We're in Federal Court fighting Trudeau's 'journalism licence'

Ezra Levant reports from the Federal Court in downtown Toronto, where Rebel News is taking on the Trudeau government over its attempts to enforce a journalism licence.

Remove Ads

I’m in Federal Court today, suing to strike down Trudeau’s journalism censorship law. I’m sitting in Courtroom 7B of the Federal Court building in downtown Toronto.

Ten feet in front of me are two of Rebel News’s best lawyers. And next to them are two of Justin Trudeau’s best lawyers. And 10 feet in front of them is a Federal Court judge, Ann Marie McDonald.

At stake is nothing less than the future of independent journalism in Canada. It’s going to be a full-day trial. At issue is Trudeau’s journalism licence, formally called the “Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization” licence.

Stop right there: a journalism licence? In Canada? Absolutely. You have to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency to get it. And the panel that reviews your application is handpicked by Justin Trudeau.

Obviously, we were denied. I’ve heard other journalists call this the “Get Rebel” law — because it is so obviously designed to sink us. Here’s how: if Trudeau grants you a QCJO journalism licence, you get a lot of benefits, including:

  • press credentials at government press conferences (we’re currently banned)
  • tax credits for your subscribers (our subscribers don’t get this)
  • access to Google’s $100,000,000 payment to online news companies it links to (we’re banned)
  • Trudeau’s CRTC can order online broadcasters to boost or throttle the “discoverability” of our website in searches

It’s that last one that terrifies me.

In the past, Trudeau would have to prosecute us or charge us directly to shut us down. We’d have to have broken the law in some way for him to sue us, and we’d have our day in court. 

Not under the QCJO system.

Trudeau can now simply order companies like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to throttle non-QCJO news sources, to hide them when people search for them. He wouldn’t have to say, “throttle Rebel News”, which would give the game away. He’d just say, “throttle non-QCJO sources”, probably in the name of fighting “disinformation”.

And since he gave QCJO status to all of his friends, it’s literally the “Get Rebel” law. 

Obviously, it’s working, since I’m the only person sitting in this courtroom gallery. No one else is here; no civil liberties groups, no journalism groups, no other media companies.

But why would they? They’re all in the system — 99% of Canadian journalists are inside Trudeau’s system — they get massive subsidies from Trudeau and have QCJO status.

Why would they make a fuss, and risk their government grants? And why would they stand up for a competitor? I’m getting used to this — being the only person in a court, fighting for freedom. But it’s not just my own freedom I’m fighting for. Freedom of the press is something that all Canadians have. And the precedent that will be decided in this case will benefit — or harm — all of us.

Our legal brief is outstanding. I like our lawyers, and I like our chances. But we’re up against the unlimited resources of the federal government. Trudeau doesn’t have to pay his lawyers — he forces taxpayers to do that.

Trudeau cares more about censorship than any other issue. He’s relentless. And no-one is standing up to his journalism licence in court — except us. It’s weird to be the only journalist in court fighting for journalistic freedom, but that’s one of the things that makes Rebel News so special.

But we're going to keep fighting, and if you want to help us — chip in what you can at WeAreSuingTrudeau.com.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads