Ezra Levant: the conservative causes useful idiot

Its a futile exercise to get too worked up about anything Ezra Levant has to say, or whatever clusterfuck the Sun News Network loudmouth may find himself at the centre of at any given moment in time.

To the conservative cause hes a useful idiot. And as long as thats the case, hell continue to have a platform on Sun TV, the unofficial propaganda arm of the government, and in print to keep the lunatic fringe that makes up more of old friend Stephen Harpers base than some would like to admit, spitting mad.

Sun Media execs dont seem overly-concerned about his latest work of fiction, a Remembrance Day rant singling-out Muslims, a fave target of Levants, along with freeloading Roma (or gypsies as Levant likes to call them), gay elites, environmentalists, self-hating Jews, and any other enemies of the state, perceived or real, messing with our freedoms. The offending article is still online, along with a link inviting Sun readers to sign a petition at LoveItOrLeaveIt.ca, at which you can also buy a T-shirt. And, if youre inclined, a Levant bobblehead doll and $100 ticket to Levants latest bit of self-promo, a Free Speech tour in Calgary, by following the links to FreedomStore.ca. A regular L. Ron Hubbard Levant is, with the cult-like following of kitten-eaters to prove it.

Its no accident the Sun News Networks resident Earl Camembert has managed to survive for as long as he has despite his obvious racist and xenophobic sentiments.

Certainly, any other journalist with a list of straight up fuck ups as long Levants would have gotten the heave-ho by now. But Levant is not a journalist. Hes an entertainer, the Canadian version of your garden variety right-wing nuts Glen Beck and Bill OReilly south of the border. And like them, Canadas foremost freedom fighter, is more snake oil salesman than truth teller.

Arguably, Levants standing in the Sun Media family will be enhanced now that Postmedia, the paper founded to pump conservative causes and that Harper helped save from financial oblivion all those years ago by tweaking media concentration rules has bought up the Sun chain. At least, if the way new honcho Paul Godfrey sloughed off outrage over Sun cartoonist Andy Donatos cartoon of Olivia Chow is any indication.

From the Sun there has been silence on Levants Remembrance Day offering: a column based on a memo from Essex school board officials that he writes instructs principals to be prepared to exempt Muslim students from Remembrance Day ceremonies. The memo says no such thing. What it does suggest is principals prepare alternate activities for families who may not want their kids to take part in Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The board says the memo was issued over the safety concerns of some families because of recent events on Parliament Hill, where a gunman killed a soldier standing guard at the war memorial.

But it didnt take much for Levant to whip it into a broader conspiracy about certain immigrants alleged hate-on for Canada. Give Levant a bone… Other choice lines from his column: Even if some old bigot from a backwoods village in Pakistan or Somalia doesnt want to respect Canada, thats where out schools come in and teach those bigots kids and grandkids what it means to be Canadian Its insulting that either parents or the school board thinks Remembrance Day is in any way anti-Muslim. Again, the memo said nothing about religious exclusion.

What prompted Levants outrage? Apparently a link in the memo to a blog post on the first Canadian soldier to wear a hijab in uniform. It wasnt the only link. There were others to illustrate the diversity of a modern Canadian Forces.

Not sure how Levant gleaned anything nefarious in that. The mind is a wonderful thing. But Levant also managed to diss German, Italian and Japanese-Canadians while he was at it.

Could you imagine if a German or Japanese family objected? he asked incredulously. Well, yeah. The Canadian government put many Italians, Germans and Japanese-Canadians in camps during the Second World War, in the process confiscating the homes of Japanese-Canadians, many of whom were born here and had been here for generations.

Its not difficult to see why some members of the Muslim community may not want their kids attending Remembrance Day ceremonies, either, given the fact there are more than a few whose family members have been the innocent victims of questionable wars led by coalition forces. Our CF-18s, as a matter of fact, are bombing the same terrorists we were arming against Assad in Syria as we speak.

There are also members of the Jewish community, of which Levant is a member, for whom Remembrance Day may be a complicated matter. The Canadian government did turn away a boatload of Jewish refugees escaping Nazi persecution before the Second World War. There are many Canadians, who for one reason or another, may choose not to commemorate Remembrance Day.

In another life Levant would be one of those guys wandering the streets aimlessly with a sandwich board warning of creeping Jihad. But Levants ranting and raving, is not so far removed from the views of his friends running the show in Ottawa. He just expresses them less delicately.

In fact, back when the PMs office was just a glint in a young Stephen Harpers eye and he was leader of something called the Canadian Alliance, Levant stood aside and gave up his own nomination for the party in Calgary Southwest so Harp could run in a by-election and assume his rightful place in Parliament.

Back then Levant was part of that cabal of young Reformers, also known as the snack pack, that included the likes of Jason Kenney. Yeah, that would be the same Jason Kenney now being talked about as a successor to Harper.

Harp has always had an affinity for frat boys in knee-highs like Levant. His staff and those of his loyal ministers are populated with them because they take orders, and dont ask questions, like soldiers for the cause are supposed to. Harp was one himself when he was plotting to take over the Reform Party from Preston Manning.

Levant has seemingly been able to convert that solid he did Harp years ago into quite a career, including as a shill for the oil industry. His 2011 best-seller Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands, got a big boost from the PMO. (The PMs former director of planning and now director of issues management, Alykan Velshi, was the mastermind behind the site EthicalOil.org set up to promote the books ideas).

And predictably, in his latest for oil and gas interests, Groundswell: The Case for Fracking, Levant musters some of the popular climate denial rhetoric that the HarperCons have been selling since they took office. Here too he takes on the Wests reliance on oil from Muslim regimes Iran and Qatar with bad human rights records. A loyal hucksters work is never done.

enzom@nowtoronto.com | @enzodimatteo

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