Danielle Smith and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
1. appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2. marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
October 21st of this year the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation posted episode number 621 of their 'Day 6' series of news and ideas in a podcast format. I am not by any means a regular listener to the CBC but I am morbidly interested in their politically driven content and some of their employees, in this instance a fellow by the name of Justin Ling.
In this episode of 'Day 6' the moderator of the show is on a mission to inform Canadians about Alberta's new Premier, Danielle Smith. The show has enlisted the help of Justin Ling, introduced as an 'award-winning investigative journalist' who has been following Danielle Smith and who breathlessly shares the results of his investigations.
For reasons which become evident as one listens to the podcast, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have chosen not to offer a text version of the interview and I felt that what has been said about Ms. Smith borders on 'liable' and must be made available to as many Canadians as possible. Not only are the CBC attempting to make the Premier of Alberta look like an uninformed stooge, they are also suggesting that the new Federal Conservative Party leader, Pierre Poilievre is a hypocrite who is playing his voting base to advance his career.
There are no facts presented during this radio show by either the moderator or Mr.(?) Ling apart from the facts that a) Danielle Smith is Premier, and b) Danielle Smith posts on social media. There are no details offered up to support the claims made by the CBC that she or her posts are 'anti-semitic' while Ling goes so far as to bring up the possibility that Smith is being paid by, or is an agent of Russia. Although he quickly suggests that this may not be the case, he does accuse her of the crimes of 'actually believing what she says' and not buying into Justin Ling's version of reality.
Danielle Smith has been Premier of Alberta for less than two weeks and she's already been at the centre of multiple controversies. First there were her comments about people who chose not to be vaccinated against COVID: “So they have been the most discriminated against group that I have ever witnessed in my lifetime.”
And then this week footage surfaced of a live stream where she shared her opinion on Russia's invasion of Ukraine: “It would be absurd for Canada to have nuclear weapons and be allied with Russia, and not think that was going to upset America. So why would we be surprised if Russia is upset because Ukraine has nuclear weapons and is allied with the United States?”
Ok, before we go any further I should say that Ukraine does not have any nuclear weapons, but that's not really the central point here. That live stream was hosted on 'Locals.com', a largely right-wing, members only social media platform. Danielle Smith was active there until very recently and it turns out a lot of what she posted referenced 'vaccine misinformation', 'Russian propaganda' and 'anti-Semitic, globalist conspiracy theories'.
The reason we know this is because Justin Ling signed up as a paid follower of Danielle Smith's account to learn more about what she was saying to her followers there. Justin Ling is an investigative journalist and author of the 'Bug-eyed and Shameless' new letter. What sort of content does she share on that platform?
“Danielle Smith's Locals.com page is pretty rife with her unvarnished opinion, her takes on the news, her recommended reading, her plans politically. She's made some early announcements on this platform that she was jumping back into the world of politics. So this platform is really kind of a particular and unique insight into her her world, and the kind of insight you don't normally get into a politician's sort of thoughts, right? Not a lot of politicians post to subscriber-only platforms, but Danielle Smith did!”
This week Smith issued an apology for sharing articles from sites known for 'pro-Russian disinformation' and for telling her followers that, quote; “The only answer for Ukraine is neutrality.” Is that consistent with what she's posted on her page before this?
“I mean, yea, not only did she post content along those lines to her 'Locals' page, she also said it in a live stream talking to her subscribers, she also put it in a news letter that went out more broadly to many people who have followed her political career.
So she publicly said in this, “Ask Me Anything” she did with her subscribers, that maybe Ukraine aught to give up its nuclear power, nuclear weapons in order to appease Russia. Of course that's ludicrous. Ah, Russia deos not want neutrality, it wants to control Ukraine and of course Ukraine doesn't have nuclear weapons so it has nothing to give up.
She also shared a page that suggested that Russia was only kind of pushing back against NATO imperialism, and by the way, that blog is rife with anti-semitic, holocaust denial! So it's not as though Danielle Smith was kind of searching for the truth, or sharing a variety of opinions, the views she was expressing were unanimously, a hundred percent in-line with what Russian propagandists were saying.
Now, does that mean Danielle Smith is being paid-off, or that she's a Russian agent? No, no, of course not. What was happening is that she was getting her news and her information either from sources that were completely out to lunch, or from subscribers to her Locals.com page who have posted many of these links, many of these videos, much of this information in the days before she wound up sharing them!”
What do you make of the apology itself? Do you think her opinion on Ukraine has actually changed?
