Remember: Whatever the gov’t pays for, the gov’t will one day seek to totally control
If nobody has yet started an inventory of history’s most regretted words, somebody should.
VIDEO: [Vlogger Ima Stoner] How the $595-million bailout is impacting Canada’s traditional fourth estate: very telling sample of questions where hard-hitting, Liberally-slanted questions are being asked to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer while throwing softball questions to PM Justin Trudeau. [Aug 13, 2019]
You know what I mean by “regretted words.” General Douglas MacArthur on the imminent end of the Korean War: “Everybody will be home by Christmas.” (They weren’t. The war went on for another two and a half years.) Or France’s senior generals when told that Britain would continue fighting despite France’s surrender: “In three weeks Britain will have her neck wrung like a chicken.” (It wasn’t. Britain fought on and eventually won.)
This month we got one fine addition for its Canadian section.
In the Canadian case, the regretted words are not of such historical dimension. They are those of Paul Godfrey, chief executive officer of Postmedia Network, when he learned that the Trudeau government was going to spend $595,000,000 saving Canada’s “trusted” news organizations from financial ruin. “I tip my hat to the prime minister and finance minister,” exulted Godfrey. “They deserve a lot of credit. Everyone in journalism should be doing a victory lap around their building right now.”
But few were, and with good reason. Who was to decide who gets the money and on what basis? The Ottawa answer envisioned a committee of media people, named by the government and yet preserving an “arm’s length relationship” between the government and those actually running the media news organizations that they came out of.
Skeptical critics noted that all this was getting under way in the opening days of a federal election campaign. Was this wise, they wondered. Those in the sitting Liberal government seeking re-election thought it was eminently wise. Those running against it thought it was “dangerous” and said so. Dangerous how, some asked. The $595 million would save the jobs of hundreds of journalists. Was it not possible that this might occur to them as they cover the campaign and pivotally affect what they wrote? Well now, certainly that was possible, but surely journalists are a species above such muckraking. (Yeah, right.)
Finally someone became candid enough to ask the question nobody else dared to raise, namely “What about Ezra Levant and his Rebel Media? Were they going to share in the subsidy?” Government spokespeople hastened to answer the question. No, there would be no subsidy for Ezra. The program was confined to “trusted” media. Ezra’s work pretty much defined what they meant by “non-trusted” media – non-trusted particularly by Liberals.
It was this that initiated the celebrated “Slut Issue.” There appeared on the web, almost simultaneously with the rise of the Ezra case, a televised interview in which Ezra seemed to be describing the mother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “a slut.” When challenged about this Ezra vehemently denied he had said this about Margaret Trudeau, wife of Pierre and mother of Justin. It was not Margaret but Pierre himself that he had described as a “slut,” said Ezra.
Now there is a problem with this. According to both Oxford and Webster, the term “slut” can only apply to a female. There can be no such thing as a male slut. His critics may call Trudeau Senior many bad things, but being a slut isn’t one of them. It seems that they will have to deny themselves the satisfaction of this accusation.
So does this end the controversy over the federal subsidy to the news media? Not by a long shot. When I see the rejoicing of a man like Paul Godfrey, whose experience of both business and politics is monumental, I’m reminded of the similar rejoicing of Catholic Christians in Alberta, when the Lougheed government, supported fully by the Liberal opposition, announced generous provincial aid for the Catholic schools. Some sourpuss Christians at the time raised a warning. What the government pays for it will seek to control, they said. This was deemed nonsense and dismissed.
Fast forward forty-eight years, and behold, we have just had four years of an NDP government in which the minister of education dictated to the Catholic schools what they shall and shall not teach in their sex-ed courses, much of it totally at odds with Christian principles. But if they refuse, the government will cut off their funding, which they are now totally dependent on. Beware, Mr. Godfrey, of politicians bearing gifts. They sometimes have an undeclared but nonetheless very steep price.