Mar 23

Slacktivist “Victim” Alleges Toronto “Twitter Troll” May Have Sent Death Threat (Feat. Stephanie Guthrie)

Guthrie: "Mainly concerned that it might have been left by one Greg A Elliott"

Guthrie: “Mainly concerned that it might have been left by one Greg A Elliott” (Photo: National Post)

On November 22, 2012 Gregory Alan Elliott was released on bail after being charged with Criminal Harassment. One of his alleged three victims, Stephanie Guthrie, claimed that Elliott’s Twitter messages were “creepy” and that he made her feel unsafe. Elliott’s bail conditions banned him from using email or the internet- he’s now been offline for 849 days.

The trial began in January 2014 and has been slowly grinding through our high viscosity court system. As each trial day passes the case against Elliott is looking increasingly weak- charges alleged victim Paisley Rae were dropped while she was still making her testimony. Elliott’s lawyer is arguing that the charges were a setup- a conspiracy to shut-up Elliott’s loud opposition to their political views (Elliott describes himself non-partisan, but has pissed-off a lot of people).

One would think that a person in Guthrie’s situation would be sensible enough to avoid making public comments that could cause further instability to her case. But as Guthrie demonstrated through her testimony, she’s a strong believer in vigilante justice- going as far as to tell the court that she believed it was okay if a man got hurt as a result of his personal information being published online. And now it appears that she’s following the same pattern, making a public accusation against Elliott that he might be the person who sent her a death threat.

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Mar 21

“Terrorist”, “Riot Inciter” & Circle Of Jerks Blame Police Brutality On Capitalism (Feat. Davin Charney)

Maoists and Trotskyites Say "Capitalism is the cause of police brutality"

Maoists, Leninists & Trotskyites: “Capitalism is the root cause of police brutality!” (note the 1917 newsletter)

One of the first things I learned when I moved to Budapest was to beware of the police. The dreaded Rendőrség were as equally well known for their low IQ’s as they were for their unpredictability and occasional violence. The Communist government liked them this way; dumb enough to be controllable, yet scary enough to keep people in line.

I experienced the horrors of Soviet style policing first-hand in Moscow where I was robbed at gunpoint by a cop, forced to pay numerous “fines” to the traffic police, and had two colleagues (expatriate accountants) who were brutally beaten. The first thing I thought watching Quinton Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction in Moscow’s infamous Slavyanskaya Hotel was how similar his stories were to some of those I’ve heard from my Russian friends.

I’ve heard so many horror stories about Soviet era policing, there’s one thing I’m very certain about- the 1917 Russian revolution is in no way a good model for reducing police brutality (neither are the works of Chairman Mao). Of course, not having lived through decades of horrors, the speakers at Thursday’s police brutality protest think differently. As one so eloquently said, the only way to stop police violence is to smash the “racist, imperialist” capitalist system!”.

Adding further irony, the protest’s participants included a guy recently denied entry to the US on terrorist grounds, a man who was once accused of inciting a riot, and a stereotypically unpleasant lawyer who upset an indigenous woman with his politically incorrect language. A good time was had by (almost) all.

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Mar 18

Ontario School Boards Are Still Mishandling Autistic Children After Failed Legislation (Feat. OPSEU)

OPSEU 330 (ex)President Silvanna Petersen wearing riot gear...

OPSEU 330 (ex)President Silvanna Petersen wearing riot gear…

In the spring of 2012 I was contacted by the mother who had a chilling reminder of why it’s important to question the motives and sensibilities of our public service unions. She and her autistic son were going through hell at the hands of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). Local 330 president Silvanna Petersen was waging war a on autism at the Simcoe County School Board by demanding that educators have the right to use martial arts equipment to restrain uppity children:

“They’ll use them as a blocker to just block the aggressor. It is just to protect themselves for the moment until they defuse the situation.”

A couple months later the Simcoe County District School Board cowered to Petersen’s demands and voted 11-1 in favour. Things weren’t looking good for Simcoe County’s autistic kids until PC MPP Rod Jackson stepped-in with a solution- Bill 102, legislation banning the use of “blocker pads”. The bill received unanimous support when I attended the second reading in August 2012. Things were going great, then the legislature prorogued and the bill disappeared.

So, how are things going for Ontario’s autistic kids now? Well, the good news is that Silvanna Petersen has moved onto greener pastures (though it may be bad news for patients of Ontario nurses). Unfortunately, there are still stupid decisions being made, and kids are still paying the price.

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Mar 15

Toronto’s #BillC51 Protest: Where Low Information Protesters March Behind Hardcore Racists

The event was full of Communist (and Bolshevik!)

The event was full of Communist and Bolshevik! (and one guy behind the banner is the son of a rich banker)

Toronto’s protest industry has been rather slow the past few months. After Idle No More crumbled, and the reality was exposed how the grassroots movement was hijacked by people in the labour movement, fewer and fewer people came out to play. Embarrassed and discouraged by increasingly smaller crowds, the people of the labour movement needed a miracle- as Elizabeth May said today, who’d have thought that miracle would have come from the Harper Government!

The gift was, of course, Bill C-51; the source of endless amounts of angry rhetoric from the chattering classes suffering from Harper Derangement Syndrome. Personally, I’m unsure about the bill. After almost four years of research into activist militancy I can see a clear and present danger- but I’m not a lawyer, and there’s so much FUD being spread around it’s hard to know what the real risks are.

So, I made my way to yesterday’s Toronto Bill C-51 rally on a quest to find out what people’s objections are. From the moment I arrived it felt like a reunion, everywhere I looked I recognized people I know and have written about from Occupy, the Robocall rallies, Idle No More, and Toronto’s failed attempt to replicate the Quebec student strikes. Some were friendly, some hostile, and an associate of the head of the NDP’s Socialist Caucus threw a cup of coffee on me. Join me as I share my experience reporting on yet another AstroTurf protest safari!

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Mar 13

Why Would The RCMP Disturb SFU Professor Tim Takaro’s Lunch? (Feat. Burnaby Mountain)

SFU Professor Tim Takaro: Terrorist, or useful idiot?

SFU Professor Tim Takaro: Terrorist, or useful idiot?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from BC’s anti-pipeline protests on Burnaby Mountain it’s that Simon Fraser University has some seriously nutty professors. Nuttiest of all is English professor Stephen Collis, a man who writes poetry glorifying street violence like the Toronto G20. Then there was biology professor Lynne Quarmby (now a Green Party candidate) who claimed not to be a radical, while sharing the stage with the nuttiest of bedfellows.

Today we introduce another nutty SFU professor who has followed a long tradition of Burnaby Mountain protesters making lame and disrespectful attacks against the RCMP. Unfortunately, as entertainment value goes, Tim Takaro’s attack was horribly unoriginal- a carbon copy of Lesslie Askin’s September, 2014 incident, where the 71 year old woman was visited by the RCMP after being seen taking pictures of Burnaby Mountain’s oil storage tanks.

Like Askin, Takaro took his tale to the media after being contacted by the RCMP. Investigating Askin, there doesn’t appear to be any reason they’d worry about her. But what about Tim Takaro? Are there any red flags they should be concerned about?

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