The Responsibility for Refugees lies with all Canadians: A response to the Hon. Monte Solberg

Both the @TheRebelTV and @davidakin have reported this. Why is the mainstream media censoring itself?

  • Monte Solberg (@montesolberg) on Twitter, 5:46am, July 3, 2016


When I woke up this morning, I didn’t intend to reply to a Tweet. I didn’t even want to. But someone re-tweeted a tweet and it popped up on my phone. I was supposed to enjoy my coffee and enjoy some fresh BC air. However, the egregious nature of this tweet caused me to turn on my laptop.


If you read the tweet, there are two problems. Firstly, the Hon. Monte Solberg argues that the mainstream media isn’t talking about some of the negative after-effects of a few Syrian refugees. Yet in his very tweet, he embeds a URL address (better known as a web address for luddites like me) which passes someone along to an article published by the Calgary Sun. The article, in fact, talks about the very issue that Monte has.


However, one can see how silly his Tweet is due to the fact that the Calgary Sun is owned by Postmedia and Postmedia one of Canada’s largest media companies. Post Media owns most of Canada’s oldest and most respected newspapers including the National Post, The Province (Vancouver), the Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Regina Leader-Post (Regina), The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon), The Windsor Star, Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette. The Postmedia also recently purchased the Sun Media chain and as well. Consequently, it should not be surprising that PostMedia’s own website notes:


“Postmedia Network Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (TSX:PNC.A, PNC.B), is a Canadian newsmedia company representing more than 200 brands across multiple print, online, and mobile platforms. Award-winning journalists and innovative product development teams bring engaging content to millions of people every week whenever and wherever they want it. This exceptional content, reach and scope offers advertisers and marketers compelling solutions to effectively reach target audiences.”


Consequently, Hon. Monte Solberg can’t possibly be arguing that one of the largest Media Chains in the country is not the “mainstream media”. Postmedia is the definition of mainstream media. But the questionable nature of Mr. Solberg’s tweet doesn’t end there.


For the tweet by the Hon. Monte Solberg’s tweet has a second simple accusation: that many more media outlets should be reporting about the negative effects of allowing Syrian refugees into the country. I have every confidence that CBC, CTV, TVOntario and other Media sources likely will do so over time. Or put differently, the Hon. Monte Solberg forgets that the joy of having a free media is that they describe the things which they find to be important. VICE Media, for example, has brought light to issues of Global Terrorism and/or LGTBQ Issues. Whether it be CBC, CTV, Shaw, Rogers or TVOntario, Independent Media needs to look for interesting stories that compel conversations among their audience.


However, if other Canadian news sources don’t report on an event in a school in New Brunswick, let us also remember what the media has not reported about. As a friend and ally of the Jewish and Ismali Muslim Community, I know that the media hasn’t fully reported the massive increases of violence against them. As a husband and father of a sweet 5 year old daughter, I know that the “mainstream media” doesn’t talk enough about the real incidents of violence that women suffer inside and outside of work. I also know that the “mainstream media” has yet to provide a full accounting of the incidences of violence or mistreatment that our Canadian Teachers suffer when dealing with Canadian Students in Canadian Classrooms. Now, I know that the reason for this is simple: sensationalism.



It is sensational to talk about the sins of some Syrian refugees rather than to deal with serious issues like Immigration Reform. It is sensational and exciting to talk about the wrongs of people who are coming to Canada rather than to talk about the millions that have been cut out of resettlement budgets.


The Hon. Monte Solberg might have forgotten that various Canadian organizations including the Canadian Council of Churches, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Negro Citizenship Association, and the Canadian Congress of Labor worked very hard to convince the Hon. Ellen Fairclough & Rt. Hon. Diefenbaker to liberalize Canada’s immigration by removing race and country of origin from the system. Instead of giving into the sensationalism of the time, the Hon. Ellen Fairclough & Rt. Hon. Diefenbaker opened Canada up.


Today, Canadians forget that the Sensationalism and Xenophobia that wrapped post-War Canada. Italian-Canadians still have stories of their fathers or grandfathers who ran into trouble with a Canada that has long been forgotten: a Canada that discriminated against them because they had not acclimatized to our ways.


As it took time and effort to assist immigrants to acculturate in 1962, we will have to do the same today. That means that we will not only have to teach our new neighbours English and French; they will also have to learn our customs and values. This might be as simple as how to file one’s taxes with Revenue Canada or it might as difficult as how to navigate the various social and cultural rules we have in this multicultural place called Canada. It will mean learning our values around gender equality or the secular rule of law. It might mean teaching our new friends about driving rules in Canada.


The truth is that for anyone who has understood our own immigration patterns, Canada has had this same problem since 1962. As the son of immigrants, I have listened to many immigrant/new-comer stories. Italian men, for example, who immigrated to Canada used to be harassed by the Toronto Police Force because they hung out in the streets after dark in huddled groups talking and joking. For the mostly “English” Toronto Police Force, this was unsettling. For the Italian Men, it was equally unsettling to be broken up. Yet, both adjusted and now these are only memories. Maybe, the Hon. Monte Solberg didn’t appreciate this. However, this is a part of the process that we signed up for, when we ask people to join our Country, our land. A part of the responsibility of citizenship in Canada is helping those of us who are new to the pack, learn the rules of citizenship. Maybe this obvious truth is why other Media sources are not reporting such a truth – it is obvious to the rest of us.


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