal Court, and he wants to take that away from us — and from any other independent-minded journalist in the country who dares to criticize him.
It’s the first major decision Trudeau has made since his re-election: he’s going to restrict freedom of speech. Trudeau didn’t even wait for the Federal Court judge to publish their official decision, he’s appealing it sight unseen! In his notice of appeal, Trudeau is arguing that Rebel News cannot be journalists, because we don’t meet his standards.
Sorry, in Canada politicians don’t get to decide who is or isn’t a journalist. That’s not the Canadian way. That’s the Venezuelan way or the Iranian way.
I believe we will win this lawsuit in the end. But we’ve already had to spend $18,000 on our lawyers so far. And it’s clear that Trudeau’s strategy is to simply wear us out. After all, he can use the unlimited resources of the taxpayer.
We must fight back against this appeal. And we will. But can you please help us?
I hate to say it — this appeal will cost us $50,000 to $75,000. That’s just how much an appeal costs. Normally you’d have civil liberties groups intervening to help us, but none of them believes in free speech for conservatives. It’s just us.
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October 21, 2019
Recently, Rebel News won a big victory against the Debates Commission, which wanted to ban our reporters from the federal leaders’ debates. Meet David Elmaleh and Aaron Rosenberg, the legal team who won our last-minute injunction:
October 8, 2019
We beat Justin Trudeau’s censorious government in federal court on Monday after they tried to ban us from attending the federal leaders’ debate, and almost immediately after, Rebel’s Keean Bexte got his shot to challenge the party leaders in the post-debate media scrum.
Keean’s question to Trudeau has been viewed over half a million times! And it’s not hard to see why — it was honest, hard-hitting, and fair.
He asked Trudeau if he’d had the gall to speak to any African or Middle Eastern leaders in the wake of his outrageous blackface scandal, and guess what: Trudeau turned himself into a pretzel to avoid answering, and in doing so, ranted on about “global warming”. What a phoney.
Here, check it out:
Thanks to our court victory earlier in the day, Rebel News and our Truth North allies put more questions to the leaders than CBC, CTV and Global combined!
We told you that we were going to push the needle in the right direction — and that’s exactly what we did. We had the biggest impact out of any media outlet in the country.
But the government is telling us that they’ll fight to overturn our court victory. And the judge said that Trudeau only has to pay us for yesterday’s battle if we win the bigger judicial review that’s still to come, so we’re still out of pocket by $10,000, and we’ll surely need around $100,000 to fight on.
If you can, please use the form below to help us out.
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October 7, 2019
I can’t believe it! We won!
Freedom of the press won! Justin Trudeau and his government censors lost!
Just moments ago, Justice Russel Zinn of the Federal Court of Canada ordered Trudeau’s hand-picked debates commission to let in our reporters Keean Bexte and David Menzies!
They’re walking in as we speak!
Only us at Rebel News and our friends at True North were in court fighting for freedom. Every other media company in Canada was content to let Trudeau’s government decide who is or isn’t a journalist. They’ve all sold out.
Same thing for the so-called civil liberties groups and reporters groups. Not one of them was there with us — in fact, Trudeau’s lawyers cited the Canadian Association of Journalists against us!
It’s a huge victory.
But the bigger battle remains. You see, this was just an emergency injunction — for tonight’s debate.
But the larger judicial review of Trudeau’s debates commission has yet to be heard.
The government tells us they’re going to fight tooth and nail to overturn this. Not by trying to stop us from getting in tonight — too late for that. But they are prepared to literally spend millions of dollars defending Trudeau’s scheme where he and his cronies alone get to decide who is and isn’t a journalist.
Trudeau had five lawyers in court today. They probably spent $100,000 trying to censor us. They lost this battle. But now they’re gearing up for the big war.
I just got off the phone with my lawyer. He worked all weekend on this case with no sleep — now he’s going to take a nap! But he says the big fight is still to come.
