Yesterday, Rebel's Ezra Levant was in the Federal Court building in Toronto, where he, along with Rebel News, are suing Steven Guilbeault, the former heritage minister who is now Justin Trudeau's environment minister. As a cabinet minister, Guilbeault has dozens of staff running his government Twitter account.
"Steven Guilbeault, who was the heritage minister in charge of drafting all of Trudeau's censorship provisions and is now the environment minister, he has blocked me on Twitter," said Ezra.
"And Catherine McKenna, who was a cabinet minister as well, she blocked my colleague Sheila Gunn Reid. Now, this lawsuit has taken so, so long to move through the courts that we have dropped Catherine McKenna from the lawsuit because she's no longer in government. But we were proceeding against Steven Guilbeault because he is still a government person."
Ezra also added that he doesn't care about Steven Guilbeault's personal Twitter account or his family Facebook account or anything like that:
The only thing I care about is his official government account that has dozens of civil servants paid for by my tax dollars and yours, putting out official government pronouncements. His Twitter account is not his family photos or anything personal. It is all government business. And yet he thinks he has the power to block me just because he ideologically disagrees with me.
But that denies my rights to get government information and denies my access to the same service that other Canadians have. And those services are actually quite relevant to me as a journalist, and especially when he was minister of heritage, he was making announcements that directly impacted Rebel News.
But it's the precedent that scares me, because if Justin Trudeau and his cabinet can ban people they don't like from getting government services, it might be something minor like a Twitter account today, although that's not very minor.
Ezra introduced his legal team, Chad Williamson and his colleague Scott who explained what happened in the court room.
Williamson said that this has been kind of peculiar, and that it's not just this case.
"It's almost every case in which we're up against the government, be it for the Whistle Stop, for Rebel, for constitutional rights, for Charter rights. We're constantly finding that there's information that the government just wants to keep out of the court and we've got to fight like crazy to try to get it admitted," he said.
So what happened today is we won a victory. They sure fought hard against us. There was seven folks from the governments in the courtroom, and there's just Scott and I who flew all the way out here from Calgary.
The long and the short of it is, we had been fighting this battle for about two years to essentially try to have Ezra unblocked on Twitter by Minister Steven Guilbeault.
And of course, it's not just a matter of you know, it's just Twitter, we're just trying to get somebody unblocked. This goes to the fundamental Charter right of freedom of association, and freedom of the press.
And can government officials block members of their constituency from receiving government information through social media? This is kind of a new sphere. There's not much jurisprudence in this area. So it's a tremendously interesting case.
If you want to learn more about this, if you want to see our lawsuit or if you want to chip in to help our two lawyers fight against their seven, go to TwitterLawsuit.ca.