UPDATE: Rebel News fighting Trudeau for press freedom

Ezra Levant provides an update on Rebel News' challenge of the Trudeau Liberals' attempts to define who practices journalism in Canada.

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Well, I just got out of a four-hour court hearing, technically called a judicial review. That is, twice now the Canada Revenue Agency rejected Rebel News' application for the QCJO licence — which stands for Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization.

Now, whenever a court reviews an expert panel — in this case, a journalism panel — the decisions grant some deference to the lower decisionmakers. Therefore, the standard of review is often "reasonableness" in addition to correctness.

Our two star lawyers, Robert Hawkes and Sarah Miller, assert that the way this matter has been handled has been unreasonable. For example, the CRA claims that only a tiny fraction of what we here at Rebel News publish is considered news.

If you've watched our reports, you'll know that we sometimes interview newsmakers. To explain how absurd the government's initial ruling was, they said none of this qualified as news.

Are you kidding me?

An obvious example was when we travelled to the Netherlands, where we were the first international outlet to speak to Geert Wilders after his shocking upset election victory. Instead, Trudeau's handpicked journalism advisory committee said 'no, that's not news.'  That's obviously an error — and that is so bizarre.

But we've been here before, in both 2019 and 2021, when we fought for access to the leaders' debates during Canada's elections. Each time, Trudeau tried to reject us. Each time, the court deemed that Rebel News is a media organization, despite Trudeau's claims otherwise.

It's strange, the amount of time and effort (and money) Trudeau is putting into calling us not real journalists. What do they think we're doing all day? We have about 40 staff members on our team, if we're not doing journalism what on earth are we doing?

I'm optimistic though; the judge seems fair, and the government lawyers are not the sharpest. But most important, we have the facts and the law on our side. It is an obvious fact that Rebel News produces news, and I think any fair judge will see that. 

We were in a courtroom today that had an occupancy for 60 people. There were our lawyers, the justice department lawyers, two clerks and the judge. No one else in the media cared to cover the story, no other outlet is fighting for freedom of the press like Rebel News is.

In the past, all the media companies would get together to fight for press freedom. They'd hire the best lawyer they could, and they'd seek intervener status to fight for freedom.

That's important, because the judge would that lawyer represented a large group of people. That used to happen all the time, but it has never happened in any of the cases Rebel News has fought.

Maybe they don't like me, or they don't like Rebel News. That's fine, but what does that have to do with protecting the precedent of a free press?

If we can win this case, hopefully we can demolish Trudeau's censorship regime for journalists. It would be an enormous win for the country.

If we lose? What a terrible precedent that sets in the other direction. If you want to help us in this important fight, go to WeAreSuingTrudeau.com.

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