And you can bet that Trudeau will fight like a cornered animal now.
So we’ve won this round. But there are more rounds to go.
I promise you we will fight till the end.
Normally the judge awards legal costs to the winner. But in this case, the judge says Trudeau only has to pay us for today’s battle if we win the bigger judicial review battle to come. So we’re still out the $10,000 that today’s hearing cost; and we’ll surely have $100,000 or more to fight the final battle — the one where we’ll get to see all the sordid emails between Trudeau’s debate commission and the press gallery, scheming about how to keep us out!
But for now, let’s celebrate our victory — and thank you for believing in us, and for believing in freedom.
And if you haven’t had a chance to chip in for our legal bills, it’s not too late — please use the form below to help. The bigger battle is still to come — please help us with that if you can, too.
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Ezra Levant suing for debate access: Government “says we’re advocates,” not real journalists
October 7, 2019
I’m writing to you from the Federal Court in downtown Toronto.
Because on Friday, Justin Trudeau’s hand-picked debate commission banned Rebel News reporters from even attending the only English-language debate in this election.
He deliberately waited until the very last day — Friday — before telling us we’re banned.
I think they wanted us to give up.
Instead, we immediately hired a law firm to work all weekend putting together an emergency lawsuit for an injunction, to get a judge to override Trudeau’s censorship.
But the government hired at least three lawyers to work all weekend to fight us. Here’s their huge legal response — they obviously spared no expense. They really, really want to ban us.
But here’s the strange part: in their case, they list all of the reporters that they DID accredit. Including:
* nearly a dozen foreign reporters, from Germany, Switzerland, France, The Philippines, Vietnam and even Qatar’s state broadcaster, Al Jazeera
* activist reporters on the left, including extremists from the National Observer and an NDP activist named Justin Ling
* dozens and dozens of reporters from Trudeau’s CBC state broadcaster
There is literally no criterion by which we could be excluded but those other reporters be allowed in. Other than one: we’re conservative, and they’re not.
I’ll let you know how we do in court — wish us luck.
This isn’t just about Rebel News (or Andrew Lawton, another conservative journalist who was banned, who will be in court with us today too). It’s about freedom of the press for all Canadians — and whether or not Justin Trudeau gets to determine who is a journalist and who isn’t.
P.S. We don’t get a dime of government money — so we’re fighting these three government lawyers with our own funds. If you can spare $10 or $100 — whatever you can — please donate at the bottom of this page.
P.P.S. I think the most disappointing part of this is that not a single other media company and not a single civil liberties group has lifted a finger to fight this. They really don’t believe in free speech anymore — they’re more interested in getting their slice of Trudeau’s $600 million media bailout. We’ll never take a dime from Trudeau which is why he hates us.
We’re taking Trudeau’s debate commission to court tomorrow, for banning our reporters. Read our lawsuit here.
October 6, 2019
It’s one thing for Justin Trudeau to ban Rebel News reporters from his own private Liberal Party events. It shows a thin skin and a disrespect for democracy, and a hostility towards the millions of Canadians who don’t think exactly like him. But I suppose it’s his right.
But Trudeau’s hand-picked debates commission has banned our Rebel News reporters from attending the government-run leaders debate being held tomorrow.
It’s a government-run debate, paid for by tax dollars, and it’s the only English-language debate that the coward Trudeau has agreed to participate in.
No wonder he want to keep our reporters out!
Trudeau also banned Andrew Lawton, from True North. No surprise there — Andrew is independent and conservative, two things Trudeau can’t stand.
Well, along with Andrew, we’re going to court tomorrow morning, Monday, October 7.
Our lawyers have been working all weekend on an emergency court application. Last night we filed our “Notice of Application”. It’s a short document as lawsuits go — just ten pages — and it’s in plain English, not too much legalese.
We sent a “Notice of Application” to the Federal court.
