Ezra Levant: The Rebel's unrepentant commander - Macleans.ca

Ezra Levant: The Rebel’s unrepentant commander

How Ezra Levant built The Rebel: the angry, hate-filled, unapologetic and surprisingly successful ‘Breitbart North’

A portrait of Ezra Lavent. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

A portrait of Ezra Levant. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Minus-18 in the middle of a Calgary cold snap be damned, about 1,000 Albertans trundled into a downtown hotel ballroom to grow somehow more outraged over Rachel Notley’s carbon tax. Many were already feeling the bite of economic downturn, starved for contracts or unemployed. They brandished signs, mostly against the NDP, but many questioning the reality of human-caused climate change.

But that’s only about half what they got at this rally. The other main targets of scorn were in the room, holding notepads and cameras.

The licks came steadily from speaker after speaker: conservative politicians, hard-up oilfield workers and commentators. The media are sneering, smug elites, the crowd was told. They’re in bed with the NDP and Justin Trudeau, “squeal” about political correctness, and will put protesting conservatives “through the wood-chipper.”

An occasional oilfield worker and advocate dubbed Bernard “the Roughneck” Hancock, who encourages right-wingers to hack the Alberta government, said journalists feed “off the worst in human nature.” He mused about throwing his shoe at the row of TV cameras at the Westin hall’s rear. “Let’s save our vitriol for the news media,” he said. Attendees obliged, some swinging around to direct their boos at reporters.

But no one can lead a media hate-in like the rally’s host, who also happened to be the lone media executive in attendance. Ezra Levant, Rebel Media’s self-styled rebel commander, singled out the CBC as taxpayer-funded cowards and “disgusting smear merchants.” The cherub-cheeked man in a navy blazer deputized listeners to tell friends of the struggles they’d heard about that afternoon. “I am worried they will not learn that from the enemy media who are here today, the partisan media,” said the leader of a crew of activist-journalists, many of whom self-identify as such.

The onstage stream of invective against journalists was like something out of a Donald Trump campaign event. So was what happened at the prior week’s Rebel-hosted rally in Edmonton, when a few hundred in a larger crowd chanted “lock her up” as federal Conservative leadership hopeful Chris Alexander laced into Notley’s policies. Many news commentators and top politicians in Alberta and Ottawa, including conservatives, denounced the behaviour.

This gave Levant more of what he craves: evidence of an insidious thought chorus by media and political establishments, condemning the grassroots folks—all explained on his nightly online Ezra Levant Show.

MORE: In Koblenz, a summit of Europe’s most powerful nationalists

In an age when news outlets are bleeding financially, Levant has forged a path to Canadian media success: give ardent conservatives a newsfeed unpolluted by thoughts from the other side, and cry battle against the malevolent forces that may disagree. The online-only Rebel has gone from YouTube videos in his living room to a growing team of 28 daily employees plus contributors in the two years since Levant launched it immediately after the demise of Sun News Network and his nightly cable show. Rebel has more than 539,000 subscribers on YouTube, and a list of more than 260,000 supporters who receive email blasts about the latest “SHOCK VIDEO” and call to action or to give Rebel money.

Within two weeks in December, Rebel crowd-funded more than $200,000 for a studio upgrade. Although his extremism puts off moderate conservatives (he despises them accordingly), some federal Conservative leadership candidates come a-courting Levant’s throngs, and right-wing Alberta politicians fear invoking the mob wrath Levant can unleash.

So what if only a minority of Canadians don’t believe in a warming planet or welcoming Syrian refugees, and barely one-fifth told pollsters they’d have backed Trump over Hillary Clinton? For Levant, those are untapped markets Rebel can claim largely to itself.

Bernard “the Roughneck” Hancock speaks at the the Rebel Media rally that was against carbon taxing in Calgary, Alberta on Sunday, December 11, 2016. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Bernard “the Roughneck” Hancock speaks at the the Rebel Media rally against carbon taxing in Calgary, Alberta on Sunday, December 11, 2016. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

In his Calgary audience, unemployed millwright Ben Cohen’s sign asked about the rising suicide rate in oil-bust Alberta, but he wanted to know why he could only hear questions against the climate change scientific consensus from one media source. “Every news organization has a bias, but The Rebel seeks to look for the truth,” he says. Next to him, Scott Broatch chimed in with his nickname for Global TV: Glo-bias. “They’re so left it’s pathetic. Never reports on the good things,” says Broatch, wearing the black parka and ballcap branded by the construction rental company that laid him off in May. He’s convinced the Alberta carbon levy is a tax grab—nothing to do with a not-really-warming climate (so he’s read on social media).

The crowd was literally buying Levant’s twin message against politicians and media. When Rebel staff and volunteers roamed the aisles with empty cardboard buckets and their commander asked for donations to defray the event’s costs (room rental, security, travel from Toronto for Levant and crew), Rebel loyalists rapidly filled the buckets with dollar bills. Mostly 20s, some 50s, from an audience thick with unemployed or barely-working Albertans. Helpers had to empty full buckets to collect from more fans reaching out with outstretched fistfuls of dollars.

While the Sun News bid to create a Canadian version of Fox News was an utter flop, Levant has thrived with Breitbart North. He’s followed the formula that has made Breitbart.com a major hit in the United States: caustic conservatism, treating Muslim immigration as a ticking bomb, endless pokes at anything they can brand political correctness, and unremitting support of Trump—while Breitbart’s CEO Steve Bannon became the president’s senior adviser down there, Rebel up here trademarked “Make Canada Great Again” last month for sale on website-branded merchandise.

“These are people who, like me, share a sense of mission,” Levant tells Maclean’s. There’s something else in Breitbart that inspires his Rebel: “being anti-media media. They’re against the Media Party too.” That’s a term he coined to deride Canada’s mainstream media as too liberal and chummy. Levant’s own enterprise does it differently (for Canada, at least), complete with petitions, rallies and modified Trump slogans on toques. He’s finding success and a solid audience on terms that few Canadian journalists would covet or even recognize. But they’re patently Ezra Levant’s.

