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BAROOTES: C-10 is a dangerous attack on free speech

Guest Columnist Erika Barootes writes that Parliament should fight back against the C-10 internet censorship bill.




If the Liberal government in Ottawa genuinely believes that concerns over their broadcasting legislation, Bill C-10, are being overblown by critics worrying about its impact on free speech, they should walk back their decision to remove an exemption that would have protected user-generated content from new forms of regulation. 

Instead, Trudeau’s Liberals are doubling down on the exemption and ramming the bill through, flaws and all. C-10 has become about partisanship over policy, with the government demonstrating their inability to admit a mistake no matter how glaringly obvious and how loud the outcry. 

Now, every Canadian will pay the steep price on their basic rights like free expression in order to force our 1960s-era broadcasting regulations to fit the streaming age. If it seems backwards, it’s because it most certainly is. 

C-10 was supposed to modernize Canada’s Broadcasting Act, last substantially updated in the 1990s and with majority of the act lingering in the 1960s. Obviously, a lot has changed since then, namely, the internet upending how media is consumed by Canadians. Streaming services and social media aren’t really new to Canadians anymore, but officials in Ottawa are now hastily trying to catch up with as much grace as a frazzled moose in a china shop. This could have been an opportunity for our parliamentary democracy to demonstrate that our system of checks and balances is fully functioning. Instead, the Liberal government has demonstrated that it’s merely a set of details existing solely in high-school social studies textbooks. 

And here we are, trying to solve for another self-created Liberal problem: they opted to remove a section of their legislation that would’ve exempted user-generated content from CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) regulation. Of course, the CRTC would be regulating based on further rules not yet known, leaving us in a state of uncertainty.

Despite the unknowns, what is known is that in the process of drafting the legislation someone thought it was important to put in a clear exemption to protect user-generated content. That was section 4.1 of the bill, which has since been removed by the government. 

It should also be noted that the minister responsible for the bill is Minister of Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, who has personally created much of the current confusion, by being unable to answer basic questions about C-10, such as whether individual YouTube accounts will be regulated per a recent interview and multiple backtracks. 

This wasn’t merely a communication error by a minister speaking to a colleague’s bill. This is about the very minister responsible for legislation being unclear or confused about its content and impact. Perhaps this is a sign for the government to ask themselves if they should hit the brakes, do this right, and ensure the protection of freedom for all Canadians.

It’s unlikely, but slowing down and going through the due process, would be the best option. 

Forget the new reams of red tape and the regulatory force required to apply the Canadian content requirements, and with no disrespect to the patriotic hopes and aspirations from long-ago retired government officials from an era of bellbottoms. But we should have a policy that recognizes from the start how much media has changed and rethink our broadcasting framework to reflect that. 

If the Senate works as it should, an eminently flawed piece of legislation like C-10 emerging from the House of Commons would be subject to substantial amendments. That’s the point of the upper house, isn’t it? 

Whatever problem Bill C-10 is aiming to fix, the Liberal government’s proposed solution is worse than the problem. 

Guest Column from Erika Barootes, Vice President Western Canada for Enterprise Canada Inc.


KAY: Why is Prince Andrew the only one being held accountable?

“All I am saying is that the price he is paying — a royal castaway, shunned for the sake of The Firm’s continued good health, and relegated to a social Devil’s island — is very, very high, much higher than would have been the case for an ordinary man.”




It was with a pang that I was informed by People.com that “Queen Elizabeth strips Prince Andrew of [his eight] military titles and patronages amid sexual assault lawsuit,” as the headline read. A day after a judge rejected Prince Andrew’s attempt to have a civil lawsuit quashed, alleging sexual misconduct against him in 2001 by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, the axe fell.

Thursday, the royal palace announced, “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.” Although still nominally a prince, Andrew will no longer have the right to be addressed as His Royal Highness (HRH). No more public duties for the dozens of charities for whom he has been a patron. “The Duke of York is defending this case,” the statement informed us, “as a private citizen.”

Why do I shudder slightly at those words, “private citizen,” and greet the news in general with a “pang,” though? Prince Andrew is nothing to me personally. He got himself into a very tawdry mess through his own appallingly bad judgment. The allegations surfaced in 2019, so this was no surprise. And it is not the first occasion in which bad judgment and a sense of entitlement has led “Randy Andy” into temptation of one kind or another, and thence onward to, at best, unethical behaviour, and at worst — oh dear, oh dear.

