March 22, 2015

NOW PLAYING: A provocative new documentary debuts at The Rebel!

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

It's here! Tune in now to watch Olivier Ballou's new documentary, Flanagan -- and debate the film in our comments.

Flanagan -- a film by Olivier Ballou -- is about Dr. Tom Flanagan, the professor, pundit and political activist who one day stopped discussing controversies, and became the centre of one himself.

Whether you think Flanagan made an innocent slip of the tongue and was hung out to dry, or you think he is an appalling man who made his own mess and refuses to take responsibility for it, Ballou's treatment will interest you, and anyone curious about crisis communications.

In the weeks ahead, The Rebel will curate a collection of films with an independent streak. We know you'll want to come back for more.

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Join the conversation about Flanagan in the comments below!

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commented 2015-03-25 11:56:25 -0400
Great comments, Owen. The left are great at belittling others but incapable of having reasoned debates on any issue. That’s because they aren’t thinkers; they’re bullies who throw verbal stones in a pitiful attempt to deflect the many reasonable and logical challenges that come their way. They won’t show disdain for the Ontario government because they’re too stupid to separate the wheat from the chaff. This was about humiliating a revered Professor because of what he said about natives but he should have known better than to let them to set him up like that.
commented 2015-03-25 03:37:03 -0400
I can see the point that Flanagan was trying to make, although being set up at the time by a hostile assembly, that the law in his view needs to be more substantive and to the point. I think I know what he was getting at; however the left-slime got what they wanted, when the good doctor committed a Justin-foot-in-mouth. I wonder if the ‘boo-ers’ are still around nowadays with the current Ontario government, who give me the distinct impression of agreeing with, or operating along the lines of the famous misstatement? And I agree with another commenter that if a native was portrayed as the Ikea monkey…well…parody is good, isn’t it, until it isn’t appreciated by the left. But that’s the usual modus-operandi, ridicule and pull-down to save exerting any effort at a productive counter-point.
commented 2015-03-23 23:52:31 -0400
You really need to read the legislation to understand what Flanagan is taking issue with. The poorly written law makes the broadest swath across the landscape as can be imagined. If Juanita Craig, for example, sent an email to her mother telling her that she caught her 15 year old son having sex with his girl-friend, technically she and her mother would be in possession of “material depicting persons under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity” and both would be guilty under the criminal code. Who’s interest would sending Juanita and her mother to prison serve? Who would it serve to bankrupt them both if they chose to vigorously defend themselves?
commented 2015-03-23 23:36:00 -0400
Under Canadian law, if you have sexual thoughts about children you are not a criminal. If however, you draw a picture of someone having sex with a child you are now in possession of “written depictions of persons or characters (fictional or non-fictional) under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity” and are subject to imprisonment. This is doubtless, why Flanagan and any thinking, sentient human being should be worried about this law. It is perversely worded and has the potential to make criminals of people who have harmed no one.
commented 2015-03-23 23:15:55 -0400
I listened to this article. I am surprised that the professor doesn’t see that looking at and possessing pornographic pictures means you are contributing to the abuse of the children in those pictures. These pictures are not created in some vacuum. They involve real people who are being harmed. If you pay for and look at the material you are helping spread it and helping finance more of it. This material also poisons the minds of the people looking at it. In most stories where people are charged with sexual abuse against children you hear that they have been making use of pornography. The professor may be an interesting thinker, express himself well etc. etc . but he needs to rethink his position on this issue. He has not looked at the whole picture.
commented 2015-03-23 23:13:31 -0400
Judging by the comments of the ignorant masses, it is obvious that anyone who has viewed child pornography is a pedophile just as all of you who have watched ISIS beheadings are savage Muslim murderers. I recently watched Canadian Special Forces video on which I suppose makes me a sniper.
commented 2015-03-23 21:18:10 -0400
Laine Andrews … Your previous comment has been pushed to “page2” … If you go to bottom of this page you can choose page 2
commented 2015-03-23 18:12:00 -0400