Sheila Gunn Reid interacts with the crowd at the Rebel Media rally that was against carbon taxing and Premier Rachel Notley. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Sheila Gunn Reid interacts with the crowd at the Rebel Media rally that was against carbon taxing and Premier Rachel Notley. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Levant registered the website TheRebel.media on Feb. 9, 2015, four days before the long-anticipated yet abrupt shutdown of Sun News by parent company Quebecor. It was the second media dud Levant had helped launch—Western Standard, his attempt at a Canadian conservative magazine, stopped printing in 2007 before its third birthday. Quebecor’s conservative cable news channel, for which Levant moved his family to Toronto from his Calgary hometown, lasted less than four years, after dismal ratings and reported losses of more than $46 million. Levant’s hour-long daily shows were its biggest attention-getter for stunts like chainsawing a tree on Earth Day, as well as varied apologies for slurring a Chiquita Brands executive, Justin Trudeau and his parents, and the Roma people (“a culture synonymous with swindlers,” he’d said on air). By re-emerging online, Levant realized, he would avoid regulators, the broadcast standards council and cable placement.

It was also media on the cheap: a studio and cameras that cost far less than what Sun built, and interviews by Skype instead of satellite. He plunged his Sun News severance into the venture, gathered Sun exiles like fellow host Brian Lilley, and by mid-February 2015 this team was pumping out video rants against Ontario sex-ed education, Trudeau, niqabs and Islamic extremism overseas.

“If you would have told me two years ago that there was this big an audience for ‘the other side of the story’ in the media, I’d have said, ‘I wish,’ ” Levant says.

Three months after launching, voters back west gave Levant a gift: an Alberta NDP government. That June he hosted “emergency town halls” around the province, with a slide presentation on various left-wing and activist backgrounds of Notley’s newcomers. We need to fight back, he told the folks. He’d need donations and Facebook shares for his fledgling enterprise. By autumn, he added an Alberta bureau chief. Sheila Gunn Reid was a stay-at-home mother in Edmonton’s rural outskirts, who had never published outside social media but her rapid invective and digging skills had amassed her 6,000 Twitter followers. She often wears anti-NDP shirts during Rebel reports, casually calls them “jerks” and has pumped out a free e-book about the NDP called The Destroyers. She now has more than 48,000 followers, among the most in Alberta media. She spits fire online but is shy and polite in person, refers to baby booties she knit to gift to a Wildrose MLA. At the Calgary rally, Levant introduced Gunn Reid as his local star. When a crowd member yelled “lock them up,” Gunn Reid repeated it into the microphone, with a giggle. “What we’re doing, people want,” she explains.

In early 2016, after relentless attacks by The Rebel, the NDP disagreed that it’s a media outlet, barring it from news conferences. Levant threatened to sue. Alberta’s press gallery backed The Rebel, and Notley’s office quickly reversed the ban. Gunn Reid regained legislature access, but after her organization’s December protest from the building’s steps, Edmonton Journal columnist Graham Thomson reconsidered defending it. “By organizing a highly partisan rally, Levant has abandoned any pretense of The Rebel being a legitimate news outlet,” he wrote.

Other threats or attacks on The Rebel have stirred its declared enemy to come to its defence: news organizations and even the Trudeau cabinet stood up for Gunn Reid’s right to attend last November’s United Nations climate conference in Morocco, and journalists expressed revulsion when an Edmonton protester at an anti-Trump women’s march punched Gunn Reid and her camera. But even in Rebel‘s outrage against violence against media, it had to swipe a perceived media villain, with questionable allegations against‎ a wire photographer apparently part of the vast media conspiracy.

Ezra Levant, from 2011, as the host of a show on the now-defunct Sun News Network. (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

Ezra Levant, from 2011, as the host of a show on the now-defunct Sun News Network. (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

Levant brands Rebel a “fearless source of news, opinion and activism.” It can behave more like a political action committee than anything else in modern Canadian journalism. One Lilley column listing Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne scandals came with a petition urging her to resign, a FireWynne.ca website, a billboard outside her constituency office and a lawn sign giveaway. The Rebel has urged boycotts with specialized URLs against corporations like Telus, for tweeting an endorsement of national carbon pricing, and restaurant chain Earls for switching to Certified Humane beef from outside Alberta. Telus apologized for its tweet; Earls backtracked.

Meanwhile, everyone who signs a petition gets automatically signed up for Rebel’s regular emails, compiled on software normally used by political campaigns. His database casts a wider net than opt-in email info, also scraping data from Twitter and Facebook followers, Levant says.

He notched another campaign victory of sorts in November, when Alberta Tory MLA Sandra Jansen quit her party’s leadership race and joined the NDP, citing harassment from right-wingers—The Rebel included. Levant had secured SandraJansen.ca and redirected it to a Gunn Reid piece arguing she’s too progressive and would make the Tories “the NDP in a blue dress.”

“I see them as bullies, and I think people are afraid to call them out, because as soon as you do you become a target, just like I did,” Jansen says. Alberta conservative politicians have approached The Rebel cautiously. They’ll make appearances on Levant’s show and rallies, but come prepared for right-field antics. The “lock her up” chant was condemned by Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, who attended the Edmonton rally, and PC leadership contender Jason Kenney, who skipped it. Levant criticized both in kind. “We don’t want to incur the wrath of The Rebel army. They do send a mob in any direction,” one political operator says. “They can play the role of conservative enforcer,” says another. Neither wanted their name used.

The NDP has taken to largely ignoring Rebel commentaries, though a few government staffers spent a December Saturday watching the carbon tax protest and tweeting about the rogue chant and some out-there signs (which Levant alleges were lefty plants). “We’re living rent-free in the minds of a lot of these New Democrats,” Levant says.

If there wasn’t an NDP government to cover, Gunn Reid reckons she’d focus instead on “culture war issues”—tempests over school curriculum, gender issues, and the like.

That fare is well covered by her Rebel colleagues, and gets more clicks. Lauren Southern, a 21-year-old former Libertarian party candidate and anti-feminist, became a social media star when she filmed the reaction to her holding up a “There is no rape culture in the west” sign at a SlutWalk march (1.6 million YouTube views).

Faith Goldy, a former Sun News commentator, unearthed a Fredericton high school staff’s concerns about bullying among some Syrian migrant students—”Sharia creep,” she called it—and it got more even-handed pickup by some other Canadian outlets (156,000 views). Rebel’s biggest hit machine is Gavin McInnes, the Vice co-founder who loves to offend with Rebel rants against single moms (872,000 views) Meryl Streep (798,000), Confederate flag ban supporters (585,000) and Jews who don’t embrace Santa (90,000).