Let us not, though, count the ways that make this ultimate disgrace a deserved punishment for Andrew’s sins. Or rather, let other commentators — those who experience an uprush of joy or schadenfreude in their hearts when white males of extreme privilege are brought low, instead of a pang — do that.

When I unpack my pang a bit, what comes to mind is I know this had to be done; I know he deserved it; I know he is a wastrel. But oh, the mortification! And not for love, like Harry’s for Meghan or his great-uncle, Edward VIII’s for Wallis. At least they got to ride off to the colonies believing at the time they made the decision, anyway, their lives as royals were well lost for the glittering prize that had chosen them.

Even though he was of weak character — a suspected Nazi sympathizer, amongst other cases of bad judgment — Edward, Duke of Windsor was still a duke in exile. He was given royal sinecures to keep him busy. He was still a social asset outside Britain. Harry isn’t technically a Royal; he gave up his title voluntarily, but he’s good enough for Hollywood. So he has all the perks of royalty — money-making sinecures, constant attention, lots of social adulation — and none of the tedium. And when he comes home to visit, he still gets to mingle with the family. He has disappointed his family by quitting The Firm, and embarrassed them by foolishly airing private laundry, but he has not brought shame on the House of Windsor. He was not cast out. He left.

But for Andrew it’s the opposite. He cannot leave, but he has been “effectively banished.” There is no corner of the English-speaking world in which he can relax and just be himself. Himself? What would “himself” look like, stripped of what has defined him as a human being for all his 61 years? A turtle without a shell to retreat into. And no natural habitat. His gorgeous military uniforms will hang lifeless in his closets. Forever. I am trying to imagine what a future social life might look like. But I can’t.

Of course, there’s the saving grace of ex-wife Fergie to keep him company. Nobody is less likely to be judgmental, or more likely to empathize with the results of bad judgment in a buddy than Sarah Ferguson. I suspect she will eventually be remembered for her loyalty to Andrew in exile. He will have company watching Netflix. (Do you remember the scene in The Crown where the Duke — played by the wonderful actor Michael Kitchen — and Duchess of Windsor are watching Elizabeth’s televised coronation from their home in France? Oh, the suffering etched on Kitchen’s face.)

Andrew is often referred to as his mother’s favourite child, and that is how he was portrayed in The Crown as a boy on the cusp of manhood. He was buoyant, confident and ready for adventures of all kinds, military (at which he excelled) and prankish — even then, a bit of a wild card, but endearing to his mother on that account. In Philip’s general mold, but without Philip’s maturity, intellect and sense of duty.

But back to my pang. Consider: Stupid as he was, the woman accusing him of being party to her sex trafficking was 17 at the time of the alleged encounter. The age of consent in the U.K. as well as in 32 U.S. states is 16. A lot of other rich and famous men palled around with Epstein and made use of his private plane and visited his island home(s). How come their names didn’t come up in Maxwell’s trial? So maybe my pang has something to do with the murkiness surrounding the alleged encounter, and the fact that Andrew seems to have been cut from the herd to keep all eyes on him and all eyes off the American guys.

The only other man Giuffre publicly charged with sexual assault was celebrated lawyer Alan Dershowitz in 2019, who had defended Epstein in his 2005 sex-trafficking charges. Dershowitz immediately counter-attacked Giuffre in his typical take-no-prisoners style, and that turned into a nightmare of a legal circus that is apparently still unresolved. I imagine Giuffre took a lesson from her challenge to a lion. Next to Dershowitz, Andrew must look a lot like a sacrificial lamb.

Andrew is what he is, and I am not making the case he shouldn’t have paid an appropriate price for his bad behaviour — bad whether he slept with Giuffre or didn’t. All I am saying is that the price he is paying — a royal castaway, shunned for the sake of The Firm’s continued good health, and relegated to a social Devil’s island — is very, very high, much higher than would have been the case for an ordinary man. There is no court of appeal for this lifetime sentence.

Barbara Kay is a senior columnist for the Western Standard.
Twitter: @BarbaraRKay

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THOMAS: Gondek’s legacy could very well be an empty parking lot

“There can be no doubt that more than a few Calgarians, who are against using public money to help build the Event Centre, have benefited from the owners’ largess.”




Most of the people who have held the office of mayor of Calgary probably hoped to leave a legacy that people recognize as a positive contribution to the city.

Some did. Some didn’t. A couple of ‘dids’ come to mind. 

As mayor from 1980 to 1989, Ralph Klein’s legacy is as being part of the team that brought the 1988 Winter Olympics to Calgary, which resulted in the Saddledome being built, which brought the Calgary Flames to the city.

Dave Bronconnier, mayor from 2001 to 2010, also left a legacy near the Saddledome.

East Village: It’s the area directly east of city hall, stretching to Fort Calgary, with the Bow River on the north and 9 Ave. southeast on the south side.

When ‘Bronco’ took over the mayor’s chair, East Village was the most dangerous area of the city. Totally run down, it was a centre of illegal drug activity and the ‘office’ for sex workers. In earlier years, it served as the Calgary dump. It was not an area you wanted to be in, especially after dark.

Bronco, vowing to clean it up, approached the development community to gauge any interest in participating. 

There was no interest. Developers told him the cost to remediate the area was too high, but if the city undertook the task, there would be interest in building condo-apartment buildings. 

So, the mayor introduced the Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) program, with the blessing of the Alberta government. The way a TIF works is, an area for redevelopment is identified and for 20 years, all taxes collected in that area are used to pay infrastructure costs incurred by the city to get the job done. 

No tax money comes out of the city’s general revenues. Only money from taxes collected in the designated area. 

It obviously worked. The TIF helped pay for, among other things, the new central library, and East Village is now an urban oasis of apartments and retailers.

The TIF worked so well, city council decided to expand the area it financed, calling it the Rivers District, which runs from the banks of the Bow River south to 25 Ave. S.W., with Macleod Tr. as its western border. Eventually, the Bow Building was added to the Rivers District because of the high taxes it would pay, which would contribute greatly to the TIF, now renamed the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

Here, from the City’s website, its (abbreviated) definition of the CRL. 

“(The) Community Revitalization Levy substantially funds the delivery of the Rivers District Revitalization Plan. The levy provides a means to segregate increased property tax revenues in the Rivers District, which result from redevelopment into a fund that will be used to pay for the new infrastructure required. The end result is improvements in the Rivers District are self-funded without any additional tax burden on the balance of the city, and at the end of the CRL period, the amounts that were charged under the CRL would become general property tax revenues and flow into the general revenues of the city and the province.”

There’s a lot of work going on in the East Victoria Park area within the Rivers District, including the RoundUp Centre upgrade, the demolition of the Corral and a lot more to come. Plans include homes for 8,000 new residents in the community, with approximately four million square feet of absorbable mixed-use development, a Stampede Trail retail street and the LRT Green Line extension. All of this development might even give some justification to converting the empty downtown office buildings into residences. 

Up until about a month ago, the plans included a new Event Centre, to be built on a couple of mostly empty parking lots north of Stampede Park. The cost of the centre would have been shared by the Calgary Flames organization and the City of Calgary. 

That deal is dead.

How vital was/is the Event Centre to the success of the Rivers District? 

If the district was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Event Centre would be Tom Brady.

The Event Centre would be home to more than the Calgary Flames. It would put Calgary in the big leagues in attracting major concerts and other events (hence the name). Under the dead deal with the Flames, the City of Calgary would have received a percentage of ticket sales to every event. There are other opportunities for revenue generation for the city that are now in jeopardy.

However, without the Flames as a partner in some fashion, there isn’t likely to be an event centre.

The Flames ownership group is first and foremost a collection of very successful and astute business people. They are not the billionaire robber barons some Calgarians claim them to be. 

Bringing NHL hockey to Calgary was a great contribution, but their greatest contribution is the millions and millions of dollars they have donated to charities, to build major medical facilities and more. There can be no doubt more than a few Calgarians who are against using public money to help build the Event Centre have benefited from the owners’ largess. 

Without a new, reasonable deal would the ownership group move the Flames out of the city? 

They absolutely would.

That would be Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s legacy.

Myke Thomas is a Western Standard contributor. He started in radio as a child voice actor, also working in television and as the real estate columnist, reporter and editor at the Calgary Sun for 22 years.

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MAKICHUK: The Marines are coming, and it’s going to be bloody

And not only that, but they will soon have a new weapon that can transport them to any beach, anywhere, anytime in the Pacific island chains, faster than you can say Harry S. Truman.




Message to the People’s Liberation Army of China, the Marines are coming.

And not only that, but they will soon have a new weapon that can transport them to any beach, anywhere, anytime in the Pacific island chains, faster than you can say Harry S. Truman.

