Here are the show notes for Canada's Political Chaos - Rounding the News, livestreamed on March 3, 2023. Watch the episode on the following platforms:
- Locals: https://roundingtheearth.locals.com/post/3611898/canadas-political-chaos-rounding-the-news
- Rokfin: https://rokfin.com/post/126105/Canadas-Political-Chaos--Rounding-the-News
- Odysee: https://odysee.com/@RoundingtheEarth:8/canada's-political-chaos:9
- Brighteon: coming soon
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/100089876748410/videos/717030659964210
- CloutHub: https://clouthub.com/v/vhbZMh2c'
You can also listen to the audio podcast here:
- Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/canadas-political-chaos-rounding-the-news/id1631953407?i=1000602706927
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1th7AfJPb4nnbCZZqbiVyp
- Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/3a58411a-b7c4-477b-af0a-b75a52a64831
- Audible: https://www.audible.ca/pd/Canadas-Political-Chaos-Rounding-the-News-Podcast/B0BXF14VY7?ref=a_pd_Roundi_c0_lAsin_0_0&pf_rd_p=ef8b1b21-74d0-4bb7-8c33-48388ec241ca
- TuneIn: http://tun.in/trTiJ7
- Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/rounding-the-earth/episode/canadas-political-chaos-rounding-the-news-300169798
Oral arguments on Pfizer’s motion to dismiss whistleblower lawsuit
On Wednesday, lawyers for Pfizer and two research contractors appeared in court to argue in favour of dismissing the landmark lawsuit brought against them alleging substantial misconduct during clinical trials for their COVID-19 genetic vaccine, BNT162b2.
The plaintiff in the case, Brook Jackson, filed the complaint after witnessing a series of critical flaws in how the Phase III clinical trial was being run at Ventavia Research Group, where she had been hired to oversee the conduct and activities of research staff. According to Jackson’s testimony at A Citizens’ Hearing in June 2022, Ventavia had enrolled more trial participants than their facilities could safely accommodate. “Pfizer was applying pressure on Ventavia to enrol more patients than they were capable of safely overseeing, despite being understaffed and lacking the infrastructure to conduct this type of study.”
Other issues included the inadvertent unblinding of participants, failure to maintain the integrity of trial data, and miscategorizing of adverse events observed during the trial. The explosive allegations were brought to the public in November 2021 through an investigative report published in the British Medical Journal by Paul Thacker.
Jackson filed a claim under the federal False Claims Act, a provision of law allowing citizens to seek legal action on behalf of the citizens of the United States. Otherwise known as a qui tam case, her claim accuses Pfizer, Ventavia and another contractor, ICON, of defrauding the U.S. government and the American people, given that the data from the Phase III clinical trial was subsequently used as the basis for awarding an Emergency Use Authorization for BNT162b2 in December 2020.
According to lead attorney Robert Barnes, oral arguments lasted more than three hours and did not immediately result in a ruling.
For those new to the case, Brook’s story can be explored further by watching her testimony at A Citizens’ Hearing. Mathew and I also had the pleasure of welcoming Brook and Warner Mendenhall, another attorney on the case, to one of our first round table discussions back in August 2022.
Finally, all of the court documents related to the case can be found on Brook’s website. We’ll be continuing to follow Brook and the case as it progresses!
NBC Journalist Placed on Ukrainian “Hit List” for Crimea Story
NBC News journalist Keir Simmons is facing alarming blowback after reporting that Crimean citizens consider themselves Russian rather than Ukrainian.
In his February 28 Nightly News report titled “A rare look inside Crimea, the territory illegally annexed by Russia in 2014”, Simmons interviews several residents on the ground who assert that Ukraine has no chance of reclaiming the region of Crimea.
Each person interviewed expresses that they are Russian, and support the military led by Russian President Vladimir Putin in their defense. On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has insisted Crimea will be retaken — so long as the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance Organization (NATO) provide Ukraine with “more powerful weapons.”
“Crimea is our land, our territory,” he said in January. "Give us your weapons — we will return what is ours." And if Ukraine does try to take the peninsula back by force as its leaders have promised, many of the 2.4 million people living here will be caught in the middle.
Formerly controlled by the modern nation of Ukraine, Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014 in a move characterized by the coalition of Western Nations as an illegal annexation. A referendum was held March 17, 2014 in which an overwhelming majority of respondents voted to rejoin Russia, though the process and results remain contested by Ukraine and its Western allies.
Following the NBC News report, Simmons was added to the highly controversial website Myrotvorets, described by the Kyiv Post as maintaining a list of “enemies of Ukraine”. As the Post explains, “[t]he website is widely recognized as tied to the law enforcement or security agencies, although none have ever admitted a connection.”
As pointed out by Max Blumenthal, editor of The Gray Zone, inclusion on this list has previously been tied to the targeted killings of Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzina and politician Oleg Kalashnikov, among others.
Others dismiss the characterization of Myrotvorets as a “kill list” to be “disinformation,” such as this writeup from DisinfoWatch, a "leading Canadian foreign disinformation monitoring and debunking platform":
By identifying the Myrotvorets list as a “kill list”, Russian state media seeks to undermine the organization’s credibility in the Western world. This characterization is intended to shock and infuriate western human rights groups and governments, into falsely believing that the Ukrainian government is encouraging violence against listed individuals and groups. It is not.