Rebel’s YouTube channel has netted a total of 136 million views, peaking with 19 million in last November. Levant won’t talk revenue specifics, but does say YouTube ads provide Rebel’s third-largest income source. Second is his website’s paid subscribers (he won’t disclose how many) for his nightly members-only program and weekly shows by McInnes, Southern and others. The top earner is crowd-funding, through the ongoing donations Rebel solicits at the bottom of each story, and appeals for special projects like studio upgrades or correspondents’ travel assignments.

Recipients of Levant’s email list are readily activated. He blasted out a note one evening about Lauren Southern’s new book Barbarians (the subtitle casts Islam and immigrants in that lot), and by the next morning those self-published 90 pages became Amazon.ca’s No. 2 selling book.

Levant has been adding staff and correspondents steadily. No bank loans, and no major investors, he says—and, the thing he’s proudest of all, no government funding like the CBC relies on, or like the periodical grants many magazines (including Maclean’s) receive, or like the support the Postmedia newspaper chain has appealed for. “We did it with all our own revenues, which surprised even me,” he says, riding in a hailed black limousine sedan from the Calgary airport to his rally.

“I think it’s that people can’t find the other side of the story in Canada easily. The National Post has gone wobbly. Sun News is gone. Where are you going to get your news that is not Trudeau-flavoured these days?” There’s lots of “good news” online from the United States, he says, “but where do you get it from Canada? The market is so lopsided that there is really no one else treating conservative news consumers even with respect, let alone dedication.”

He gestures to the frigid weather outside, and begins a “Media Party” mimic. “And when we say we’re going to replace the electricity when it’s -20° with solar panels, you’ve got to shut up and take that. And that global warming has hit us, you’ve got to shut up and take that.” He ends with some Peter Mansbridge mockery and a smirk.

For all his rants about media groupthink, Levant and colleagues absorb much of the lingo that dwells in the echo chamber of hard-right U.S. outlets: globalists, “cuckservatives” (a portmanteau referring to mainstream conservatives as philosophical cuckolds) and “social justice warriors”; “fake news” is just the stuff the mainstream guys pump out. Two of his four show hosts, McInnes and Tiffany Gabbay, are based in the United States, as is about one-quarter of Rebel’s web traffic, according to web metrics firm Alexa. Rebel shows often feature interviews with other friendly U.S. media voices, commonly from Breitbart.

MORE: White supremacist Richard Spencer’s disturbing Canadian roots

Steve Bannon once drew heat for calling Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right”—the moniker adopted by a loose collection of mostly online agitators and white nationalists. Levant states “we have a more diverse group of journalists than most,” noting some Muslim contributors and visible minority staff. Content-wise, Rebel takes routine shots at African-American activism and Muslims, a tone that will only sharpen with a new London correspondent who is also head of the group Pegida U.K., an offshoot of the German crusaders against western “Islamicisation.”

Behind The Rebel paywall last November, McInnes’s show featured a chummy interview with Richard Spencer, the white nationalist leader who coined “alt-right” and had days earlier ended a group conference with a “Hail Trump!” shout that some attendees met with Nazi salutes. In the segment, Spencer said they were having fun, being “a little provocative.” McInnes then asked: “I work for a Jew named Ezra Levant. How much does that make your blood boil?” Spencer replied: “It doesn’t make my blood boil at all. The fact that a Jew—he’s a neo-conservative, as I understand… the fact he has you on, you’re kind of pushing things in our direction in your own way. The fact I’m on here and we can talk respectfully, that’s great.”

Weeks after that aired, Levant says he hadn’t watched it, but heard about it and found McInnes’s question hilarious. He’s no longer in the business of forced apologies or skittishness, and trusts his fellow Rebels. He doesn’t tell hosts whom to interview, or vet commentators’ scripts. “Because I know Gavin McInnes, I’m not worried about who he has on the show.”

If Levant puts his faith in the media judgments of a deferential interviewer of a white nationalist leader, and the organizer of an anti-Islam group, who doesn’t he trust? Among that camp is Michael Coren, another ex-Sun TV host. Coren was contracted early on for a few Rebel video rants at $50 a pop. But after Coren penned a National Post column criticizing protests against Ontario sex-ed curriculum, Levant cut him loose. “I think you’re off-brand with The Rebel,” the commander emailed.

Now a writer for the Toronto Star not the Sun, Coren worries about the irresponsibility of Levant’s product. “Anyone can find a video of a group of migrants acting badly. That doesn’t say very much about the huge number of migrants trying to carve out a decent life,” he says. “We have to be very careful with this stuff. You don’t want to play on people’s fears and anxieties.”

To this band of Rebels, this sort of language is the scourge of political correctness. “I think ‘offensive’ is the language of the left—’I can’t control my emotions, so [you should] control what you said,’ ” Gunn Reid says, when asked if any Rebel content offends her.

Levant tells Maclean’s he used to find other media simply biased. His view has darkened. Last fall, he began wielding the term lügenpresse—German for “lying press”—around the time it began surfacing among white nationalists and as a Trump crowd taunt at media.

It’s a loaded, illiberal term the Nazis used to smear the non-Nazi press, and a word that has been revived by Pegida and other German anti-immigrant movements. But it’s emerged elsewhere as well, by German critics of free press in the First World War, and by East German Communists. And on a supporter’s sign at Levant’s last Edmonton rally.

“To say lügenpresse is a Nazi word is to say schnitzel is a Nazi word,” Levant says. “It is so perfectly accurate, and it gets such a reaction from lying journalists. Oh, they hate it.”

Basically, every organization that isn’t firmly on the right with him is against him. They lie. They destroy. This, from a pundit who lost separate libel cases in 2010 and 2014 for his commentary related to his human rights tribunal ordeals—in both cases the judge ruled he showed a “reckless disregard for the truth.” (He lost an appeal for the most recent one last month, ordered to pay $15,000 in costs on top of $150,000 damages and costs the lower court ordered. He’s asked supporters to donate for a Supreme Court appeal.)

