Fake News … Canadian Style

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When the “fake news” producing Mainstream Press and Media in Canada want, really, to massage Canadian brains, they (often) choose, it seems, a U.S. person working in Canada – the one here at McGill University in Montreal.

The U.S. writer, David Shribman, [“JUST WATCH THEM”] is given a page of the Globe and Mail [June 20, 2020, p.03] to compare someone (I would say) he obviously knows very little about – Pierre Elliot Trudeau, with someone he might know a little about – U.S. president Donald Trump. He finds in Trudeau someone who acted against an “apprehended insurrection” showing elegance and proper behaviour … while president Trump, threatening to use the U.S Insurrection Act, reveals … the very opposite.

David Shribman apparently doesn’t know that during Trudeau’s time at Harvard University (1944-45), more than twenty years before he became Canada’s prime minister and invoked The War Measures Act, Pierre Trudeau wrote an essay in which he foreshadowed his later action. 

Indeed, Trudeau makes quite clear in his essay that a leader with power should not worry about legalities and should be willing to use the full extent of his power to gain his ends.[Read Max and Monique Nemni, Trudeau Transformed, The Shaping of a Statesman, 1944-1965, M&S, 2011]

The Nemnis point out that in his long and serious essay … sympathetic to political violence … Trudeau sets out (p.33) three criteria.  “The method shall be chosen that is best apportioned to the desired end.” Secondly, “The method shall be applied implacably”.  And thirdly: “That method shall be subject to perfect control.”  Trudeau writes: “the best trick of all is to succeed in licking the opponent at his own game: for cheating is not wicked when the game is to cheat.”  And (p. 34) “If an action has been singled out as the most appropriate one in the circumstances, it is sheer stupidity to begin belly-aching over its illegality.”

That proposition conveniently invalidates any obligation on the part of the State that might be imposed by adhering to The Rule of Law.[When a top RCMP officer in Quebec, John Starnes, insisted to a radio Canada journalist that all the illegal acts of the RCMP in the October Crisis were ordered “from very high up”… we may see his remark as historic, especially since the RCMP was taking the brunt of the censure for having frequently acted outside the law during the period.]

The Globe and Mail writer doesn’t mention that Trudeau was looking into The War Measures Act months before he employed it.  Strangely though, David Shribman reports John English – former Liberal MP … and pretty well recognized as a Liberal Scribe – as having written an “authoritative biography” … without mentioning the absolutely key work by Max and Monique Nemni … close friends of Trudeau, with complete access to his papers … and determined to tell the truth as nearly as they were able to do….

We might be quite certain that the ragtag members of the FLQ were not about to undertake an insurrection  … and so Trudeau told Irwin Cotler (ex-Liberal MP) that, in effect, one can apprehend an insurrection … though an insurrection is not likely. (Shribman, incidentally, only quotes Liberals for any serious comments on Trudeau’s activities.)  Of course, one can “apprehend” anything one wants … and Trudeau did (pressuring Quebec authorities to arrive at the same “apprehension”) … in order to make possible the use of a military and any other available hammer to flatten what was (at core) a legitimate push for Quebec independence.

The actions suggested in Trudeau’s 1944 Harvard essay were put into full play in the so-called October Crisis of 1970. David Shribman at McGill University quotes John English as saying Trudeau’s action “was an appropriate response in the period ….”  What else is a Liberal supposed to say … that Trudeau messed up completely and was faking a crisis he could then use illegitimate power to end?

David Shribman, I would say, serves the machinery of Fake News admirably … even attractively … almost as if he knows what he is writing about.

But the matter goes very, very much deeper than David Shribman has the ghost of an idea of perceiving. Madam Laporte attributed her husband’s murder to the Canadian State … not to unidentified members of the FLQ. One of the doctors assigned to Laporte’s autopsy refused to sign the Report submitted. And James Cross, British Trade Commissioner (not as Shribman reports “a British diplomat”),may have been kidnapped by the Canadian State.  If he was not, the RCMP very quickly removed the occupants of the apartment adjoining the one in which Cross was held, (did not release him) and watched and “bugged”all the activities connected to that address for the whole term of the long so-called kidnap of Cross … during which time, of course, the police forces of Canada (Canadians were told) were vainly searching for Cross and his kidnappers…!

But facts don’t matter a lot in the Shribman article, I would suggest. The article “JUST WATCH THEM” isn’t (apparently) about fact or history. It is, in my opinion, a fake news “essay” in which a fake reading of Canadian History is used by a U.S. writer in Canada to write about unappealing contemporary events in the USA (making P.E. Trudeau look good so that Donald Trump can be made to look bad.) AND, in the process, the writer [remember this, in my judgement, is fake news] idealizes a person and his actions which honest assessment would probably find underhanded, divisive, evily manipulative,  dishonest  … and even murderous … to such an extent that Donald Trump’s actions in comparison might look … say … like exercises in boyish vanity.

Maybe assessing and assessment is what Fake News is all about.  Fake news is … in its way … a kind of political violence … and as Pierre Trudeau wrote “the method shall be chosen that is best apportioned to the desired end….”

*(Top image: David Shribman. Credit: PittsburghFoundation/ YouTube)

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