Blumenthal inquired rhetorically on Twitter as to whether NBC News would highlight Simmons’ addition to the Myrotvorets website, or whether “press freedom” groups would denounce the action.
One woman in the NBC News feature offered some wisdom that I wish to emphasize: “We all pray to the same God. Why can’t we share bread?”
What Would Christine Anderson Do?
This was the question at the heart of a recent tour across Canada that led to a dramatic division among the nation’s Conservatives and their apolitical allies.
Context: Canada Experiments with Totalitarianism
Christine Anderson is a Member of European Parliament (MEP) from Germany, representing the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which translates to Alternative for Germany. She made international headlines back in March 2022 when she scolded Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to his face for his unprecedented human rights violations during the COVID-19 crisis and his invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to the Freedom Convoy 2022 protest in Ottawa.
Anderson was joined by several other MEPs who confronted Trudeau and refused to give him an audience during his visit.
This understandably resonated with many Canadians, myself included, who found themselves singled out and oppressed on the basis of a personal, private medical decision. Trudeau employed rhetoric historically associated with totalitarian regimes, describing thousands of protesters representing millions of Canadians as “a fringe minority” with “unacceptable views.”
While seeking re-election in late 2021, he accused those who decided against receiving a COVID-19 genetic vaccine of being racist, misogynistic, anti-science extremists, openly inquiring as to whether the rest of Canada should "tolerate" these people.
It is vital to consider how alarmingly overt our Prime Minister was in his attempts at “othering” — historically seen as a dangerous step in the process of dehumanizing citizens of a totalitarian state. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights offers the following:
The process of othering can be divided into two steps:
Categorizing a group of people according to perceived differences, such as ethnicity, skin colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Identifying that group as inferior and using an “us vs. them” mentality to alienate the group.
Othering involves zeroing in on a difference and using that difference to dismantle a sense of similarity or connectedness between people. Othering sets the stage for discrimination or persecution by reducing empathy and preventing genuine dialogue. Taken to an extreme, othering can result in one group of people denying that another group is even human.
Contemporary discussion is correctly centred around the Holocaust, during which people were systematically eliminated based on all of the above-described attributes: ethnicity, skin colour, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Unfortunately, there are many who are deeply disinterested in considering the possibility that what is observable today can be in any way compared to the years leading up to the Holocaust, angrily dismissing such comparisons as disrespectful and insensitive.
I lost one of my oldest friends, Nathalie, when I spoke out in the summer of 2021 against a policy announced by the National Football League which encouraged teams to have “unvaccinated” football players wear yellow wristbands for easy identification. To me, this was as clear a parallel as we could ever get, and served no scientific or medical purpose whatsoever — other than to enforce the “othering” of a group artificially manufactured based on whether or not they had accepted a specific pharmaceutical intervention. I have no idea how anybody could have ever defended this, or failed to speak out against it.
The very next month, The Toronto Star ran a cover story that openly called for "the wilfully unvaccinated" to be allowed to die without any empathy or care from the "vaccinated":
Yes, that really happened. These are just a couple of examples of what we’ve been dealing with in Canada. 2021 was a dark year.
It will take me a lifetime to process.
Christine Comes to Canada
I am personal friends with at least one of the organizers of the tour, who I will not name for the sake of their privacy. I’ve heard about the tour since its early planning stages, and was excited to possibly join at the Calgary stop (which didn’t wind up being in the cards.)
Friday Morning Crisis
On Friday morning last week, I got a call from my friend who told me there was a rapidly unfolding public relations incident arising from a picture taken at a dinner during one of Anderson’s tour stops.
The picture itself is completely innocuous, capturing a friendly gathering at a restaurant. In the picture are one or two people that may be familiar to long-time Rounding the Earth podcast listeners, but most notable is the trio of people surrounding Christine Anderson: Colin Carrie, Leslyn Lewis and Dean Allison, all Members of Parliament representing the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), self-described as “the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada,” published a message on Twitter expressing their deep "concern" that these MPs had met with Anderson, who they described as being "a member of the far-right German AFD Party known for Islamophobic and anti-immigrant views."
This was followed up by a number of scathing opinion pieces, doubling and tripling down on assertions that Anderson and her party evoked a form of modern Naziism. One of the first — if not the first — was the Toronto Sun, publishing a piece written by columnist Warren Kinsella with the headline “Conservative MPs wrong to meet with German extremist.”
Then, Pierre Poilievre, the recently-elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, issued his own statement condemning Anderson as being "vile" with "racist, hateful views."
Carrie, Allison and Lewis, coming under intense fire from both outside and inside their party, quickly released a statement claiming they were not aware of Anderson’s political views and had failed to conduct their usual due diligence in arranging a meeting with a foreign government representative.
At first, I was taken aback by this response. All three of these MPs have been champions of Canadians harmed by the federal government’s COVID-19 response, and have frequently gone out on a limb to ask hard questions others avoided confronting.
