Our reporters have been banned from the Alberta Legislature (but we’re fighting back)

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Our reporters Sheila Gunn Reid and Keean Bexte were just banned from the Alberta Legislature Press Gallery.

Even more shocking is who did it to us.

I’ve laid it out in detail in this video — and I’ve put all of the relevant legal documents here.

Back in 2016, Alberta’s new NDP premier, Rachel Notley, ordered an armed sheriff to kick out our chief reporter Sheila Gunn Reid.

Notley’s ban was universally denounced by the mainstream media — remember, that was before newspapers started to take bail-out money from Trudeau; they were still somewhat independent back then.

For example, the National Post called Notley’s move a “stupid decision” and “totally and inexcusably idiotic.” After taking a beating from newspapers like the National Post, Notley finally backed down and let Sheila back in.

But the National Post has changed a lot in the past five years. It has lost many of its best writers. It’s not the same anymore. It’s thinner than ever, and much of it is just reprinting cheap wire copy stories written by liberal journalists working for other newspapers.

The National Post is owned by Postmedia, which takes $140,000 a week from Justin Trudeau’s media bail-out — it’s the largest recipient, actually. National Post staff are trying to the join the far-left Unifor journalists union, the one that uses union dues to campaign against Conservatives. It’s a shadow of the National Post where I used to work twenty years ago.

Postmedia's Turn To The Left

Just last month, thirty of their own reporters signed a letter saying that Rex Murphy should never have been allowed to write a column saying that Canada isn’t racist. Other than Rex and Conrad Black, there’s not much difference between the Post and the CBC.

And I tell you this because — you’re not going to believe it — the decision to ban us yesterday was made by the National Post.

Here’s the two-sentence letter they sent our lawyers, banning Sheila and Keean:

By the way, Tyler Dawson was one of the National Post leftists who signed the letter demanding that Rex Murphy not be allowed to write conservative things.

And now he’s censoring us.

Alberta's Legislature Press Gallery Dominated By Postmedia

The Alberta Legislature Press Gallery controls who has access to the building. It’s dominated by Postmedia, because they own most of the newspapers in the province — both the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun. Both the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun.

And they just decided to keep us out. They don’t want the competition.

Which is interesting, because when Postmedia bought out Sun Media, giving it both newspapers in Alberta's major cities, they told the federal Competition Bureau that they would protect competition and diversity for readers.

You’ll notice in the letter from the National Post, they don’t tell us their reasons for banning us. They didn’t even invite us to our own trial. There is no appeal.

And the guy who made the decision — Tyler Dawson, the president of this little censorship club — has a long-standing vendetta against Rebel News. He hates us, he can’t control his hatred for us, and the National Post has allowed him to publish his hatred for us for years. And that’s all fine — my feelings aren’t hurt. All I’m saying is: how can someone who has had a five-year vendetta against us now pretend to be a neutral arbiter of who can or can’t work as a reporter?

Why should we have to depend on our competitors’ permission for the right to work in the first place?

Postmedia lied to the Competition Bureau when they said they weren’t a threat to competition. They personally blocked us.

I used to work at the National Post myself, so I’ve been downplaying their vendetta against us. But it’s been getting worse. They have recently stolen our own work, and republished it on their websites without credit or payment to us. Outright theft.

They didn’t even deny it; they just don’t care. They’re an elephant and we’re a mouse. We sued them in small claims court in January — and they still haven’t even bothered to file a statement of defence. They think they’re above the law; they think they’re better than us. Because they’re now part of Trudeau’s team. They’re on the Trudeau payroll and their reporters want to join the Trudeau union. So of course they're going to ban us from the Alberta Press Gallery.

No. Not today. We’re fighting back. Here’s how.

First, our Alberta lawyers have written directly to the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature. You can read the entire letter below. But here’s the key paragraph:

“To resolve this situation, we propose that the Independent Press Gallery of Canada be given the same recognition and standing as the Press Gallery in Alberta. As noted above, the Independent
Press Gallery is an association of journalists whose members agree to adhere to journalistic standards and practices, and Rebel News’ journalists are members of this organization. Members of the Independent Press Gallery who regularly report on Alberta politics ought to be given the same access and privileges afforded to the traditional Press Gallery.”

So hopefully the Postmedia-controlled press gallery will just be replaced by a real press gallery that actually respects freedom of the press.