“Yea, I mean, I think I have to take her at her word that her ridiculous past views have evolved into something kind of resembling sanity. Um, I, I don't think we have to demand that she, ah, you know, basically adhere to the mainstream, the mainstream position, but I think we do kind of have to demand that she live in the reality with the rest of us. And if she says she has sort of abandoned these past views, I suppose I have to believe her. But it's sort of beside the point.
You know it's not so much that Danielle Smith has expressed bad opinions or is incorrect about things, it's that she's proved herself incapable from doing, for doing even a modicum of research to confirm the information she's reading before she publicly endorses it. Which is a very, very bad trait in a politician, right? Who has to ingest a lot of information and separate what is useful and important and credible from what is complete non-sense.”
I want to turn to another issue where she's received quite a lot of criticism. Danielle Smith has been criticized for her comments about vaccine mandates. I'm wondering how those comments fit into what you've seen on her Locals.com page.
"I should say, you know, it's not about vaccine mandates for her, its about the vaccines themself. I, I mean I think that she's made this abundantly clear, um, both in what she's said publicly, but also what she's saying privately to her subscribers. I mean she, I think has been smart enough to not come out and say, “the vaccines have killed scores of people”, but she keeps sighting and endorsing and recommending people who do.
She keeps intoning that we are about to see a wave of insurance claims for people who have suddenly died, and she keeps pointing to the organizations that are suing the Canadian government, saying that 'the vaccines are either a tool of surveillance or population control.' So we are well beyond a debate about vaccine mandates, which is, I think a debate which is, you know, a reasonable one to have; About whether or not they were effective, whether or not they were the best way to keep people safe. We're well beyond that.
Danielle Smith has repeatedly endorsed Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the worlds most prevalent anti-vaxxers, who has made a crusade of publishing video and disinformation targeted at populations, especially black Americans, especially other communities encouraging them not to get the vaccines. How can we trust that Danielle Smith is now going to manage a Province-wide public health apparatus? Right? She has to encourage people to get the vaccine, right? She has to encourage people to get the flu vaccine, the mumps vaccine, you know, others.
How can we trust her to do that knowing who she's taking this information from, who she considers a trusted voice on the matter? She is making the conscious decision to ignore public health experts, to ignore peer-reviewed science, to ignore virologists and epidemiologists, and she's making the decision to put her faith in a whole bunch of quack doctors, may of whom have been suspended from practice, in one case for falsifying adverse reactions from the vaccine. She has put her faith in those people, in, in listening to them about vaccines, public health and COVID-19 over the actual experts.
That is terrifying!”
But Justin, Danielle Smith is hardly the first politician to dabble in this kind of conspiratorial thinking, so I'm wondering, what makes her different to you?
“I think she genuinely believes it, right? Like I don't think Pierre Poilievre genuinely thinks the World Economic Forum poses a threat to our democracy and our sovereignty. I don't think that Pierre Poilievre believes that vaccine mandates are a massive imposition on our civil liberties. You know I tend to think that, that Pierre Poilievre is playing footsy with some of these movements because he wants to channel their energy into a successful political campaign.
Danielle Smith I think has actually fallen into the quicksand with these people, right? Like, I've followed her career for many, many years, I've been on her radio show ironically talking about Russian disinformation and its impact in Canada. I genuinely, in looking at her posts, I genuinely think she has slid down this path of believing a lot of things she's reading and seeing, and I think that makes her unique in this space.
Now again, maybe she's snapped out of it since she got into politics, but this wasn't years ago, this was earlier this year that she was having conversations with these people, speaking their language, engaging in these conspiracy theories and I think it has more in common with many of the politicians you are seeing in the United States right now who genuinely believe the 2020 election was stolen, of people who genuinely see drag queens as a threat to children, who genuinely think that global warming, that climate change is a fraud perpetrated on us to enact climate lock downs.
You know, I tend to think that Danielle Smith is, is not playing these people, but she's being played by them.”
End of Interview.
Clarification on Nuclear Weapons: The Ukraine supposedly gave up their nuclear weapons arsenal when they became independent from the failed Soviet state almost 25 years ago however they certainly have the material and manpower to remake such a device. There are three working nuclear power plants in the Ukraine and four which have been shut down, including Chernobyl. Of those seven only three, Chernobyl, Kharkiv and Zaporozhye have become accessible to Russian forces but they continue to push for control of Ukraine's fissionable material which Kiev and Energoatom, Ukraine's atomic energy group won't willingly give up.
At this writing the Ukraine has made many requests of their western backers (Europe, England, the United States and Canada) for the supply of nuclear weapons and/or the use of nuclear weapons on Russian territory.
Clarification on the wave of Life Insurance Claims: (LINK), (LINK), (LINK),