HAMILTON, ONTARIO – My wife and I went down to Hamilton last Sunday in a bus full of supporters from the London Ontario area to attend a fund-raising rally for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) being held at the McIntyre Art Centre on the campus of Mohawk College. Though the party – founded last fall by breakaway Conservative Quebec MP Maxime Bernier – has candidates running in every riding in the country, they had to fight to get Bernier a slot in the two nationally televised leaders’ debates taking place this week (one in English and one in French) and the party and its candidates are routinely given short shrift in both local and national news coverage.
And perhaps that’s a blessing because whenever the PPC candidates are mentioned, they’re likely as not to be dismissed or derided as intolerant extremists and climate change deniers. They’re the only party who even talks about the need to get our national debt under control. They are committed to wise environmental stewardship but singularly refuse to submit to the climate alarmism now whipping the Western world into a lather. But more than anything else they are denounced for wanting to legally enforce our national borders, to screen immigrants for ideological compatibility with Canadian values and to cut back the volume of immigration to the sort of numbers that pertained before Justin Trudeau became prime minister.
American libertarian, comedian and free speech advocate Dave Rubin did more than any Canadian news or information outlet to raise Bernier’s profile by inviting him onto his immensely popular webcast, The Rubin Report, last February for a full hour of meaty discussion. Rubin’s interest in matters Canadian has been piqued over the last couple of years by his affiliation with Jordan Peterson on his international lecture tours. And in Bernier, Rubin sees another public figure – this one specifically political – who is similarly dedicated to the principles of freedom of speech and thought, personal responsibility and respect for the sanctity of the individual. The very first comment posted on the YouTube page below the Rubin/Bernier interview, comes from a Canadian named Paul who asks, “How is it that a privately funded American show can better inform me on an important Canadian political movement than the CBC does with my tax funding?”
I’m not normally a fan of rah-rah political rallies but this one promised to be – and was – something much more intellectually stimulating and engaging than that. It was billed as a debate entitled, Uncensored: The State of Free Speech in Canada, and featured Bernier in conversation, not just with Dave Rubin but also two other of the more courageously articulate PPC candidates: Dr. Dave Haskell from Cambridge (one of only two Wilfrid Laurier University professors who came to the defense of teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd when she ran afoul of the rabid PC brain police at that wretched university) and Frank Vaughan, a PPC candidate in Peterborough, who also served as the moderator for the evening. And our own candidate in London North Centre, Salim Mansur, gave a stirring talk about the philosophy of the PPC before the debate got underway. For my July 22nd Hermaneutics essay on the trajectory which led Mr. Mansur to the PPC, click here: herman goodden blog / A good man and a long shot
PPC brass had planned the rally and booked the hall back in mid-August and then the outraged left – including various anarchist groups as well as faculty and staff unions at the college – tried to get the event shut down. “Nice little hall you got here,” they insinuated. “Be a damn shame if there was some kind of protest action that got out of control.” Citing these unforeseen concerns, the college then demanded ten times the contracted security fee to properly monitor the event. (You will notice that this is a smelly little strategy of intimidation that is only ever inflicted on conservatives. Conventions of Satanists or baby-eaters are never threatened in this way.) For a few days it looked like they might have to scrap the event or relocate at the eleventh hour, provided they could find a willing venue. And that was when Dave Rubin gallantly stepped up, donating his speaker’s fee and covering all his own travel and accommodation costs and the PPC head office went rooting through their pockets to supply the rest of the last minute price hike.
When we booked our seats on the London bus a couple days before the big event, we knew we'd likely have to run a gauntlet of protesters to get inside the hall. Would we have quailed if we knew that notorious Antifa louts would be among them? I hope not. Our bus arrived a full hour before the debate was scheduled to begin and there was such a large swarm of protesters outside the hall’s front entrance – many of them masked and hooded – that our group leader, Mohammed, wouldn’t let us off the bus until a solid phalanx of police officers was in place to hold the agitators at bay as we quickly filed into the building. Just before the bus doors were opened we were warned to ignore their taunts, keep our heads down, don’t strike back, don’t talk back, don’t even meet their eyes.
I saw one woman launch a missile of spit our way as she hurled herself against the linked constabulary arms that held her back. So far as I could make out, she was a lousy shot and it didn’t connect with anyone. And of course we were bombarded with the usual witless cries of “Shame,” “Fascists” and “Nazis.” The protesters were such hideously behaved children that I wanted to call back that favored old retort of the schoolyard: “I know you are but what am I?” But summoning every fibre of maturity in my being, I resisted. (The gay and Jewish Dave Rubin was similarly accosted on his way in and got one of the biggest laughs of the night when he told the 800 PPC supporters who attended the debate that only in Canada had he ever been called “Nazi scum”.)
Because our bus pulled up right along the sidewalk in front of the hall, the gauntlet we had to run wasn't as long as would be the case for people who arrived by car and had to approach on foot from the parking lot. Not so lucky was one poor woman shuffling along behind her walker who was detained and berated by a trio of masked Antifa cretins. Check out this video clip of her confrontation which was posted by freelance journalist Andy Ngo, garnering five million views in two hours and giving Hamilton just the kind of notoriety that no city wants.
