During the 2008 election campaign, popular CBC radio personality Leslie Hughes, was running for the Liberal Party in the Winnipeg riding riding of Kildonan—St. Paul, against Conservative incumbent Joy Smith. A close friend of Stockwell Day, Smith had managed his successful Alliance Party leadership contest in 2000, for her area.
The day after the deadline for presenting candidates, the B'Nai Brith launched a formal complaint against Ms Hughes, claiming that in an old blog posting she had suggested that 9/11 was the result of a Jewish conspiracy. And they were supported in their claim by Conservative Peter Kent.
It was all nonsense. I have read the blog posting in question, and there is absolutely nothing in it that could be deemed anti-Semitic. See for yourself. She was only reacting to the "friendly fire" death of 4 Canadian soldiers.
But the media had a field day with it and Stephen Dion had little choice but to ask her to step down. She is now suing both Peter Kent and B'Nai Brith and I hope she nails them to the wall. This was a character assassination that not only cost her the election but her career, as few in the media want to hire her now that she is deemed to be anti-Semitic.
Omar Alghabra was a former Liberal MP for the riding of Mississauga-Erindale, and is a wonderful man. I've had the opportunity to speak with him on-line and he is intelligent, funny and a champion of human rights.
But in 2005, immediately after winning his party's nomination, he was the victim of a smear campaign, in which several people claimed that in his victory speech he commented: "This is a victory for Islam! Islam won! Islam Won!" It wasn't true, and those involved were forced to publicly apologize. But that didn't stop neocon insider Tim Powers from trashing him publicly and calling him anti-Semitic.
Omar lost his seat in 2008 to Alliance party faithful Bob Dechert, but will be running again. I am so pleased. Dechert is a disaster.
Canadian Coalition for Democracies
The Canadian Coalition for Democracies was a group founded to incite hatred against Islamic Canadians, in a large part, by erroneously labelling public figures, anti-Semitic. They also lent support to Ezra Levant in his battle over publishing the horrendous Danish Cartoons.
Peter Kent was a founding member and Tony Clement was head of their Advisory Board. They were extremely pro-Israel:
The CCD generally supported the policies of the Conservative Party government of Stephen Harper, and the organization's leadership has urged its members to view support for the Conservative Party of Canada as equivalent to support for Israel. (Wikipedia)The group also supported the controversial Falun Gong and a continued Canadian involvement in Afghanistan.
Other members of the group included:
Michael Mostyn: the Director of Government Relations for B'nai Brith Canada. When Ralph Reed, founder of the Christian Coalition, spoke in Canada to drum up support for Stephen Harper, Mostyn was in attendance and he ran unsuccessfully for the party himself.
Rochelle Wilner: past president of B'nai Brith Canada and the Conservative Party's federal candidate for York Centre.
Naresh Raghubeer: founder and former executive director of the of the CDD. In November 2004, the CCD, along with Stockwell Day, held a press conference calling the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) of having links to the terrorist organization Hamas and of providing financial support to them. Subsequently, IRFAN-Canada filed a defamation claim against CCD officials Alastair Gordon and Naresh Raghubeer, as well as against Stockwell Day. IRFAN-Canada firmly held that the accusations were "false and malicious" and, to paraphrase their lawyer, wanted to clear their name from the allegations.
Raminder Singh Gill: Former member of Mike Harris's government, he has ran unsuccessfully for a spot in the Harper caucus. He has however, been given a patronage position under Jason Kenney, where he acts as a citizenship judge. The same citizenship department that says "no Muslims".
David Harris: is a Canadian lawyer and former senior fellow with the CCD. He was chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and has suggested that Canada's immigration policy encourages the use of Canada as a base for terrorists, and has consistently advocated for harsher Canadian laws to combat terrorism. He is an outspoken defender of the Canadian government's use of security certificates to detain terrorism suspects without trial.
Salim Mansur: is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario and a contributor to the conservative blog Proud To Be Canadian, the same blog where American Anne Coulter has found a home. He is also featured on the documentary Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West produced by the David Horowitz Freedom Center and ran unsuccessfully for the Canadian Alliance party in 2000.
Peter Kent and Canwest Global
The late media mogul, Izzy Asper, hated the CBC. And he especially hated Neil Macdonald, the CBC's Middle East correspondent from 1998 to 2003, who contradicted his notion of Israel as a victim.