Maybe the Alberta Speaker of the Legislature will let us in, maybe not. It still doesn’t fix the problem — the active collusion by our competitors to limit the number of reporters allowed. Here’s another letter (see below), this one sent by our Toronto lawyers. And it’s based on the Competition Act. (ALPGA stands for Alberta Legislature Press Gallery Association):

“The ALPGA’s denial of membership to Rebel News serves to demonstrate the anti-competitive nature and practices of Postmedia and the ALPGA, and in particular, their efforts to prevent/lessen competition in Alberta’s media landscape. As was the concern of the Competition Bureau upon Postmedia’s acquisition of Quebecor Media Inc.’s English-language newspapers, and despite Postmedia’s claims to the contrary at the time, it appears from the above-noted conduct that this transaction resulted in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the media market.

“Our clients are hereby seeking an immediate reversal of the Denial by the ALPGA, failing which, we have instructions to commence formal proceedings against Postmedia pursuant to the Competition Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-34, which regulates anti-competitive business practices in Canada.

“In the interim, we trust Postmedia will preserve all records for the purposes of these proceedings, including but not limited to internal correspondence, the grounds for the Denial, the rules and by-laws applicable to such decisions, and the list of members that made the Decision. In addition, we understand that you have publicly declared your personal animus towards Rebel News, and trust that you will preserve all public statements (including tweets) referring to our clients and confirm whether you and/or other members recused themselves from the vote to deny Rebel News membership in relation thereto.”

I still like Rex Murphy. And Conrad Black. And there are one or two others in the Post I still read. But most conservatives are being driven out of the newspaper — Barbara Kay was the latest to leave, just last week.

So may I ask: why are you still subscribing to the National Post?

Is it because you liked the paper back in 1998? Or maybe you liked the paper back in 2008?

When was the last time it was truly conservative? It bashes Trump just like the CBC; it now officially believes in the theory of man-made global warming. It publicly humiliated Rex Murphy just a few weeks ago.

It’s been stealing our photos and videos for nearly a year; smashing us and bashing us wherever they can; demonizing us as “Islamophobes” and “bigots". And now they have moved from simply being mean to literally deplatforming us.

If you are a National Post subscriber, they are taking your money to pay Tyler Dawson and the other 30 journalists who called for Rex Murphy to be banned. And they just decided they want to destroy us, Rebel News.

How about take your money back? When they deplatform Sheila and Keean, when they ban us, they’re really banning you.

They hate Sheila and Keean. And they hate me, of course.

But you know that means they hate you too.

Do me a favour: cut them off. They want to cancel you? Cancel them. If you are a subscriber to the National Post, cancel your subscription. I know a newspaper becomes a habit. Well, start a new habit somewhere that doesn’t hate you.

Give them a call during business hours, at 416-383-2500. Push zero to speak to an attendant. Be polite — the person answering your call isn’t a left-wing journalist; they’re a working stiff who has nothing to do with the cancel culture that has taken over the paper. So please be friendly.

But cancel the newspaper — and tell them why. Don’t worry. They’ll be fine. Like I say, they still get $140,000 per week from their boss, Justin Trudeau. And it shows.

But it’s important that they know that their own readers disagree with their new censorship approach. And you really shouldn’t be giving money to people who hate you.

I’ve published a number of legal documents that outline our battle with the Alberta Press Gallery. I estimate that we’ve spent $30,000 fighting with them this summer — and the Competition Bureau complaint will surely cost even more. If you can help chip in to our fight, I’d appreciate it — Postmedia is spending Trudeau’s bail-out money on lawyers. We have to crowdfund it ourselves.

Maybe do this: call the National Post to cancel your subscription. And take just one month’s subscription fee — $26 dollars — and donate it to our legal fund.

I’m doing this because Sheila and Keean are great reporters, and it’s outrageous that our competition can ban us. But I’m also doing this for you — our Rebel viewers. And I’m even doing this, in a round about way, for Tyler Dawson and the other bullies at the National Post. Because the freedom of the press that I’m fighting for is the freedom they use every day as journalists.

So please call up the National Post and cancel your subscription. Call 416-383-2500 during business hours to do that. And if you can, please help me pay for my free speech lawyers.

Unlike the National Post, I don’t take cash from Justin Trudeau. And it shows, don’t you think?

Here's What We Filed

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  • By Ezra Levant

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