In addition to this, we’ll have more legal filings including a sworn affidavit from me, outlining what Trudeau’s debate commission has done to us; a “book of authorities”, which is a list of past court cases that show that Trudeau’s ban is both illegal and unprecedented.
Trudeau deliberately waited until the very last day to tell us we were banned, so that challenging him in court would be difficult.
It is difficult. But not impossible. Our lawyers have been working all weekend, and we’ll be there in court on Monday morning.
If you agree with me that this is outrageous censorship by the Liberal government — and if you’re shocked that not one single mainstream media organization has even reported about this ban, let alone is standing with us — then please help us.
As you know, I had to pay our lawyers $10,000 to get them to drop everything and work all weekend on this emergency application. If you can help us cover that legal bill, please do by making a donation at the bottom of this page.
Of course, both Trudeau’s debate commission AND Trudeau’s Justice Department are sending government lawyers to block us. They have unlimited resources at the taxpayer’s expense. We rely 100 per cent on our viewers.
Please help us out if we can — and in return, I promise we’ll fight like hell.
Wish us luck tomorrow in court!
And by the way:
We’re sending our reporters, Keean Bexte and David Menzies, to the debates tomorrow night anyways.
And if the police handcuff them, well, that’s something that all Canadians need to see, to realize how far we’ve fallen as a country under Trudeau.
October 4, 2019
This Monday is the only English language election debate that Justin Trudeau will participate in. But his hand-picked debate commission has banned our reporters, and other conservative media from even attending to debate.
Our journalists, Keean Bexte and David Menzies each applied. I personally wrote to the gatekeepers myself, weeks ago. But only today — right before the weekend, and the debate itself is on Monday — did they have the courtesy to even write back. And they flatly refused us permission.
Permission? It’s a free country. That’s all the permission we need. We don’t need special permission to cover the only debate that the prime minister deigns to participate in. It’s our right. Understand what I mean here. We’re not applying to be one of the debate “moderators”, who were selected by Trudeau’s hand-picked debate commissioner.
We know we’d never be allowed to actually ask Trudeau a question in the debate — we might ask something tough. But this ban means we won’t even be allowed in the building, we won’t even be allowed in the big holding room with hundreds of other reporters.
We’re banned. By the government. Not by any political party. By the government itself. That’s illegal.
And the excuse they gave? You can see the one line explanation offered by the Press Gallery: “It is our view that your organization is actively involved in advocacy.”
What does that mean? That we have a point of view? But so do all the journalists on that panel. Keean and David do real reporting every day. And like I’ve told you before, these same gatekeepers personally approved journalists from Xinhua, the China Communist Party’s propaganda organ. They’ll let anyone in — except conservatives.
They’ve done this to Andrew Lawton, too, the journalist from True North. They’re keeping out anyone who leans conservative.
WE’RE FIGHTING BACK IN COURT
Both True North and Rebel News have decided to seek an emergency court injunction on Monday morning, to stop Trudeau’s hand-picked debates commission from keeping us out of the building. We’re going to court.
I spoke at length with our lawyers today. They’re going to work all weekend to get ready; the emergency application is on Monday in court in Toronto. You’re welcome to attend — I’ll be there personally, as will our team.
CAN YOU HELP US?
I’d appreciate the moral support. But I actually need your help. In order to get this law firm to go on an emergency basis, to work all weekend, I had to send them a retainer of $10,000. I know that sounds high, but it’s two lawyers and their staff, all weekend, and a big application on Monday. That’s how much it costs. Remember, the government has unlimited lawyers on their side — paid for by your tax dollars.
This really is David and Goliath.
Please chip in using the form below. Help me raise the $10,000. This is about freedom of the press; it’s about making the election campaign more democratic and meaningful; and it’s about stopping Trudeau’s bizarre war on journalists that he seems to be getting away with during this campaign, and that no-one else is stopping him. Well, we’re going to stop him.
Thank you for your support.