Macdonald was based in Jerusalem for five years, and was not shy about injecting his opinions on the Arab-Israeli conflict into his reports. His bosses back in Toronto were supportive. "To suggest that most of the world's media are involved in a conspiracy against Israel, it's just a totally extreme conception on Asper's part," declared Tony Burman, then head of CBC News. "There is something profoundly ironic about being told off about media bias by someone like Izzy Asper." This was a thinly veiled reference to the Aspers' practice of urging their papers to publish company-written editorials that expressed their owner's views ... (1)And MacDonald was appalled that Asper's employees allowed their boss to engage in the suppression of journalism, which only escalated Asper's attacks against him, though he was not surprised.
"I expect more bullying, more bombast, more ideological, anti-journalistic nonsense. I used to work for the newspapers they now own. Several of my ex-colleagues, still there, tell me they find the Aspers' approach to journalism an embarrassment. But they cannot speak publicly. Thank heavens I can." (1)And the bias in Asper's papers and television reporting didn't go unnoticed by others.
Asper's diatribe garnered him respect among Canada's Jewish community but condemnation elsewhere. British journalist Robert, Fisk, who writes for the Independent and had been a long-time critic of Israeli policies, labelled Asper's speeches "gutless and repulsive. "These vile slanders," he said, "are familiar to any reporter trying to do his work on the ground in the Middle East. They are made ever more revolting by inaccuracies." Fisk specifically took issue with Asper's interpretation of British-Palestinian history—pointing out that, for example, the expression used in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 was "a national home for the Jewish people," rather than a "Jewish State," as Asper had suggested.Eventually after fighting for freedom of the press, many of Izzy's journalists just refused to write anything at all about Israel. Peter C. Newman in his book Izzy, says "At the same time, there was no question that the worst form of censorship in this kind of editorial climate was the self-censorship writers and editors applied to their assignments and their copy, usually by avoiding the subject entirely."
More to the point, Asper didn't give a damn. He practised what he preached. Canwest Global was "unabashedly pro-Israel," declared Murdoch Davis, who spent several years as Canwest's Winnipeg-based editor-in-chief. He wasn't kidding. (1)
But one Canwest Global media personality and executive, had no problem sticking with Izzy's guidelines. His name: Peter Kent. The same Peter Kent who is now the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Americas, in Stephen Harper's cabinet. The same Stephen Harper who allowed Izzy Asper to help write the foreign policy of his Reform Party, in exchange for his financial and communications support. "Izzy pulled out all the stops on that one. He was prepared to invest his personal time and capital for the cause." (2)
Peter Kent and WikiLeaks
Yesterday, one of the WikiLeak documents revealed that the U.S. was angered at Canada's approach to Cuba. Peter Kent was personally named and his office responded by saying that their party's official policy is to not respond to any of the WikiLeak announcements.
But when I hear Peter Kent's name, the only Canadian who is possibly more pro-Israel than Stephen Harper, I pay attention.
And bypassing the mainstream Canadian media, who wouldn't be allowed to pursue the story even if they wanted to, I instead went right to the source for any information regarding Canada and this foreign country. And the Israel Resource Review didn't disappoint.
Peter Kent's Canadian tax payer financed job, has been to protect Israel's interests in Latin America.
Kent noted that “ Canada ... has also represented Israel’s interests in Cuba through its embassy in Havana. There is a 1,500-member Jewish community in Cuba and as Kent said “It’s now possible for Cuban Jews to make aliyah.” ... Canada and Israel are also working together to pressure the government of Argentina to make reparations for the botched investigation of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Kent said Canadian and Israel also have (sic?) are concerned about involvement of ‘Latin American states with Iran.”And remember, Kent recently suggested that it was not a matter of if there would be a preemptive strike agaisnt Iran, but when. (3)
Canadians are not anti-Israel, but we are rightfully concerned when our Canadian government consistently puts Israel's interests above those of ours. That is not what we pay them for.
We expect a balanced approach to foreign policy, not a one-sided approach that allows another country to get away with horrendous crimes against humanity.
We have got to start paying attention.
But how sad is it that the only one providing us with information to pay attention to, is an Australian activist?
1. Izzy: The Passionate Life and Turbulent Times of Izzy Asper, Canada's Media Mogul, By Peter C. Newman, Harper-Collins, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-55468-089-4, Pg. 254-256
2. Newman, 2008, Pg. 83
3. Canada’s international do-gooder image shattered: Ottawa Loses Bid for UN Security Council, by Eric Walberg, Global Research, October 23, 2010