It was, as Rebel News commander Ezra Levant tells it, “going to be (his) big new year’s announcement to our viewers” — namely, the purchase of an office building in Calgary, “not just for us at Rebel News, but for all conservatives sick of being deplatformed and cancelled,” and where “we certainly wouldn’t be asking people nosy questions about their private medical status in order to work there or visit.”
Instead, he found himself wrapping up 2021 by launching yet another crowdfunding campaign after being “turned down for a mortgage” by the Royal Bank of Canada — not for financial reasons, but because “Rebel News has the wrong opinions,” he contends.
“The Royal Bank’s Calgary branch went through our mortgage application with a fine-tooth comb,” he noted.
“We showed them everything: our Rebel News financial statements, going back years,” his “personal finances, because I agreed to personally guarantee the mortgage,” as well as “all the details about the office building.”
The Calgary bank officials “were so impressed, that they hopped on a Zoom call with me, and even joked that our application was so strong, they wanted to give Rebel News mortgages for two buildings, not just one, (and) wanted to offer us a huge line of credit, too,” he recalls.
“But even though our application was strong — we’re debt-free, thanks to our viewers — the Calgary banker said the head office in Toronto wanted to review it for politics. And because of our ‘strong opinions’ about (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau, the Royal Bank decided to block us.”
It is, he says, “an absolute scandal: The Royal Bank has a blacklist of Canadians it considers political enemies,” and both he and Rebel News are “on that list,” which is why he’s hoping to “use this setback to actually buy the building ourselves, without Trudeau’s bank involved” — and that, of course, is where the Rebel audience comes in.
“Many hands make light work,” he points out.
“Let’s crowdfund it — a permanent home for Rebel News and for other conservative groups. An uncancellable venue for events, and a home for conservative and freedom-oriented media, think tanks, and activists alike. Brick by brick, we’ll buy this place. And instead of owing money to the bank, we’ll own it outright. And if we do, we can make it available to whomever we choose — not to whomever Trudeau or his bankers choose. Instead of having a liability, let’s have an asset, and use it to build our movement.”
To sweeten the deal, they’re offering “incentives for different amounts of gifts,” according to the pitch.
“If you can help us with a $250 donation, we’ll have a brick with your name and a short message from you on it, so we’ll see that every day as we pass by. If you donate $1,000, we’ll give you a brick, plus engrave your name on a brass plaque that we will hang on our boardroom wall. If you can afford to chip in $5,000, we’ll put your name on a cornerstone of our office and add you to the brass plaque, too.” And “if you are in a position to donate $50,000, we will officially name a key room in the office after you — like the boardroom, or the YouTube studio, or the podcasting studio.”
According to the sidebar tally, as of Thursday morning, the fundraising drive had reached 63 per cent of its goal of 1,000 donations, although no dollar amounts are provided.
Still, with news of the rejection making its way around the American right-of-centre media circuit — including a segment on Fox News — it’s hard to imagine they won’t hit their target, although it’s still not clear just how much money they’ll need to take possession of their putative new digs.
For his part, the indefatigable Levant also found time to sit down for an “in-depth interview” with the Rebel’s “newsmaker of the year,” Pastor Artur Pawlowski, whose “rise to prominence as an opponent of Alberta, and all of Canada’s, fanatical COVID restrictions” has made him “one of the leading faces against COVID tyranny.”
Indeed, just one day after the video went up, Pawlowski found himself under arrest once again, courtesy of the Calgary police, “apparently for violation of the Soviet-style probation restrictions levied against him for daring to open his church and feed the homeless throughout COVID-19,” according to the initial dispatch from Rebel correspondent Adam Soos.
In fact, Soos notes, he’d actually interviewed Pawlowski earlier that same day.
“Right before their arrest, a peaceful vigil — some might call a protest — was held outside the home of the minister of health. Pastor Artur and his brother Dawid were both there — not trespassing, not harassing,” he reports.
“After the vigil was over, the Pawlowskis were hauled away ‘Gestapo style,’ as Art calls it, forced to spend the night in custody.”
The following day, Soos talked to Pawlowski’s son, Nathaniel, to get the “full story” behind the “shocking New Year’s Day arrest,” which he followed up with an “exclusive” post-arrest interview with the Pawlowski brothers after their release from jail, and, later that same week, filed vio with a “legal update” from Artur’s lawyer, Sarah Miller.deo
Meanwhile, fellow Alberta Rebel Sheila Gunn Reid shares a “good-news story” from the Fight The Fines project: A Manitoba couple who’d broken COVID rules in the course of travelling to Mexico for drug treatment were fined more than $10,000, but the project managed to get the fines “tossed out of court.”
She also describes a request for proposal posted by CBC News for a “long-term medical PPE (personal protective equipment) contract … of an unknown cost” that would require the successful bidder to “provide a constant supply of PPE, and ensure an effective and prompt delivery system to all of its 57 locations across Canada and ad hoc international deliveries for special events.” ReadMore…