A compulsive dislike for non-right media has much to do with Levant’s embrace of Donald Trump, though the president’s stance on immigration, climate and energy certainly appeal to him and colleagues. He’s written a book on how Trump will thump Trudeau (an excerpt is now on Breitbart).

Levant recalls initially being shocked when Trump bashed Sen. John McCain’s prisoner-of-war background, and when he was misogynistic toward broadcaster Megyn Kelly and didn’t apologize. Trump’s numbers, though, kept rising. “Then I got it,” Levant says—Trump’s real opponent wasn’t Hillary Clinton, but media expecting him to atone for nastiness. “To beat the media establishment you’ve got to be brutal and ruthless and incorrigible. Never apologize, never, because otherwise they’ll devour you.”

People attend a Rebel Media rally against the carbon tax and Premier Rachel Notley in Calgary on Sunday, December 11, 2016. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

People attend a Rebel Media rally against the carbon tax and Premier Rachel Notley in Calgary on Sunday, December 11, 2016. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Media highlighted the “lock her up” chant at Rebel’s rally, in part because there was little particularly new by December 2016 about Alberta economic hurt, carbon tax opposition or anti-NDP rallies; plus, there’s high curiosity about anything vaguely Trumpish penetrating Canada.

Levant chastized them for not focusing on his rally’s content, for two straight nights on his self-titled show, where he treaded lightly on that content and instead reacted to the reaction by news reports and politicians.

“How about just once, we all tell the media-political industrial complex to f–k off?” he ended his rant.

Within days, The Rebel was selling “lock her up” T-shirts, and announced the following week’s rally in Calgary. He hadn’t initially planned it, Levant explains, until that media response.

“As a signal to Canadians that you don’t have to do what Peter Mansbridge says anymore,” he says.

The second rally drew Conservative leadership candidates tacking to the party’s right flank, like climate change skeptic Brad Trost, Kellie Leitch, as well as Chris Alexander again, who had told most outlets he was mortified by “lock her up.” He told this audience his donors and “establishment types” warned him not to return. “I’m not going to fold to a bunch of politically correct people,” he said.

This time, Calgary news reports played it largely straight, leaving little for Levant to pillory. But he found his whipping post on Twitter: a twentysomething radio reporter. “We had a controlled experiment of the media. And Haley Jarmain screwed up,” Levant says.

Jarmain is a university student who also reports for Newstalk 770 radio. After live-tweeting the Calgary rally and filing her radio story, she tweeted about the insults she’d faced that afternoon but excluded from her report: “But I got death threats. Was laughed at. Told that I’m less of a human for my job.” Levant and supporters on Twitter pushed back skeptically: why didn’t she call police about threats on her life, or the rally security? She explained later, on Twitter and her radio station, it amounted to one guy telling her “you’re dead” in the foyer, and didn’t want to risk a he-said/she-said by reporting to the authorities.

The next day on The Rebel, Levant posted a 14-minute piece skewering her as a left-wing, social justice reporter, and promised to go over security tapes with her to catch this would-be-murderer. Voice oozing with sarcasm, he announced a cash reward, and acquired HaleyJarmain.ca and HaleyJarmain.com to redirect to his video. Levant’s Twitter backers mobbed further: called her attention-craving, a faker, part of the lügenpresse. (She and her station declined to comment to Maclean’s.)

Journalists tweeted in Jarmain’s defense and called Levant’s stunt disgusting and bullying. That’s just more media tribalism, he says. But journalists aren’t the only ones who worry about this dark side of Levant. “You want to be controversial; you want to hold powerful people to account for their action,” says Kory Teneycke, a longtime friend and former Sun News president. “But on the flip side, I think you get in trouble if you target people who are smaller than yourself.”

Coren says: “I’ve seen him do and say things that are incredibly hurtful, but I don’t think he actually feels it. He doesn’t know the effect he’s having on people.”

He scraped gutter mud a week earlier, too. An Alberta labour leader criticized a claim about his Edmonton rally size, and Levant threatened to post his profile from dating site Ashley Madison.

To call Levant perennially unrepentant is to call fish damp. That young reporter was “an embedded activist,” he says, the paragon of media skullduggery. “You know what?” he says, as though addressing her. “You can own that for the rest of your life as long as I have the money to keep the domain HaleyJarmain.com. She’ll own that lie. Or, we’ll catch the killer. Either way, it’s a win.”


Ezra Levant: The Rebel’s unrepentant commander

  1. I just have to say, thank you to the government of the day for putting money into mental health, so this bonehead, Ezra, can seek out some kind help. I hate to even give this guy a moment of my time to comment, but i honestly believe this guys father or mother, must have dropped him on the floor and he struck his head. Anyone filled with this kind of vitriol and hate, needs to check in to some kind of a clinic. As for the Author, i hope you can find something a little more interesting to write about the next time, giving oxygen to a hate monkey, makes you look as bad as the story.

    • This is the kind of guy, if you worked on a ship with, and he fell over the side, through him an anchor instead of a life ring.

      • Carpet Bomber:
        Your comments on Ezra Levant indicate that Ezra is not the only one here who is filled with vitriol and hate. You, yourself seem to be consumed by hatred and vitriol yourself.
        Perhaps if you can control your motions a little better, you might try to attack the substance of Levant’s positions rather than resort to personal insults. But that would require a bit of intelligence on your part.

        • I don’t stir up hate sentiment in this country like this guy does, just my opinion, and i don’t have the platform like this guy has, to spew his hatred, he never goes over the line as far as being charged for hate crimes, but he always straddles that line. He is the conservative alter ego. I feel sorry for you, if you support this guys kind of free speech. Your just as bad as i am, your attacking me, your going my intelligence, when you should start questioning your own.

        • These hate monkeys need to be eviscerated from the airwaves.

          • Hilarious to see an anonymous reject like “Carpet Bomber” come out against freedom of speech.

      • Carpet Bomber……… interesting online name…… kinda tells us where your mind is coming from……….Do you wear a suicide vest?

    • I cannot stand Levant. I will never forget his glee when Trudeau agreed to a fundraiser boxing match with Brazeau. He continually insulted Trudeau from before the match to the end when Trudeau actually won. He even made statements alluding to the fact that Trudeau would get hurt and he would be OK with that. The sad thing is that the event was a fundraiser so that should have been the focus…not seeing Trudeau get his butt kicked. I lost all respect for him then.