What happened to my comment? It followed the rules and appeared when I first made it but is nowhere to be seen now. I observed that the Professor was set up by natives angry because his writings do not follow their narrative of being purely victims with no accountability for their ills and he fell into the trap, another ivory tower pontificator who obviously didn’t know much about the users of child pornography and should have said so. I also brought up the Ikea monkey reference BY the natives about Prof. Flanagan. If the professor had shown a picture of a native in furs and compared it to the Ikea monkey instead of a Native comparing him to the simian celebrity, would the excitable media have brought out their favorite “r word”? Why the double standard?
commented 2015-03-23 12:34:26 -0400
Donald did you really need to say all that ? I think you are saying that the viewer is as guilty as the producer.
commented 2015-03-23 10:44:38 -0400
I’m no marketing expert but it would seem to me that there is an inextricable link between the producers of child porn and its consumers. In most cases the producer and consumer share in the titilation and excitement , forming a symbiotic relationship. The link between the two being the repugnant product, which is invariably produced by some form of exploitation. The consumer of the product is usually far removed from the producer, and that gives the pedophile some form of exoneration in his mind. I call this the “speakeasy” defense. Roaring Twenties rich socialites guzzling down Al Capone’s whiskey and beer at Speakeasies , wilfuly blithe to their dollars going directly as payola for cops, judges and politicians as well as financing all manner of criminal enterprise. In law we have the concept of " constructive possession". I believe the same rationale should be used in cases of possession of child porn. “Constructive Participation and Constructive Presence” should be introduced as a legal concept . In other words , you remove the distance from the scene of the crimes of explotation and put the consumer, the end user legally and constructively present at the scene when the crime is committed-as if he himself is taking the video or photos. After all, the user is deriving the same abhorant pleasure from the acts as if he was physically present at the scene. Professor Flanagan has to understand that producing and consuming this “product” is a single uninterupted act , the user being just as culpable as the producer.
commented 2015-03-23 06:40:58 -0400
How can anyone say this guy is an intelligent man ? I suspect some schools still use otis tests to try and figure out some childs intelligence , but we have comments saying "I heard Tom speak once and could tell he was a very intelligent person " or words to that effect. Tom is just a stupid Tory who believes if he buys a Dodge car and you buy a Ford then there is something wrong with you.
commented 2015-03-23 03:57:08 -0400
Flanagan was ambushed at the lecture and he fell for the bait. They were out to get him, asking him questions that had nothing to do with the lecture he was putting on. All ready to tape anything negative and smear him to the left wing media. A slip of the tongue. Compare that to Trudeau’s continual foot in mouth saying much worse but it’s not showcased instead not mentioned or the media makes excuses for him and makes light of his constant gaffs. Does anybody think Flanagan is into child porn. I think not. This story isn’t about Flanagan it’s because he’s a conservative , he pays the price. Stockwell Day could have told him how that works. This story is to smear any conservative by the left wing media and if the left wing media can’t find any dirt they will make it up (eg. The Afgan soldier torchuring story) completely fabricated, but who hears about the retraction. This is a story about the left wing media. Drip, drip, drip. If there is enough negative stories constantly, voters with say enough, enough and vote the conservatives out. The game is attack every conservative and keep it going month after month, and pump up the Liberals no matter what the Liberals say or do. I can’t believe I never heard about the $16.00 Orange juice this month. Don’t remind them.
commented 2015-03-23 01:09:38 -0400
Well, so Flanagan doesn’t see anything wrong with child porn, it’s just pictures. Pictures of crime scenes of abuse of little children whose lives are ruined and he’s indifferent. To him it’s over the top to be revolted by real evidence of situations that create this. There is something abnormal for anyone to condone or enable this behavior unless you want a sick society of brutalized kids and warped adults.

It’s not personal liberty to mock activity damaging children. It’s appalling, insensitive, irresponsible and jaded. Why did he get on a man/boy mailing list for a couple years and why wasn’t he repulsed enough to stop it? The astounding part is he doesn’t acknowledge or can’t even understand there’s a problem in all of this.

So he now writes for liberal juggernaut the Globe and Mail and teaches at U of Calgary’s School of “Public Policy”. And, in Ontario, child porn producer and peddler Ben Levin is the proven sex program architect which is now unnecessarily confusing and disturbing kids in Grade 3 about their own identity. Neither of these scoundrels is fit to teach anyone. Is this a precursor to further creepiness from our educators?

