Category Archives: CanWest

The Province Newspaper Flexes its Fear-Mongering Muscle Again

In their tradition of tabloid, sensationalist pseudo-journalism, The Province newspaper in Vancouver, pablum flagship of the CanWest media domination in town, described the Pemberton rock festival as “Rock ‘N’ Roll ‘N’ Chaos.”

Astonishing, this chaos. CTV news tonight said the RCMP kicked out a small number of people from the event over the weekend, considering there were 40,000 people there each day.

Chaos makes me think of terrorist attacks, total violent anarchy and a tone of unruliness that merits bringing in the riot squad.

As it turns out, it was just a rock show. No real news there for a paper that panders in fear when slow summer news weekends emerge. No carnage at the fireworks last night, I’ll assume, since no blood showed up on the cover this morning, just this photo of concert fans.

And it’s hard to see The Province as a legitimate media source when we read their own entertainment columnist end his last blog post tonight with this:

“Thanks are in order for all the concert-goers who kept it on the up and up, not turning any of the minor inconveniences into cause for misbehaviour and to all the hard-working volunteers on site. And, most of all, to Pemberton for letting us all come up and, admittedly, make a real mess all over someone’s farm and have a ball.”

Alas, no mass arrests there tonight either. Too bad because tomorrow’s headlines will have no gore to lead with.

Recipe for Assassinating the CBC

  1. Start with an ideology that opposes communitarianism and public ownership and worships the market’s capacity to create “the good” even if the market is far from freely competitive. The federal Liberals and Conservatives have well demonstrated this.
  2. Choke its funding.
  3. Appoint corporate leaders who wouldn’t dare come up with an original idea to guide CBC as a core part of the ever morphing Canadian culture.
  4. Fail several years ago to come up with the cash necessary to secure continued rights from the NHL to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada, the core brand of MotherCorp and the closest thing we have to a central icon of Canadiana.
  5. Cancel shows like This is Wonderland just as they receive a plethora of award nominations.
  6. Murder the CBC orchestra.
  7. Intentionally bungle securing the rights to the theme song to Hockey Night in Canada.
  8. Let bake for several years at 43,500 degrees.
  9. Don’t turn off the oven so that the whole concoction burns to a crisp: strangled of cash, free of its flagship show and cultural icons.
  10. Turn off the oven after it’s too late, take out the burnt carcass and say it can’t compete with CTV, TSN, Global and the Americans; put a bullet in its head.
  11. Toss it in the garbage and instead of auctioning, give away at fire sale prices the broadcast frequencies that MotherCorp held for generations to the strongest of corporations in a bizarre corporate welfare pitch in an arena where Big Media wants to take away a nation-wide network of frequencies that up until a few years from now were owned by the (fucking) people.
  12. Pretend you don’t know what oligopoly means.
  13. Worship Rupert Murdoch and Leonard Asper.

Merging Canada’s and USA’s Military

Just call this another left-wing internet site promoting the news that DND and DFAIT hasn’t yet bothered to mention.

Its surreal being in the same camp as the [often] radical, protectionist right-wing in the USA denouncing MexAmeriCanada-creep.

By the way, David Pugliese is an example of how despite its undermining of a free press, CanWest is not wholly a scourge.

Canada-U.S. pact allows cross-border military activity

Deal allows either country to send troops across the other’s border to deal with an emergency

David Pugliese, Canwest News Service

Published: Saturday, February 23, 2008

Canada and the U.S. have signed an agreement that paves the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency, but some are questioning why the Harper government has kept silent on the deal.

Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, which was signed Feb. 14 in Texas.

The U.S. military’s Northern Command, however, publicized the agreement with a statement outlining how its top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt.-Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed the plan, which allows the military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation in a civil emergency.

The new agreement has been greeted with suspicion by the left wing in Canada and the right wing in the U.S.

The left-leaning Council of Canadians, which is campaigning against what it calls the increasing integration of the U.S. and Canadian militaries, is raising concerns about the deal.

“It’s kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration. We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites,” said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians.

Trew said there is potential for the agreement to militarize civilian responses to emergency incidents. He noted that work is also underway for the two nations to put in place a joint plan to protect common infrastructure such as roadways and oil pipelines.

“Are we going to see [U.S.] troops on our soil for minor potential threats to a pipeline or a road?” he asked.

Trew also noted the U.S. military does not allow its soldiers to operate under foreign command so there are questions about who controls American forces if they are requested for service in Canada. “We don’t know the answers because the government doesn’t want to even announce the plan,” he said.

But Canada Command spokesman Commander David Scanlon said it will be up to civilian authorities in both countries whether military assistance is requested or even used. He said the agreement is “benign” and simply sets the stage for military-to-military co-operation if the governments approve.

“But there’s no agreement to allow troops to come in,” he said. “It facilitates planning and co-ordination between the two militaries. The ‘allow’ piece is entirely up to the two governments.”

If U.S. forces were to come into Canada they would be under tactical control of the Canadian Forces but still under the command of the U.S. military, Scanlon added.

News of the deal, and the allegation it was kept secret in Canada, is already making the rounds on left-wing blogs and Internet sites as an example of the dangers of the growing integration between the two militaries.

On right-wing blogs in the U.S. it is being used as evidence of a plan for a “North American union” where foreign troops, not bound by U.S. laws, could be used by the American federal government to override local authorities.

“Co-operative militaries on Home Soil!” notes one website. “The next time your town has a ‘national emergency,’ don’t be surprised if Canadian soldiers respond.”

Scanlon said there was no intent to keep the agreement secret on the Canadian side of the border. He noted it will be reported on in the Canadian Forces newspaper next week and that publication will be put on the Internet.

Scanlon said the actual agreement hasn’t been released to the public as that requires approval from both nations.

Global TV: Thoroughly Free of Irony

It’s one thing to criticize Global for being the brunt of the corporate concentrated media nonsense that pretends to be a free press in this country.

It’s another thing to watch them physically concentrate their media [see below] with the plan to create new monster broadcast facilities in four locations in the country allowing them to drop 250 jobs while adding 50.

Not to be too cynical, but why don’t they just run with one office in Toronto and stop the pretense of actually providing local news. With the new internet machine, they can probably skip reporters all together.


Global Television is cutting 200 jobs across Canada as it develops new “state of the art” broadcast centres in four cities, CanWest announced on Thursday.

The company said the centres, to be located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, will use the latest in broadcast technology. It will also mean local news programs can immediately begin the transition to high definition, CanWest MediaWorks Inc. said.

Although CanWest is adding 50 positions as part of the process, it will lose 250 jobs, meaning a net loss of 200.

Across the Maritimes, 30 positions in Halifax and 11 in New Brunswick are being cut.

Network employees in Halifax said they were shocked by the news.

“It came as a complete surprise. There was no warning,” said Paul Saulnier, a union leader with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers and a technical director who’s losing his job.

The layoffs take effect next spring around the time the first centre is planned to be opened in Vancouver. The other three are expected to be operational over the next 18 months.

Harper: Canada to Leave Afghanistan in 2009…You Missed it, Right?

Well, after a weekend to thoroughly digest Prime Sinister Harper’s speech to mark the end of Canada’s sad and waning 39th parliament, I feel moved to grumble about something he didn’t bother to mention formally and officially.

I was going to talk about how he frames taxation as slavery from which we need emancipation, despite all the rich social, educational and health services we receive and largely take for granted: “Largely as a result of our tax reductions in budget 2006, tax freedom day arrived Wednesday, four days earlier than last year.”

Instead I want to comment on what he said in a rare moment when he stooped to speak to the press. So many emails from the PMO describe Harper’s upcoming schedule. “Photo op only” has become scripture.

So instead of in a formal political speech to end the session of parliament, Harper, on a Friday at the end of the week’s new cycle, mutters that Canada will leave Afghanistan in 2009.

Huh? I kid you not:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who once insisted that Canadian troops will stay in Afghanistan until the job is done, now says the military mission will end in February, 2009, unless the opposition agrees it should be extended.

The acceptance that the mission’s lifespan may be limited comes as the Prime Minister faces growing opposition to Canada’s combat role in the Afghan south – a decline in support that has been particularly pronounced in Quebec.

“This mission will end in February, 2009,” Mr. Harper said yesterday at a rare House of Commons news conference held to mark the end of the spring sitting.

Isn’t this major news? The most significant Canadian military mission in decades, the most controversial episode of Canadian imperialism will end because Harper said quietly that we’ll stay past 2009 only if all parties in parliament agree.

The NDP is opposed to our presence. Unless they see the light of imperialism in the next dozen or so months, our support for our troops will be supporting them home.

The Globe and Mail covered it on Saturday. Thanks.

But the volitional decision to end our occupation of Afghanistan and cease our imperial agenda there was not plastered all over the front pages of the Sunday and Monday morning papers.

This is a major victory for sanity in Canada. It is also a major reversal of Harper’s militarism in the face of growing national opposition to the stupidity of what we have been trying to convince ourselves we could do there.

And Harper’s embarrassment over his decision to radically change his entire war prime minister image made him squeak it out on a Friday afternoon in Ottawa in front of reporters, for whom he holds shocking and tremendous disdain.

Thank God for Harper that they haven’t skewered him for it. Lucky man.

Maybe Harper’s American Idol speech ending “God Bless Canada” has returned to save him from having to blush over changing his over-inflated sense of his military legacy.

The poor fool.

More "Support the Troops" Brainwashing on CanWest Global

I’m glad I “support our troops” because if I didn’t, maybe I’d be a threat to the free world or something. And since I’m not as talented as the 22 Minutes folks who quite effectively ridicule [see “I support our troops”] all the rhetorical sheep claiming to support the troops, let me just say that disagreeing with government policy in Afghanistan/Haiti/wherever does not mean I hope our soldiers there get slaughtered. Unless you’re intellectually stunted, I mean.

So here is a domestic news story with a military angle. A farmer has a legitimate disagreement with the government regarding his neighbour, a military base.

It has nothing to do with Canadian imperialism in Afghanistan or the creep of Soft Fascism up from w.Caesar land. It has to do with ditches.

And in the end, the reporter, thank god, lets us know that the farmer still supports the troops. I suppose the alternative would be that because of a ditch problem, he hopes the Taliban slaughter all Canadians in Afghanistan, kill all literate female Afghans, blow up more North American corporate and military imperial landmarks, outlaw anything other than radical Islam and invade and occupy Canada because they hate our freedom. Or something.

The effect of the “support our troops” lunacy is to separate us from them: those who support the soldiers from those who wish them all to die. No. Not at all. The job of that phrase being used in the corporate media and government is to make sure that anyone who questions the government policy of the current and previous political party taking part in the Afghan debacle is seen as someone who wishes the troops to all die. The troops are employees of our government, following orders to go here or there and do this or that, not forcing now 3 prime ministers at gun point or anything to send the Canadian Forces somewhere.

The illogic is astounding. But the continued use of this phrase is part of the Soft Fascism creep of the truly evil people in our country.

And the fact that it goes largely unchecked in our country means they are winning. Its smooth inclusion in this issue that is totally unrelated to Canada’s presence in Afghanistan, is part of the brainwashing of corporate media.

It’s time to read 1984 and Brave New World again, eh.


Farmer takes government to court; [GLOBAL NATIONAL Edition]
KEVIN NEWMAN. Global News Transcripts. Toronto, Ont.: Apr 5, 2007. pg. 1

KEVIN NEWMAN: They’re known as Canada’s elite fighting force – highly trained, deployed in a moment’s notice with stealth and deadly force. Tonight, an update on a story that we first brought you two years ago. A farmer from the Ottawa valley who dared do battle with Canada’s commandos, and won, kind of. Here’s Peter Harris.

RON MAYHEW (Farmer): Starting all over again.

PETER HARRIS (Reporter): Ron Mayhew found out the hard way, how difficult it could be to take on Canada’s elite fighting force, JTF2.

MAYHEW: Everybody around here thought it was the RCMP musical ride moving in here beside us. Thats what we were told.

HARRIS: He’d owned this land since 1984. In the early 1990s, Canada’s secret military unit, Joint Task Force 2 moved in next door.

MAYHEW: I have no idea how it escalated the way it did. I just don’t understand it. It makes no sense to me. You’re being watched there now, too.

HARRIS: Ten years ago, the government came on to his property and dug these two trenches. Hundreds of metres long, because they had water problems on their land. It’s like a creek.

MAYHEW: Well, it’s about four feet deep. Five feet deep along here they dug.

HARRIS: And this digging led to piles of clay on his land where he hoped to grow vegetables.

MAYHEW: This is just grey subsoil, grey clay. And when they dug it out, they took it and spread it over, or at least, oh was it twenty, twenty-five feet.

HARRIS: After years of promises and threats to take his land, and nobody cleaning up these ditches, Ron Mayhew took the government to court.

MAYHEW: Well, they jerk you around, I guess. They keep jerking you around and jerking you around. Finally I said, well, partly because of my age, I said I can’t continue this on much longer. I want to leave something for my kids.

HARRIS: They finally settled, enough to cover his costs, to repair the land and fill in the ditches that have been left for so long.

MAYHEW: There’s the finality about it. That chapter is done and now we can go on and do repairs, do what we have to do, and enough to do what I wanted to do ten years ago.

HARRIS: Despite his fight against the government, he still supports the troops, but is glad this fight is finally over. In Ottawa, this is Global National’s Peter Harris reporting.

NEWMAN: And that’s Global National for Thursday. I’m Kevin Newman. Local news is next on most Global stations.

The Myth of Media Objectivity

Kevin Potvin’s piece yesterday in The Vancouver Courier [see below] is a welcome summary of the annoyance and offensiveness of The Province newspaper in particular and corporate media in general as they perpetuate the myth of their objectivity.

It is offensive to our democracy that is supposed to be enhanced by a “free” press for such a paper to actively promote the stadium development, collect mountains of ad revenue from its proponents, hold an online poll to guage public opinion, then remove the poll when the untampered results do not support their political/marketing position.

I, however, enjoy the irony that the CanWest monster that owns The Province also owns the The Vancouver Courier where Potvin and others often take valid shots at the legitimacy of CanWest’s major propaganda dailies.

A friend once mentioned to me that this proves that CanWest actually supports fairness and balance in the media because they own one paper that frequently criticizes the validity of its other papers. But with just over 250,000 copies distributed for free each week throughout the city, The Vancouver Courier does not quite have the readership or budget to authentically counter the mind-numbing propaganda of The Province, The Vancouver Sun, or The National Post, the first two with a circulation of 2,500,000 each week.

And in the end, even if allowing this criticism in a small community paper [that is incidentally outweighed each delivery day by the fliers contained within, making the paper ultimately possibly just a convenient delivery mechanism for advertising] proves CanWest actually listens to or respects its own internal criticism, they certainly do not change their illegitimate operations at their propaganda dailies. So it actually looks worse for them: CanWest owns a paper that legitimately criticizes its major dailies, yet it ignores the criticism and continues subverting the role the free press ought to play in a democracy.


Whitecaps owe public a thank you

By Kevin Potvin

In the week before public speakers were scheduled to appear before council last fall to express their views on the waterfront stadium proposal, the Province newspaper staged an online poll asking what readers thought about it.

The Whitecaps sent an alert to everyone on its email lists urging them to go to the Province website and vote in favour. A link was conveniently provided. The results, which one could monitor as they were coming in, showed early support reaching up to 70 per cent.

But as the day wore on and other people besides those on the Whitecaps’ lists were alerted, the tide began to shift. By 5 p.m., the vote was nearing 70 per cent opposed. That’s when the poll disappeared from the Province website, replaced by a note apologizing for technical difficulties. Final results were never revealed.

I made phone calls and confirmed that Whitecaps president John LaRocca was in touch with a Province sports editor when the decision was made to pull the poll. When I talked to the Province the next day, the paper confirmed it had pulled it because the results did not look right to them, though their technicians could provide no evidence hacking had occurred. The Province is an official “sponsor” of the Whitecaps, and the Whitecaps buy substantial advertising in that paper. Editorials in the Province heavily endorsed the Whitecaps’ waterfront stadium proposal.

It was the public that drew council’s attention to the myriad problems the stadium proposal contained, and not just problems for the public but also for soccer fans and the proposed stadium’s owners as well. Chief among public concerns was the obvious safety hazard involved in packing in 30,000 people above an inaccessible storage area for train cars carrying such things as propane, bauxite and chlorine-the three ingredients in a train derailment in Mississauga that caused the biggest evacuation in Canadian history.

There was also the matter of there being only two exits from the proposed building, with no marshalling area outside the doors, meaning 30,000 fans would plug the streets of the Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood with few people who could afford to go to events at the proposed stadium. And then there was the sheer ugliness of a massive stadium wall blocking the neighbourhood from any hint of the waterfront.

I spoke with the head designer of the project who reacted with indignation at my suggestion that it would be a blot on the landscape. He dismissed my safety concerns as those of someone who knows nothing about architecture.

Council voted unanimously to back the proposal.

Well, looks like the public was right. Last week, the Whitecaps, citing the same safety and public access issues the public speakers brought to their attention, abandoned the original waterfront stadium proposal-the same one the leading papers in the city, the leading councillors, the biggest of billionaires, the huffiest of architects and the most defensive of company presidents all assured me was not only the brightest idea in a decade, but the last possible chance we had to be blessed by the largesse of so wonderful a philanthropist as Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot.

The new proposal, to be built over the Seabus terminal, looks a lot better, better for the Whitecaps, for their customers, and for the neighbourhood. I’ll be checking the Whitecaps website daily for the “thank yous” to the public.

published on 02/07/2007