      • Tom- I don’t like Peter Mansbridge or Wendy Mesley. Now, you can easily avoid putting any money into Ezra Levant’s pockets just by not viewing or contributing. There will be no consequence to you if you should choose that course of action.
        On the other hand, were I to refuse to assist with funding of either Mansbridge or Mesley, and chose to be steadfast and resolute in that choice, armed agents of the state WILL eventually come to my door with intent to deprive me of Liberty and property. That is a less than nuanced or subtle difference. Ironically, the odds are extremely high that those who would agree with the state’s position in denying me that choice would regularly describe themselves as “pro choice” in the matter of another public issue.
        Does that not strike you as odd?

  2. Alberta seems to churn out hate monkeys……whole production lines full…..but as a Jew, Levant should know better.

    PS I like the ‘Roughneck’ with the long curly hair…..very appropriate. LOL

    • My comment to Carpet Bomber applies doubly to you.

      • Your comment doesn’t apply to anyone but yourself.

        • Agree!

      • Thank you Eleanor I find Emilyone can only express ignorant and nasty insults.Maybe some one could suggest a medication for her.

        • Maybe YOU could look up the phrase ‘free speech’ and conduct yourself accordingly.

          • Why is my comment not free speech? You insult Albertans, Conservatives and anyone who comments ,that you disagree with, Guess what? I have the same rights to my comments as you do so your choice,don’t read them. I read yours for comic relief.

  3. Maclean’s sink lower into the swamp.

    • Exactly. We really need to add fuel to the Breitbart fire.
      I think it is time to cancel our subscription to Macleans.
      It used to be a reasonable news magazine.
      Not with this trash.

      • While I detest Levant & everything he stands for, it’s important to be know the numbers of people who are buying into his BS. We can’t have free speech if we drive the speech we dislike underground where it can’t be challenged. If underground, it will continue to grow & eventually erupt in an explosive fashion.

        • LOL!! Kay53. OMG that’s hilarious. You said you detest everything Levant stands for, then went on to repeat Levant’s views on Free Speech to a T lol. Which btw – is everything he stands for LOL!!!

  4. I am glad Maclean’s published this. More support for the The Rebel and for Ezra. The author makes it seem that CBC is “unbiased journalism” . Funny stuff truly. There is a reason why people are seeking out this site and watching the news it produces. I am tired of hearing the leftist produced garbage. I am clearly not alone.

      • Every country has a group of haters…..they’re willing to hate everything and everybody…..and there is always someone willing to take advantage of that crowd.

        Ezra gets rich off you people.

        • “Every country has a group of haters” says the woman who takes every opportunity to express her hatred for Alberta and Albertans. Good gawd your lack of insight is truly pathological. If Ezra was an Alberta hater, you would be his biggest fan, Em.

      • Be Very Afraid Commies..this just makes us Stronger..


          Putin and Trump are buddies….makes YOU a Commie.

    • cancelled my macleans two days tired of the slanted left

    • I’m not a huge fan of Ezra, I find him a bit too bombastic, but I do like Lauren Southern. Now that she is legally a man, she seems to have a very good understanding of men’s issues in today’s militantly-feminist society.

  5. Using slurs like angry and hate filled is why MacLeans is going broke. It is possible to write stories without smearing people. Interesting to note you recognize rebel is successful, too bad you don’t learn from that and make Macleans successful as well.

    • LOLOLOLOL…..Rebel is loaded with hate!

    • Why doesn’t Ezra write ‘stories” without smearing people?
      Hate filled rants is all he has.
      How sad.

      • Did you think to ask MacLean’s the same question PEG? With all their adjectives of hate? Guess not eh? And the thing is, Levant states his reasons for his dislike, and they tend to be justified. where as you Lefty’s merely spew hate for the sake of hate. You’re above comment as a perfect example.

    • Smearing people, last i heard, your guy was being sued for few defamation law suites. I guess your not very well informed about this guy, and i don’t wish to mention his name, but i think he has something to do with ‘Smut Rebel Megaphone’, not a news organization, its a conservative attack machine.

      • Do some research on which Canadian news media organization is wrapped up in continuous litigation? How much are they spending on litigation? How many dockets do they have before Canadian courts? Hint — it’s not the Rebel. Then ask yourself “why is that”?

      • Nothing special about being sued for defamation, except the courts too are left-wing biased. I sued the federal government and the Status of Women Canada for (proven) defamation, and learned the hard way that some people are allowed to Libel – and some people are not.

  6. He’s a repulsive putz, any decent person would agree.

    • Apparently he started this at school, and never grew up.

    • So repulsive that his organization is growing while others are diminishing. It’s tough being a deplorable lol.

  7. Why in the world would Macleans even think of giving this mud crawler legitimacy with an article? This man is not only unhinged, he’s dangerous and so are his followers. They issue death threats for crying out loud!

    • Macleans must be desperate for click bait.
      I am ashamed that I read the article.
      Now I will go and have a long hot shower.

    • What death threats? Please share.

      • You can’t be serious. Just take a look at the comments below some of Rebel Media’s videos. Most of them are from people, mostly men of course, whose first impulse is to threaten. I know two people personally who have received death threats, one of whose mother has also received threats as a direct result of Rebel Media’s incitement and lies.
        Threat is their modus operandi.

    • Everyone knows that “drop dead” is merely an expression, and not a death threat.

  8. Levant is a Trump mini-me. The fact he is Canadian makes it even worse. I wonder, could Ezra pass Kellie’s Canadian values test?

    • Trump was so horrible that the Americans made him president. I wonder why?

    • Watch as Canada takes the same “drain the swamp” political path. Time’s up for the self-serving political elites and their media puppets.

  9. Part of my issue with this article is this allusion to “hate”. The left, which unfortunately includes too many journalists, has long debased the concept of hate by labelling any resistance to leftist dogma as “hate”. That’s a deep hole to dig out of. Much of the anger on the right, falsely labelled as hate, stems from decades of us saying “I told you so” when some lefty fantasy gets shoved down our throats and then- Sooprise, Sooprise, Sgt. Carter!- it goes for shit in exactly the fashion we predicted.
    The pattern is the same every GD time. A government proposes some heavy handed approach to solving some poorly defined social ill. A bunch of experts are trotted out. None of them will ever suffer any negative consequences if their advice proves to be faulty. Skeptics, such as myself, say “Whoa!” We’re told “That’s racist!”. The idea goes for crap. Skeptics, such as myself, are handed the bill. The process repeats ad nauseum.
    The anger on the right stems from being shouted down by a largely left-leaning media that has yet to see a deeply flawed progressive wet dream it didn’t want to embrace. Let’s just say we’ve started to shout back.