With this low a caliber of politico in charge the culture slides further into the muck. Can red light districts for pedophiles be far behind? Mahatma Gandhi wisely said, “A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable.” Who will protect our most valuable asset, our kids, and what does this say about our society?
commented 2015-03-23 00:58:21 -0400
For someone as learned as Professor Flanagan to not equate or even see the possible equation of child rape PLUS the recording for sale of that child rape as an abhorrent criminal act is quite a strange thing in my perspective. I do understand that academics may perhaps have reality issues sometimes, but this surpasses even that reasoning in my opinion. Methinks he doth not protesteth enough. ALL of Canadian politics and society must set far tougher criminal punishments on the proponents of child rape and their sale and enjoyment of it.
commented 2015-03-23 00:21:48 -0400
It was an odd thing to say for someone so astute, for sure, HOWEVER, I take huge issue with the Left pouncing on him for it, since THEY SUPPORT PEDOPHILES!! The Left is smitten with Alfred Kinsey, the sickest gay pedophile to walk the earth, and they’ve been slowly steering society to the Kinsey lifestyle for decades. Our legal system has been hijacked by the Left – wonder why pedophiles get off easy?? I mean REAL pedophiles, not someone commenting on them? A judge in Australia – going through the same attack on values as we are – recently stated; Now that we’re a post-Christina society, incest is ok again!! Dr. Cantor from Lefty CAMH was in The Star and on The Agenda, pushing the next frontier – pedophiles! Stating that it’s not their fault, and starting the long trek to pedophile rights! It started with gays, then transgender, now gender fluidity. In truth, they don’t even care about ANY of these ppl, just like today’s feminists don’t care about women (why they don’t rail against the Niqab or female genital mutilation), as it’s really all about anti-Christian. Like rebellious teenagers, it’s anything against what they view as the Christian establishment. Why did you think the reverend at Dundas Square was charged and not the Muslims or others doing the same thing he was?? Why did you think the Human Rights Tribunal on the east coast refused to hear the case against the Christian girl kicked out of karate class at the request of the Muslim boy?? Why did you think they dropped the issue against specifying a tenant’s religion (after someone pointed out Muslims were getting away with it) ? The list is endless. This was simply an opportunity to pounce on a Conservative. Make sure Ezra, that you put forward the reaction of the Lefties when they start pushing harder for pedophile rights!!!
commented 2015-03-22 23:19:36 -0400
If this political operative truly thought that child pornography was truly an evil on humanity he would have immediately answered NO, NO, NO. Instead he made a very remarkable statement about the viewing of same vs the production of same…
Sorry, let him roast on his own chestnuts.
I have absolutely no pity for this man. Let him hunt fish for eternity.
commented 2015-03-22 23:19:07 -0400
I don’t know how anyone can’t see the connection with child pornography or at the least inappropriate pictures of children and child exploitation and feeding the child abuse around us. There has to be a child involved and they have no say in what is going on. The video is odd to me at best and for an intelligent man he sure didn’t seem to understand that what he was saying would make him a pariah at best. Seemed like a career suicide moment.

