I'm in Calgary, to talk to my alma mater, I suppose, the Western Standard. It was a magazine I founded more than a decade a go that shut down because, well, sending magazines by snail mail just didn't make sense.
But, of course, Western Standard has been reborn online. I'm in Calgary to speak with their staff, to tell them about some of the old war stories. I brought with me some of the old paper versions of the magazine.
One, in particular, doesn't look that exciting on the outside. The headline is about the secret lives of lobbyists. But inside, on page 15, is the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. It drew the line on who truly stood for press freedom, siding with the cartoonists over the theocrats.
Those cartoons that were published in Denmark caused a cataclysm of events, including riots in Nigeria that claimed over 200 lives. Inside our magazine, we also had a story that depicted the Prophet Muhammad. We included it to show that not all Muslims believe you can't depict their Prophet.
So we published that two-page spread — and my God did that cause a conflagration. We were hauled before the Alberta Human Rights Commission, that was a 900 day prosecution.
I also recorded part of my interrogation at the hands of the commission, I guess that was my first foray into video. It was also the first time I started using various online tools like YouTube, which was very new at the time, and PayPal to help crowdfund my legal defence. These were all new concepts back when it happened.
We did a follow-up story, which was much lengthier: “What were we thinking? The story behind Canada's cartoon controversy”.
It was a very challenging time around the world for free speech, and so many of the free speech champions on the left cowered or even became part of the censorship.
Now, that's what I'll be talking to the Western Standard about. What I want to talk to you about is censorship in 2023, not just censorship in 2005.
It's incredible the amount of problems Canada has right now. Housing prices, the war in Ukraine is an important issue for some, Trudeau cutting a billion dollars from our own defence. Not a day goes by that there isn't some pressing problem that needs to be fixed.
And yet, Trudeau has four bills that he has either passed, has introduced, or is about to introduce on censorship. Four more than on any other subject.
But I saw this from Michael Geist, a very well-respected and non-partisan professor from the University of Ottawa. He's regarded as sort of an online legal expert.
Here's the headline: “Canada Plans to Regulate Search and Social Media Use of Artificial Intelligence for Content Moderation and Discoverability”.
In the story, he explains how the government plans to regulate the use of AI in search results. So they're going to get involved with what news gets boosted and what news gets hidden when you do searches.
Trudeau is going to get involved and regulate that. What do you think he's going to do? Not only that, but the government is refusing to disclose the actual text of the planned amendments to the bill.
I guess they would have to release it later, in full, to the public, but does that build your confidence in what's going on? This is terrifying, it's a privacy bill that's designed to respect your rights but they're keeping it a secret from you.
I should remind you that Trudeau's industry minister, Francois Philippe Champagne, got a mortgage from what bank? There's so many of them in Canada, you know. Not just the big banks like Royal Bank, TD Bank, Scotiabank or CIBC. But Champagne got a loan from the People's Republic of China.
Now I think I know where Champagne is getting his ideas to use AI to spy on people from.
In Michael Geist's article, he lays out the seven classes of AI systems that will be regulated. Some of the regulations are modelled after the European Union, who doesn't quite love liberty as much as you might hope.
The sixth point is very concerning. It involves the use of AI by a court or administrative body in making a determination — imagine courts, instead of having judges and juries, using AI to determine if you're guilty of innocent.
That's terrifying and I don't want it to happen. I don't know if Trudeau wants that to happen or not, but it's a troubling possibility.
Now, there's another part that Geist says is a little different from the European Union. It's certainly not being done in America. According to Geist, it's what's going on in China.
It involves the use of AI to moderate comments. Imagine an AI system searching for words like “Trump” or “Danielle Smith” or ”Freedom Convoy” or “Tamara Lich” or “Rebel News”?
Picture SkyNet from the Terminator franchise, an AI hunter-killer system unleashed on the comment sections of Facebook or Twitter.
But the second part of this is just as scary.
If you typed in “Give me the news on the trucker convoy,” Rebel News would be hidden and the CBC would be boosted. That's what manipulating the discovery portion of content presentation can do.
When you search on Google or Facebook, the algorithm already has political bias in its systems. Trudeau wants to be able to regulate that even more, though.
I can tell you this: Rebel News will be keeping our eye on this, and we'll do everything we can to keep fighting for freedom.
GUEST: Tracey Wilson (@TWilsonOttawa on X) of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights joins to discuss the Trudeau Liberals' gun policy after the PM was disinvited to an event hosted by a Quebec anti-gun lobbying group.