    • You said that well even if was a little rough around the edges.

    • Bingo – you nailed it.

      And the role of the media in promoting all the solutions for problems that don’t exist is a major part of the problem.

    • Certainly cannot argue with that. The leftist fantasies are all based on taxing and enslaving us, the citizens, but they never explain that to people. Eventually though, people do catch on to the fraud, and that time is now.

  10. He is not wrong about the CBC’s funding. If the Rebel is getting a lot of support what is that telling you? Trump was trashed in the media and he still became President> Why is that? the silent majority. It is because a lot of people are becoming ticked off with the politically correct left. They don’t protest, they don’t riot or do public mischief. They do however vote and support organizations that will help their cause. Hence “The Rebel”
    There are many examples of what the media picks and chooses to publish. Even most media outlets are more left than right and I suppose that starts with our education system and a lot of the journalists who pass through it. Myself and many others support Ezra(The Rebel is growing) I know he is not perfect and has made mistakes. The thing is, most media outlets are driving us straight into their arms> Nobody can deny that CBC especially, along with others are not biased left. We can see all the funding from this liberal government being fed to the CBC. Tell me there is no conflict of interest lol. Seeing how this is a left leaning media source I am anticipating the possible onslaught. Good day.

    • So I guess you’re fine with fact-free news, because that’s what Ezra is expert at. Sun News failed because it was not a news organization, it was an opinion-spewing organization.

      • “Fact-free news…”. Hmmm….you mean like reports that on his vay cay at New Years, Justin Trudeau spewed as many carbon emissions as the average Canadian does in an entire year? For a guy who really cares about climate change, that is quite irresponsible. It neither benefits the economy and certainly hurts the environment. Plus his guest has a terrible reputation for having destroyed the eco-system on the island he owns. Now this kind of news makes it on Rebel but you don’t get it many other places. Why is that?

  11. Irony thy name is Macleans. As Macleans has had to cut back on publications (I stopped subscribing about 10 years ago when your viewpoint took a decided pro Liberal view), Rebel Media is successful.

    A lot of anger in this article – maybe the MSM needs to look at their model and realize that it is not working. It is not working, because people are not stupid – they can see their bills increase as governments add more and more ‘charges’ onto bills; they can see that they children are getting piss poor education; they can see that more and more of the political, cultural, media and academic elites are completely at odds with the priorities and needs of their friends, family and neighbours. THEY NOT LONGER BELIEVE ANYTHING THAT THE MSM IS PUSHING. I wouldn’t believe a reporter standing in front of a burning building telling me it is on fire.

    • Maureen & Herb- Well said.

  12. I really miss Sun News and Levant. Just like in The States where the rest of the media other than FOX is so left it would gag a maggot-that was true in Canada as well. But now with Sun gone, we only have leftist media remaining in Canada and no where to go for the other side of the story. I flip back and forth between CNN and FOX-the truth is usually somewhere in between. I don’t have that choice for Canadian content-a shame!!

    • you still have MacLeans…..

      • MacLean’s is moving further to the left with each issue!!

  13. Macleans shouldn’t be writing stories about wind-bags like this guy, or give people like this and their organisations media name recognition. That’s just what these people crave, and is only junk journalism. Instead, Macleans should be addressing the underlying issues with facts, and the various opinions of informed commentators on various sides of the issue(s). I say ‘informed’ commentators, meaning a diversity of those that have a viewpoint based on fact, study, or experience, rather than hate, or selfish motives associated with financial gain, and inflated or damaged egos. Come on Macleans, stop bottom-feeding and produce responsible journalism!!

    • The problem for McLeans, and other media, is that these new independent media organizations are cleaning up by providing something that McLean’s et al cannot. The independents are not beholden to the powers-that-be, and don’t need the money of rich men or governments, so they can say what they believe. Nobody is so naive to believe they get everything right, but they are honest and they don’t have to bow to pressure from anyone except those who fund them – their readers. Like it or not, that is very refreshing after so many years of puppet propaganda peddlers like CBC, McLeans, etc.

  14. if Ezrat had lived in nineteen forties Holland, he would have turned in Anne Frank to his fascist masters…..

    • Don’t be so stupid. Ezra would have been sent to the camps by the government, and you know it.

    • You must be thinking of George Soros.

      • The fact is Rebel represents US interests!

        To be truly Canadian means we need an independent Canada free from Trumpism and based on Hurtigism!!

        • Rebel defended Alberta ranchers against BS spewed by Earl’s restaurant chain about cruel treatment of beef when the truth was they wanted to buy from a US farm that practiced Halal butchering where they slit the throat of a live animal and let it bleed out. All other news outlets blamed Alberta ranchers for not going organic. They didn’t even take the time to investigate the story. Nor did they reveal that other restaurants owned by the same chain were still serving up Alberta beef. He is not representing US interests. He stands up to Rachel Notley who is telling Albertans to offset the carbon tax by walking or taking the bus while she rides around in a chauffeured SUV. It is the same with Trudeau and the massive amount of carbon emissions he spews for his holidays and then lectures the country on climate change. Walk the talk.

          • I agree-he has the interests of Canadians in mind. With Obama and Trudeau having a love affair over man-made climate warming, Levant stood his ground denouncing the sham that it is. The distorters who say 97% of scientist are on board fail to note that the question that was asked was “Do you believe the globe is experiencing warming?” 97% answered “yes”. However, if you add to that question “and man is largely responsible”, there are now 31,700 scientists around the globe, with that number continuing to increase,who say “no”. Levant is trying to save Canada from itself!!

  15. Maclean’s would do well to bring back Mark Steyn, but like most of the MSM these days they have their blinders on and will continue down the same path that they have for the last 2 or 3 decades and will continue to lose subscriptions.