Colin Carrie, for example, brought to the House of Commons a question from constituents about the role of the World Economic Forum in Canadian politics following an unprecedented amount of scrutiny on the group, particularly Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s high-level position on the group’s Board of Trustees, and a resurfaced video of WEF founder Klaus Schwab boasting about having “penetrated the Cabinets” of Prime Minister Trudeau and other world leaders.
Leslyn Lewis ran against Pierre Poilievre for leadership of the CPC, using the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the highly-concerning "pandemic treaty" currently being finalized, which would offer the World Health Organization far-reaching powers to supersede national sovereignty anytime the agency felt it appropriate for "global health" purposes.
With the benefit of a week of thought and a couple of conversations with people directly involved in the affair, I now admit that I personally overreacted to the situation and didn’t help anybody resolve things. I believe these three MPs mishandled the situation - not by making the “mistake” of meeting Anderson for dinner, but by giving benefit of the doubt to the organizers of the dinner, resulting in them walking into a deeply inappropriate political situation for which they were not prepared. Combine that with their upsetting public statement and Poilievre’s tone deaf and hateful condemnation of Anderson and her allies, and you have an utter trainwreck for the Conservative Party of Canada.
Even worse than that, though, is the disaster this causes for those who strategically allied with Poilievre and the CPC out of a temporary alignment of interests — an alliance which seems utterly fruitless and unwelcome now.
What the Heck Happened?
In fact, this wasn’t my first thought, but it became hard to ignore once my friend name-dropped a specific person that has come up time and time again in their role as an alleged “chaos agent.” I have chosen not to name names, but I encourage everyone to peruse through Mathew Crawford’s Chaos Agents series of articles, as well as the Themis Report written by our friend Kristin Elizabeth.
How crazy is it that this one person keeps coming up in so many different large-scale events that wind up turning into chaos?
Let’s take a look at the players involved in this nonsense.
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
As mentioned above, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) was among the first to shine a spotlight on the meeting between Anderson and the three Conservative MPs, and to invoke racism and “anti-Islam” in framing who Anderson and her party are.
CIJA is a Zionist and Jewish lobbying organization operating as an agency of the Jewish Federations of Canada. It works “in support of activities to strengthen Jewish communities in Canada,” as well as “supporting charitable activities, in accord with its objects, in Israel and in Jewish communities overseas.”
It stands to reason that CIJA would be concerned if they legitimately believe Anderson and her party represent a version of Neo-Nazism, or anything that even begins to resemble it. Of course, this is made more complicated by the example of Vera Sharav, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, who delivered an address to attendees at at least one stop on Anderson’s tour calling on Canadians to remain vigilant about the familiar path towards totalitarianism.
Contrary to Judaism, which is jointly cultural and religious, Zionism is a nationalist political ideology devoted to the establishment and protection of the nation of Israel for ethnic Jewish people. It is vital to understand the difference between these two concepts, as they are absolutely not one and the same. As noted in a 2016 report by the BBC, conflating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is “wrong” and risks blurring the lines between hatred towards Jewish people and criticizing the actions of the Israeli state.
As a political lobby, CIJA is partnered with a number of other Canadian and international organizations aligned with their interests. This includes an initiative hosted by CIJA itself called the Canadian Coalition to Combat Online Hate, founded in the spring of 2020 with funding from none other than the Government of Canada.
CCTCOH’s website was developed in partnership with MediaSmarts and Project Someone. MediaSmarts describes itself as “Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy” and is funded by tech giants Bell, Google, Meta, Telus and TikTok. Project Someone is a program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Another of CIJA’s affiliates is the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), which specifically describes itself and its work with CIJA as being “in the political arena.”
CJPAC is funded by hugely influential corporations including the Postmedia Network — the parent company of the Toronto Sun, which had swiftly followed up on CIJA’s initial statement with a scalding opinion piece blasting the Conservative MPs for meeting with Anderson.
Other sponsors include the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Air Canada, TD Bank Group, Goodmans LLP, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), Meta, the National Bank of Canada, CIBC, POINT BioPharma, Citi Private Bank and Rogers.
Once again, this story has shown itself to be even more interesting than immediately meets the eye. With just a cursory look at the first group to instigate this political attack, we find ourselves with an advocacy campaign funded by the Government of Canada; the same government lambasted by Christine Anderson and under scrutiny from Colin Carrie, Dean Allison and Leslyn Lewis. One step deeper and we find that this same network also influences (or is influenced by) one of Canada’s largest media giants.
I have further questions about some of the people and groups that actually organized the tour, and led the Conservative MPs into this politically unwise situation. The investigation will continue on the Campfire Wiki, where I have documented the majority of relationships and funding discussed in today’s episode. Explore all of this and more at www.Campfire.wiki.
In the meantime, I ask you: what is the result of this mess? As Robert Barnes always says, qui bono? Who walked away from this in a better position than before? Well, some might point out that while this chaos was unfolding, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau successfully diverted attention away from the revelation that his re-election was helped in no small part by interference from the Chinese Communist Party.
Like I said, others will say that.
I’m far too polite.
Please note that Locals does not yet allow me to insert footnotes in the same way that Substack does. I have requested that this feature be added.
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