Ngo himself wasn’t at the Hamilton event but earlier this year he suffered a concussion and internal cranial bleeding when he was set upon by Antifa goons at a protest in Portland, Oregon. Nobody has done more over the past few years to document the depravity of Antifa than Ngo and his viewership is vast and growing.
An outraged article on the Hamilton demonstration was posted at the American conservative website, Victory Girls, last Monday night. Wanting to give their readers a sense of what passes for reason in the more benighted circles of the ‘woke’, Victory Girls provided a link to a string of four successive tweets posted by a nasty and barely literate entity who shares his (or possibly her, or their, or its) insights under the banner of @FilthySJW:
“Like, I’m actually so rattled by the response to the incident. She wasn’t hurt. She was just inconvenienced slightly before police escorted her in. But clearly, the inconvenience of an old white woman is scarier than the platforming and spread of hatespeech.
“In summation: the alt-right are always looking for things to smear antifa with and they'll always find or doctor something. And we shouldn't feel bad for an old white woman that wants to see the rights of marginalized folks stripped away.
“The route that she took was used by the people that wanted to cause the most shit. There were numerous other old white people with mobility issues in attendance, but they all chose to walk an easier route. Rather than wading through the centre of the protest.
“And also: fuck that hate filled old woman. Not only did she attend this hateful event, but she also chose to walk through the CENTRE of the protest!! When the sides were guarded by pigs and proud boys and much easier to walk through.”
Unfortunately, this insane assertion - that it is paying customers endeavoring to attend a public and lawful assembly who are causing “the most shit” - isn’t just some fevered delusion of leftist bottom feeders like @FilthySJW. In essence the very same claim was made in a CBC News article by Justin Mowat, in the very first line of his shameless coverage of the event: "A peaceful protest outside an event for Maxime Bernier turned violent Sunday evening as supporters of the People's Party of Canada began to arrive and enter the venue."
Got that? Threatening protesters milling outside and blocking access to a public venue and waving signs with inflammatory slogans like “Immigrants are welcome here. Conservatives are not” and “Canadian values are white supremacy, patriarchy and genocide” . . . those folks are peaceful ambassadors of goodwill who were prepared to get along with everybody until those trouble-making ticket holders turned up to attend their stupid free speech rally.
A little later on, the CBC quoted Kojo Damptey, program manager for some boondoggle of an agency called the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion:
“He stressed that the moment with the elderly couple was a "distraction" from the protest. “I don't think that harassing . . . old folks and people that have disabilities is a good thing," he said. "[But] to talk about that one incident is a distraction from why we were even there. If they (PPC) weren't allowed to speak at Mohawk, that wouldn't have happened," he said. "I think people should be focused on the reason why residents need to come out."
So there you go. If we could just find some way to make sure that certain political parties never get the opportunity to make their case before the public, then we wouldn’t have these problems with suppression and violence. I mean, really, who’s behaving like a fascist or a Nazi here?
And The Hamilton Spectator – helmed today by Paul Berton who was previously the long-term editor of The London Free Press – published a shabby opinion piece headlined, Mohawk College should have declined to rent space to Maxime Bernier which essentially concurred that Dave Rubin was Nazi scum. And I quote:
“Dave Rubin is a far right YouTube personality and a significant part of a radicalization process ushering people into the neo-Nazi movement, according to a recently published study out of Cornell University which analyzed 79 million comments and over 330,000 videos to track the effect.”
I don’t know which particular monsters of the Interwebs these whiz-bang Cornell scholars are conflating Dave Rubin with here but this is an appalling mis-characterisation. I’ve watched dozens of installments of The Rubin Report featuring respectfully probing interviews with people from all across the political and philosophical spectrums. And I have yet to catch Rubin ushering his viewers anywhere except into a space where they might be encouraged to develop the independence of mind to question this scolding and poisonous leftist narrative which seems to be choking everybody’s freedom of thought. Instead of citing some dubious doorstop of an academic study attributing to him things he’s never said, the Hamilton Spectator or the CBC should have tried talking to Rubin himself.
He was asked at the debate if he'd be willing to talk with the protesters who screamed at him outside the hall, and the ever-agreeable chap said, "I'd be happy to talk to them if they're not in my face and screaming at me and calling me a Nazi. If I could sit down with any of those people and chat about it, I would try to do exactly what I did here, which is really try to get them to understand what are your rights, where do your rights come from and how special it is to live in a place like Canada or the U.S."
When we came out of the hall at evening’s end, the revved-up blowhards and nags had all gone home. There was one fellow still making a quiet spectacle of himself; silently standing on top of a sort of planter and waving a large Canadian flag overhead but I don’t think he was protesting anything but rather seemed to be attesting to something that a lot of us were feeling . . . that it was good to be here amongst such large-hearted souls who weren’t cowed by the dreary consensus of our day and were prepared instead to speak their minds about what we could do to make life better and freer for all of us.
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