SUN MEDIA’S EZRA LEVANTE PROVES TO BE JUST AS HYPOCRITICAL AS THE PEOPLE HE RAILS AGAINST, EXPLOITING THE ENORMOUS TRAGEDY IN LAC-MEGANTIC FOR HIS OWN SELFISH PURPOSES
In the June 9th edition of the Ottawa Sun, Sun Media columnist Ezra Levant called out NDP and Opposition leader Thomas Mulclair for exploiting the horrific disaster in Lac-Megantic as an excuse to attack Prime Minister Stephen Harper and score political points against the Conservative Government. Mulclair, Levant claims, was apparently pointing a finger of blame at the PM while firefighters were still battling the oil-fed flames in the small Quebec village. Levant did what real journalists do and used facts to debunk this idea, pointing out that there are actually more railway inspectors now then there were before Stephen Harper took office. But Levant soon remembered who he was and who signed his pay cheques, promptly dismissing the ideals of journalism and returning to being the front man in a smear campaign against any and all things Liberal or Progressive, hypocritically using the disaster to score his own political points in the process.
On June 7th, Lac-Megantic was thrust into the news when a train carrying fuel rolled away from the local train yards and exploded in it’s small downtown area, unleashing a maelstrom of destruction that literally flattened buildings. Authorities have been forced to use DNA testing to identify some remains because they were burned beyond all possible recognition. The death toll currently stands at twenty-four with another twenty-six missing and unaccounted for. Over two thousand people were initially evacuated from their homes, forced huddle in shelters until it was deemed safe enough for them to return. Over 100,000 litres of oil have poisoned the nearby Chaudiere river and the dollar value attached to this disaster will be stratospheric. Once the ash settles, Lac-Megantic could very well be one the deadliest catastrophes in the history of Canada.
Accusations are already flying, along with threats of lawsuits and legal action. Representatives from Montreal Maine and Atlantic, the owners of the train, and its parent company Rail World Inc. have been in Lac-Megantic from day one of this grisly business, though it took several days of pressure on Rail World Inc.’s president Ed Burkhardt before he left his office in Chicago to view the devastation. MMA and Rail World have already accused the Lac-Megantic fire department of incompetence (claiming the fire fighters should have gotten the train’s conductor immediately), the fire department answering those claims it fought the fire using the exact protocols the railway dictates. And not to appear lazy in the face of disaster, MMA has also laid responsibility at said conductor’s feet, labeling the disaster the result of human error. Regardless, police have been treating the entire site as a crime scene as early reports rumoured that the trains braking system may have been tampered with, setting the lethal chain of events in motion. And here’s where Levant’s unabashed hypocrisy rears its pathetic head.
Once he had correctly refuted Mulclair’s attempts to lay the blame for this disaster at Stephen Harper’s door, Levant was quick to nominate a new suspect; eco-terrorists. That’s right, Lac-Megantic could have been the work of domestic terrorists who hate Big Oil and will do anything to hurt it. He even repeated his theory on his Sun Media television show, where it was claimed he was “investigating” the link between the tragedy and eco-terrorists. Levant’s evidence? Well, he didn’t have any; one hundred percent of his conjecture was based on guilt of association (apparently, Sun Media considers making things up investigation). He tossed around names and dates of other incidents but could offer no more logical conclusion for his theory than Thomas Mulclair could offer for his. But to Levant and Sun Media, as long as his theory fixes environmentalists, opponents of big business and corporate Canada in its cross hairs it’s perfectly acceptable.
This hardly ranks as a speed bump in Levant’s constant propaganda tirade. He has often been a fixture of controversy, finding himself on the wrong end of numerous complaints and investigations. In March of this year, he reluctantly apologized for racist remarks he made against Romanian-Canadians on his Sun Media TV show, The Source, likely under pressure from Sun Media’s corporate upper echelon. That apology came just days before he cowered away from making another apology for slanderous remarks he made against the Vancouver Observer, allowing a graphic to do it on a night he took off. Levant thrives off the attention (and given Sun Media’s anemic ratings, it’s likely the only attention he gets) and the tag line for The Source is “Because Someone Has to Debunk the Mainstream Media!” Levant sums up everything Sun Media is; loud, hypocritical and desperate to be Canada’s version of Fox News (Levant and his failing Sun Media cohorts inability to understand that there’s a significant difference between Canadian Conservatives and Fox News audience demonstrates why Sun Media TV is failing and will forever remain consigned to the proverbial lunatic fringe unless they smarten up). In the end, Levant is the perfect tool for the ultra conservative propaganda organ that Sun Media is (emphasis on the word tool).
Could the disaster in Lac-Megantic have been prevented by more government oversight? Possibly. Could it be the result of reckless cutbacks as Mulclair claims? Or is the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition full of hot air? Both are equally possible. Could it have been eco-terrorists as Levant imagines? That’s looking unlikely given Rail World’s musical blame game lately, but it is still quite possible. But we won’t know if any of these theories are correct until we have the evidence to support any of them. If it was the work of anarchists bent on punishing Big Oil, unwitting or not, then they should wind up rotting at the bottom of a very deep pit for a very long time. If it is a matter of corporate neglect (MMA and Lac-Megantic’s residents had an uneasy relationship, many of the townspeople reportedly unhappy with the presence of the railroad carrying oil through their village), then Rail World’s CEO should be dragged off in chains in front of a dozen television cameras and the company fined through their ying-yang until they can’t afford paper clips at the dollar store. If Mulclair was indeed speaking out of his posterior, he deserves a grade A smack down during the next session of Question Period. But none of this can or will happen until plenty of questions are satisfied by actual fact. Levant correctly calls out Mulclair then proceeds to try to score points of his own against an opponent of his choosing using the exact same behaviour he condemns.
But rest assured, if the carnage at Lac-Megantic is the work of the fabled eco-terrorist, Ezra Levant and Sun Media will be the first ones in line to crucify them. But if the fingers start turning towards the corporate head offices of Rail World Inc. or the PMO, Levant and Sun Media will be the first ones in line defending them. And that’s genuine hypocrisy.
- EZRA LEVANT – Megantic mystery: Looking for possible suspects in Quebec disaster? Try anti-oil anarchists (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
- Lac-Megantic vigils as toll rises (bbc.co.uk)