    Mark sums it up in this posting – the MSM were wrong, wrong, wrong about Trump before the election and they are continuing to brush him off – that probably will not turn out well for the MSM

  16. Ezra keep up the great work reporting the facts not the twisted or slanted half truths the main stream Media reports or promoting thier political party’s agenda like Macleans does.This why a few days ago I cancelled my macleans subscription and will move my little bit our to read the truths and all subjects.

    • Vote Canadian Action party so the Bank of Canada can be used to reduce our debt!!

    • Rebel is an op-ed website which expects people to lose all senses of right and wrong and believe what is being spoken. The fact is people shouldn’t believe what is said by Rebel because facts matter and op-eds are anti-factual. That is why they are spoken by people and not fact-checked. You might want to realize that before believing what they are saying wholeheartedly. Macleans and all other news sites have more facts in their little pinkies than Rebel does in their entire organization which is meant to follow Breitbart and Jones rather than inform people, which they don’t!

      • That is why Canada needs an independent media to inform, educate and not lead people towards a point of view to get people to vote for one of the three major party oligarchic parties.

        Why do people need to vote Liberal or Conservative or NDP to supposedly “SAVE Canada”?

        That is what you should be answering, Bob Herr, rather than telling people why Rebel is supposedly an organization that we should be force-fed into supporting!

        • No one is force-feeding you into supporting Rebel. The fact is that it is good to look to a lot of sources to get your news. An editor chooses what stories get printed. No one says you have to believe everything or support everything you hear or read. That’s why you have a brain and discretion but you certainly will be better informed the more sources you seek out. I am not a Trump fan in any way, shape or form but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe we should hold politician’s to their promises and to moral and ethical behavior.

  17. He’s an entertainer not a reporter.

    I didn’t even bother reading the article, too many surveys to fill out.

  18. “Rebel loyalists rapidly filled the buckets with dollar bills.” How long has it been since Canada had dollar bills? Hasn’t Jason Mark-us-off heard of loonies and toonies? I guess he does all his spending with a Maclean’s credit card! The whole article has the tone of the sneering, self-congratulatory media élite that is consistently failing its responsibility to keep the electorate informed. Ezra is one of the best REAL journalists in Canada… that why his numbers are rising and CBC’s are falling.

    • The only games that Rebel hopes to play are culture war nonsense games and prey on the easily-swayed and easily-led, and Canada needs more independent media so that people don’t fall into the left-right trap of voting Conservative. The fact is that in the end Levant, Lilley and all of them want people that are their supporters to donate money and buy into their causes, and their other game is for people to believe they are buying into a cause when in actuality they are simply voting for conservatives at all levels. The fact is people should be open-minded and not buy into messiahs that want more partisans in society. People should be open-minded because all Rebel is is just a network for supporting trickle down economics, and for buying more Reaganism when it should have died long ago.

      • Too true. Vote Libertarian.

        • Vote Canadian Action party so the Bank of Canada can be used to reduce our debt!!

      • The Rebel Media depends solely on donations and memberships from it’s supporters to operate. They do present a more conservative view which is lacking in the elite mainstream media and CBC. That is why people donate to support them. Because of the high cost of television broadcasting, they cannot use that media, but are limited to the internet. CBC is a biased broadcaster which is funded by all taxpayers and has the privilege of having a nation-wide television and radio network which is worth billions of dollars, but, by and large, only represents the view of the liberal left. In a free society which respects freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it is to be expected broadcasters like Rebel Media will exist to present the right of centre viewpoint, even if only on the internet and therefore a limited audience.

    • Rebel is also part of the media elite because it supports mainstream parties in the form of the Conservative party, so in actuality when people say they are supporting anti-mainstream anti-media elites but on the Conservative side they are still supporting media elites because the Conservative party by definition is still a mainstream option because they have representation in our parliaments and legislatures. Also, Canada does not have a left wing bias because there is still a massive groundswell of options for media. It is all lies by the Conservatives to play victim much like the US Republicans.

      What Canada needs is a strong fourth option to give people new voices and to help them move away from the big 3 parties in Canada.

      It is not hard to comprehend.

      • So, you are a Libertarian Party supporter?

        • I am a Canadian Action party supporter!!

          • Ah yes, Canadian Action Party. I know quite a number of ex-members.

    • Also, it is not smart to play culture war games otherwise we fall into the trap of the right wing sycophants.

      Canada needs independent media also to educate people so that people can choose the 15+ minor parties in Canada because those options to exist!!

      • keep watching.

        • That is why Canada needs an independent media to inform, educate and not lead people towards a point of view to get people to vote for one of the three major party oligarchic parties.

          Why do people need to vote Liberal or Conservative or NDP to supposedly “SAVE Canada”?

          That is what you should be answering, Bob Herr, rather than telling people why Rebel is supposedly an organization that we should be force-fed into supporting!

          • Not Bob Herr I mean Freeman Dick. The fact is Rebel represents US interests!

            To be truly Canadian means we need an independent Canada free from Trumpism and based on Hurtigism!!

          • Maybe, but I am not keen on any government or political party that tries to push some particular strain of “cultural values” on the citizens. I’ll pick my own “cultural values”, thank you very much. That is not a valid role for government, it is the sort of thing that Conservatives and NDP and Liberals do.

  19. Mr. Markusoff,

    I was directed to this article by a lawyer friend of your fiancee yesterday. It was just as entertaining and enlightening as I expected. Well done. I recall my parents subscribing to the Western Standard and my parents still regularly post links to the Rebel to Facebook. Ironically, my father has been a dedicated Macleans subscriber for most of my life. I can only hope that a few more articles like this will slowly chip away at their insulated conservative lives.