It’s called the Ship-to-Shore Connector, or SSC in military jargon.

What is it and what does it do? 

Picture a large amphibious landing vehicle that rides over the surface on a cushion of air.

Ship-to-Shore Connector

It can be carried and deployed aboard an aircraft carrier’s well deck, and, deliver about 145 Marines to an active war zone to relieve soldiers already on a beachhead on some far-flung island in the South China Sea. 

In other words, they are the all-important second wave — fresh troops, ready to carry the fight.

With dominant air cover from nearby carriers and moving quickly to avoid tracking by incoming missiles, they will be hard to stop, especially in darkness.

According to a report by military expert Caleb Larson in The National Interest, tensions in the South China Sea are at all-time highs — and to ensure they are prepared, the Navy bought the Marine Corps some new equipment to get the job done.

And we all know what that job is, don’t we — it will position America’s premier amphibious force to land on China’s doorstep.

According to experts, these improved SSCs are beasts — when fully loaded they can carry seventy-four tons of men and supplies at a rapid thirty-five knot an hour clip. 

Part of the new SSCs strength is their redesigned skirts, which reduces both weight and drag over the surface of the water, National Interest reported.

These new SSCs “offer increased reliability and maintainability, as well as meet requirements of increased payload and availability,” and are expected to remain in service with the Navy and Marine Corps for the next thirty years, said Textron, an American industrial conglomerate based in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Navy was equally positive about the future acquisition, saying “The LCAC replaces the existing fleet of legacy LCAC vehicles, and will primarily transport weapon systems, equipment, cargo, and personnel of the assault elements through varied environmental conditions from amphibious ships to and over the beach.”

The new SSCs are just a part of the Marine Corps’ rapid modernization efforts, as it looks to take on the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea, National Interest reported. 

The days of a Marine Corps unit taking and holding a beachhead, suffering heavy casualties and fighting to the last man, are over.

In addition to adopting the Heckler & Koch HK416 rifle, in service with the Marines as the M27, the Marines are also in the middle of nearly unprecedented restructuring.

The service recently announced the retirement of all tank battalions, marking a huge and controversial shift.

In addition, the Marines will organize into smaller units capable of operating across vast distances, seizing China’s network of artificial island bases with long-range missiles, unmanned boats and anti-ship missiles. 

According to a report in Popular Mechanics, reductions in artillery, tanks, and other weapons will allow the Marines to invest in other weapons, particularly 14 new Navy-Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS). 

These batteries, armed with Norwegian-developed Naval Strike Missiles, will allow the Marines to fend off Chinese warships, making a 115-mile no-go zone around Marine positions.

As the “Leather Necks” advance through a chain of islands, their anti-air and anti-ship missiles will make it increasingly difficult for Chinese ships and aircraft to operate around them.

Isolate, bombard, and overrun — you might say, there’s going to be a lot of blood in the sand.

This would restrict the Chinese Navy’s and Air Force’s room to maneuver, pushing them out into the open water — where the US Navy would take them on head to head, mano a mano.

That’s the plan, anyway. The PLA may have other ideas.

Even further, to compete in an age of cyber warfare and space-based weaponry, the Marines want to shake its “manpower” model that historically prized youth, physical fitness and discipline over education, training and technical skills. 

According to the new plan, the aim is also to grow a service that is “more intelligent, physically fit, cognitively mature, and experienced.”

“The capabilities that we think we’re going to need are a force that’s able to operate much more distributed, much more spread out than perhaps we’re accustomed to in the past, using a different set of technologies than we had five or 10 or 15 years ago,” said Gen. David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, in an interview with NPR

“I think the people that we bring in will be able to handle the technologies and also the decision-making. It’s really more about the decision-making than it is about technology.”

“We are a purely combat force,” he says, a distinction that separates the service from others. “We were built under a different set of circumstances — but that is changing.”

In this anticipated fight, decentralized command will play a crucial role — as will shipping, of both supplies and men.

This is where the Textron SSCs will be of utmost importance, experts say.

While it remains to be seen what a high-tech fight in the Pacific would look like — combat sims never quite reflect the real thing — one thing is sure. A dust-up in the South China Sea would likely see these rapid “beasts” take part. 

One more major headache for the PLA Navy to deal with, should it decide to “unify” Taiwan.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news and has written extensively on Asian military affairs.

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