Silencing the words you don't like and don't want to hear.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

August 30th, 2017



Donald Trump calls out the traditional media, labelling them ‘fake news’- all except Fox News, that is. It’s almost like he is preparing a justification for shutting them down.

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 10: Presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures after Carly Fiorina says she met with Russian President Putin at a one on one meeting, during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The fourth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top eight candidates, and another for four other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It is almost unprecedented for the CEO of America to be demeaning the nation’s time-tested news networks and it is worrisome. Isn’t that a tyrant’s prelude to quashing any opposition and to avoiding criticism?

At one point Trump shut down the cameras at the regular White House press briefings and at another he actually banned CNN and some other media, while allowing other media outlets in.

Bracken being arrested

Fred Bracken being arrested in Fort Erie for trespassing

Somewhat related, back here in Canada the municipality of Fort Erie has also been trying to muffle a critic. Local resident, Fred Bracken, was banned from showing up at town hall for a whole year. He had been complaining about the council’s approval of a medical-marijuana facility situated across the street from his house, and let them know how he really felt about it.

Fred Bracken taking pictures

Fred Bracken filming at a public meeting.

Perhaps he’d watched too many episodes of Miami Vice or was worried that his neighbourhood might become a druggy hangout.  But it sounds like the issue became personal and a bit more entangled since he was apparently also being sued by one of the Councillors.

As we know things can get hot in the shark tank of municipal politics and Mr Bracken apparently got a little loud and boisterous one day. And that was too much for a council short on patience and tolerance. So they banned him under Ontario’s archaic Trespass Act when he refused a command to turn off his video camera. They argued that workplace security was in jeopardy by his very presence and called our Mr. Brachen a threat.

And just as well Fred had that camera running because that tape, in court, let the judge see what was really happening. And the judge agreed with him. While Fred may have been angry and annoying, he was neither violent nor a danger to anyone in the Council Chambers. So the judge rescinded the trespass order claiming the council had violated his Charter rights.

I used to post ‘no trespassing’ signs around my farm in Ottawa to keep the fox hunters and their dogs away from my sheep. But then that was my farm. I always figured that public property belonged to the public and that a public council meeting should be open to the public. I mean who pays for these politicians salaries and the venue where they jawbone about public matters.

Fred Bracken had every right to attend a public meeting dealing with matters of governance concerning his interests. He had been a victim of a town council, full of their own self-entitlement as government, trying to shut him up. It was no different than what Donald Trump had been trying to do, nor what we expect to happen in a banana republic or Russia.

When people who have been denied their constitutional rights seek recompense it can get expensive. Omar  Khadr got $10 million out of court settlement because the former Conservative government had left him to defend himself in a foreign country.

The Judge who heard the Fred Bracken case ordered the city of Fort Erie to pay him $4000. It will be interesting to see if the good people of Fort Erie decide they no longer want to pay for the mistakes of their politicians’ big mistake or even if they will decide it is easier to just clean house.

Rivers looking to his leftRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Trump Media Blocking –    More Trump Media –    Trump Media Attack

Ontario Trespass Act –   Fort Erie –    More Fort Erie –    Even More Fort Erie

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9 comments to Silencing the words you don’t like and don’t want to hear.

  • Gary

    Wall Street Journal and the National Post? Really. You can name two with with a right of centre bias. How did they ever escape the net of leftist conformity? We will definitely have to do something to erase their evil influence.

    By the way, insulting your reader by suggesting that he doesn’t recognize these publications is no way to build “community harmony”, or whatever that phrase was you used to describe the purpose of this publication when you spiked one of my more pointed comments. You could have just said the names of the two newspapers.

    Keep in mind Fenton said “most newspapers”, not every newspaper. He is correct.

  • David Fenton

    And most newspaper reporters are liberal lefties.
    Editor’s note: This reader clearly is not aware of the National Post or the Wall street Journal

    • David Fenton

      I don’t think Ive ever drawn a comment from an editor before. You could at least use your real name!
      And Rivers is arguing in the comment section.
      President Trump does seem to bring out the worst in people don’t he.

  • B. Wayne

    Ray,”In fact, the Harper government did bring Khadr back to Canada in 2012, albeit reluctantly”

  • Ray Rivers

    Dear B. Wayne – my facts are straight – check out the record. While Khadr was captured and held by American authorities during the Chretien and Martin governments, it was the Harper government which refused his requests to be repatriated as a Canadian citizen as British and Australian prisoners had been allowed by the governments in those nations. “The Conservative government fought hard to keep Mr. Khadr behind bars, first refusing to advocate for his repatriation and later appealing a lower court decision to grant him bail. Earlier this month, the government argued that Mr. Khadr’s release would damage Canada’s relationship with the United States because he was sent back to complete his prison term.” –

  • I'm alright now

    “Trump is on the road to tyranny,” but not the same accusation for Fort Erie Council.

    Your fascination with Trump having been elected POTUS is getting as tired as Hilary telling us “What Really Happened”. Perhaps you could get with the program and realize there are adequate checks and balances to fend off Presidential Tyranny that have been so far, adequately demonstrated and we will have 3 more years of this experiment going wrong.

    In the meantime we have federal government ignoring, illegal immigration and have instituted Sales taxes that are tied to inflation without any further debate.

  • B. Wayne

    Ray please get your facts strait and stop the spin. A little fairness in reporting would be appreciated. The Liberal governments of Cretien and Martin and yes Harper all dragged their heals on this issue.
    Fake news????? Look in the mirror.

  • As you know, Ray, I was born into Fascist Italy and have studied it all my life. Control of mass media is a pillar of Fascism. The Trump Regime’s attempt to control the mass media is only one example of the rapidly developing American Fascism, growing since the coronation of Ronald Reagan et al. We are seeing it in less obvious ways in the developing mergers and take-overs of media providers. Yet, the public seems blissfully unaware. Frogs in the warming waters.

  • Fred Pritchard

    We also need to clean house in Milton. The local council violated their own rules and without notice, raised taxes on rural residents. Only when they got caught did they agree to debate on the issue.

    The largest group of residents in Milton history attended that council meeting and our elected officials didn’t care. Why you ask, because at the same time, they were increasing the size of the local wards, which meant that the rural folks lost their one seat and now merged with the town folks.

    So they could do what ever they wanted to the rural residents and we don’t have the numbers to boot them from office.

    All this mess is put at the feet of the biggest CON Mike Harris. If he didn’t force local towns to merge, we would not be stuck with in this mess with no where to go.