    I don’t understand the mindset that embraces this sort of worldview, personally. To agree with much of what this brand of right-wing media espouses, one has to disregard the majority of science and all care and concern for the welfare of others. All the talk from the right of personal responsibility and freedom of choice sounds lovely on its face, but when one listens to more of it, the realization hits that what is really meant is “money and freedom for me, and if someone else can’t survive on their own due to various circumstances, that’s their own fault. (You had sex out of wedlock, so your kids are your problem! You should find a better job! Go back to school even though you can’t afford it, and don’t expect me to help foot the bill for your student debt)”

  20. In the interest of shining a light on some of the problems in journalism, here’s some stuff to chew on. One is that journalists need to be better informed. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read an article about something in which I have a certain amount of expertise, and found much of the article to be highly erroneous or misleading. Now, given that, and in light of the fact that there are many more subjects that I know nothing about, why would I read an article filled with errors or misrepresentations and then turn the page and suppose that an article about something where I’m largely ignorant isn’t error filled as well? That’s one thing that began to turn me away.
    Opinion being intentionally masqueraded as fact is another. They are not the same thing, and when you add a healthy dose of condescension into the mix, that’s just compounding an unforced error. Another compounding factor is the lack of self-awareness that seems especially pervasive among journalists. I used to sit in my neighbor’s back yard and drink beer with a bunch of his newspaper cohorts. To a one, they were hard core New Democrats, and considered themselves center-right. You can’t account for bias if you are blithely (or determinedly) unaware of it. The writers at this mag are as guilty as anyone for left-ish bias, and it hurts your brand.
    I’m not saying we need to have a right wing echo chamber. I am saying that those who live in the left-wing echo chamber are not aware that they do, and that those whom the writers of this mag might claim to live in a right wing echo chamber are gravely out of touch. Most of the main stream reporting we encounter is lefty biased. What has happened is we found a way to fact-check you guys, and we share our fact checking.
    For lack of a better description, we read the mainstream, and then come up for air in the still waters of the right. The lefties NEVER dip from a stream that flows from the right, ever.
    There may be a right-wing echo chamber, but the one on the left is the bigger of the two.

    • A very thoughtful piece of input. I share your views fully.

  21. The Rebel Media brings us important news about what is happening that the mainstream media doesn’t give us. In fact, the Rebel’s claim that a lot of subjects are actually supressed and unreported by mainstream media for political correctness reasons and a desire not to rock the boat. The Rebel Media just reported that the Trudeau government is bringing in an anti-blasphemy law which will ban any criticism of Islam. This is a insidious attack on freedom of speech. The mainstream media in not reporting this is doing a great disservice to Canada in that freedom of speech of Canadians will suffer if this is passed into law. So regardless what you think of Ezra Levant, you have to admit The Rebel Media are providing a good service that is not provided by mainstream media.

  22. No, as someone who was there, Sheila Gunn Reid was NOT punched at the Edmonton Women’s march. She was being disruptive and giving interview time to a bunch of ultra-rude, heckling men who were disturbing the proceedings with their loud singing and nasty comments. Instead of taking the interview off to the side, as any credible journalist would do, no, she had to talk to them endlessly in front of a crowd of people who were trying to listen to the speeches. This man got involved trying to tone the group down and Sheila would not stop harassing him and filming him even though he told her repeatedly to stop. Her camera was shoved and miraculously survived for her to immediately cry victim (on tape of course) and start a completely false story. Maclean’s, please correct this. You’ve been pulled into their baloney and an innocent man is already being slandered as it is. This non-event may or may not end up in court but as of now there is no evidence that I can imagine, apart from her lies and the lies of those connected to this monstrous “media” outlet, that she was punched.

    • I saw the video and she was doing what reporters are supposed to do – ask questions and continue asking questions until she gets an answer. The problem for most of these left wing snowflakes is that the MSM coddles them by lobbing them softball questions or just accepting whatever incoherent answer they give.

      • You saw the part of the video that Rebel Media chose to publish. You didn’t see the half hour of unprofessional nonsense that preceded it. You didn’t see her refusing to leave him alone. You didn’t see the yahoos that she was interrupting the event to interview right in the middle of the crowd. Of course he shouldn’t have pushed her camera. He has apologized for that and offered to replace it. But damaging property is not in way an excuse for the witch hunt that both Sheila and Ezra have initiated. It’s slanderous and verges on hate speech. The fact that anyone could believe a word that comes out their mouths is beyond my comprehension.

    • The last report I saw said the guy punched the camera and he has been located. The camera may have been shoved into her face as a result. The issue is not what kind of interview she was conducting, but whether she was assaulted. Punching someone or punching their camera which may be in front of their face could constitute assault. We shall find out.

      • No, damaging a camera is not assault,. Very far from it.
        It may be property damage but it is not assault.

        • If it then hits the photographer in the face it is. It’s something like using a brick.

          • It did not hit her.

  23. Geez, since Ezra slunk off the National stage and made aliyah to Tronna, I had hoped he’d had a cerebrovascular accident or a crippling accident with his zipper. Sadly that ain’t the case and he’s rebranding himself as some sort of Canadian Gauleiter? He’s a bit short and dumpy to pass himself off as a fuhrer, a Bormann perhaps. We should be rejoicing that he’s not channelling Tim Buck.

  24. Wow…. what a dangerously misleading article….. makes MacLeans look very unprofessional….. Jason…..Ever heard of sticking to the facts?

  25. “Lock her up”? On what charges? What has she done? Oh, just for being a leader they hate? How fascist of them.

    “To say lügenpresse is a Nazi word is to say schnitzel is a Nazi word”

    What a load of crap. And from someone who should know better, too. Remember one thing, Erza: In the real Fourth Reich, you’ll be the first to go.

    And as for his “followers”, I really think “marks” or “suckers” fits better, same with their Trump-supporting brethren down south:

    “When Rebel staff and volunteers roamed the aisles with empty cardboard buckets and their commander asked for donations to defray the event’s costs (room rental, security, travel from Toronto for Levant and crew), Rebel loyalists rapidly filled the buckets with dollar bills. Mostly 20s, some 50s, from an audience thick with unemployed or barely-working Albertans. Helpers had to empty full buckets to collect from more fans reaching out with outstretched fistfuls of dollars.”

    Boy that really makes it clear, doesn’t it? Y’know, I hate to even resort to this, but it seems like the only thing that would get through to his supporters, so…

    Newsflash, alt-right: (((Ezra Levant))) is not one of you. He’s a fraudster, a scammer; he says terrible, bigoted, flat-out false things so you’ll fall in line and give him money. Same for (((Milo Yiannopoulos))) for that matter; they’re not free-speech activists, they’re con-artists! They don’t give a damn about you and your well-being, they just want money, power, or both, and they’re just using you to get there.

    Ugh, now I just feel dirty. If you’ll excuse me, I need to take a shower.

  26. Where does this “hate filled” stuff come from? How about a reasonable story about the rebel? This is why they are succeeding and Macleans is failing.