I can understand his personal liberty idea but really…there are limits and children are one of them.
commented 2015-03-22 23:09:03 -0400
I heard Tom Flanagan speak once at a luncheon and I was instantly impressed, almost smitten. I didn’t know of him until that time, and wanted to know more after that little luncheon with City of Calgary brass in attendance. When the scandal broke it was heartbreaking, and it still is watching this video. Like the character in the Green Mile, I just wish he could take it back. I would still take a class, or would be very interested in learning from Mr. Flannagan But he is forever tarnished for me. It’s sad, to have a fallen hero, but here you go.
commented 2015-03-22 22:11:42 -0400
Thanks for the first great documentary, Ezra! Not too long and informative, just like on SNN. Although I agree that political correctness took over here-especially when Flanagan mentioned he’s conservative-he still should not have mentioned anything that sounded “positive” about child pornography (b/c the mainstream left-wing media will spin it). And just looking at child pornography does not equal jail (found out from a defence lawyer), as sick as it is, but it still is a criminal offence.
commented 2015-03-22 21:24:04 -0400
This is a sob story and many of the viewers are going to leave with the opinion that there is nothing wrong with the viewing but only the making – you’re setting yourselves on to this slippery slope and with a few more sob stories like this you will be going downhill inevitably. Remember the first woman who had the illegal abortion and died ? Abortion is legal everywhere now and people now use abortion as a means of birth control. That slimy slippery slope. Then there’s the sob story about the child who needs pot to help with epilepsy, those people with chronic pain ? Well, yes there are a small minority of these people but the widespread outcome ? Legalized pot everywhere – safe injection sights – that darned slippery slope again.
commented 2015-03-22 21:08:15 -0400
Since he had the whole length of the documentary to explain his statement and expand on the circumstances where it could be acceptable, i.e. the victims of child abuse mentioned by Joan (below), but didn’t do so, it would seem that he does believe that looking at child pornography is acceptable in all cases. He’s had a lot of time to think about that statement and do some research on the subject. Obviously his views have not changed or he would have discussed them during the interview. Child porn is big business; the customers are the ones responsible for its growth. If a person can’t have sex without watching children being brutalized then they shouldn’t have sex. Get therapy! Destroying the lives of innocents will never make up for past abuse.
commented 2015-03-22 20:45:59 -0400
Interesting. My take? He was set up by Idle No More due to his writings and opinions on native issues. They found something controversial and then used it to try and take him down. Listen to the female activist in the beginning. This wasn’t about child pornography this was about his “racist” view points and statements. That being said, his viewpoints need to be a bit more clarified.
commented 2015-03-22 20:31:40 -0400
I’ve always been a supporter of Tom’s. He comes across as not believing he is strategic, or tactical, but deep down inside, he certainly knows that he is.

As with any University Professor who challenges his students to think, particularly to think outside the box, Tom certainly knows that there are boundaries that can’t really be crossed, especially in the political realm. A politician needs approximately 20,000 to vote for him/her in an election. But a Professor, even one who is as intelligent and as tactical as Tom Flanagan, knows he only needs to be able to publish the odd paper or book, and convince 60-70 students to agree to take his class. There is a definite difference of freedom that exists between those 2 occupations, without a doubt!
commented 2015-03-22 20:15:21 -0400
This was a demonstration of hubris. All professors know by now, or should know, that almost any remark on a delicate subject can have dire outcomes—recall the professor who used the word “niggardly.”
commented 2015-03-22 19:24:55 -0400
I’ve thought about this and had to come back and say that technically, he’s right. The people looking at child pornography didn’t make it and it would have been made whether they looked at it or not. Those caught making it should face life in prison. They’ve destroyed a life and can be likened to murderers in that sense.
commented 2015-03-22 19:24:01 -0400
good film. However why was an Indian “activist” in it? She would have nothing nice to say even if what he said was about something else and true. He never said that he was wrong or spoke without thinking. So maybe this is what he thinks. That is not a statement I would want to own. If I did speak without thinking as most people do from time to time I would say whoops! that’s not right. Tom Flanagan did not. Sometimes what you do not say is just as important as what you do say.
commented 2015-03-22 19:19:38 -0400
He is guilty of a severe lack of empathy and understanding of the victims of child pornography. Someone of his standing should have thought and known why child pornography is an evil thing, however his ignorance was exposed for all to see.
As is often the case with academic types who spend much of their life in books and study, they lose sight of the bigger picture and see things in very minute components, thus they are able to justify the most absurd things to themselves. i.e its just a picture on a video screen..why don’t I have the right to look at that if I so chose. etc so he completely lost sight of the fact defenceless children were hurt in the making of that photo.

I’m a little rattled by todays mob mentality, where the mob lynches their victim and uses the ugly event for their own political purposes. In my opinion this puts them in the same category as the person they have set their sights on. In fact they are worse because they have now doubled down on the original victim/s when they should have known better.
commented 2015-03-22 19:00:16 -0400
Professor Flanagan got a raw deal from the mob, as people often do; glad to hear he’s still writing, and teaching, and fighting.
commented 2015-03-22 18:46:24 -0400
Dr. Flanagan is an intelligent man so I don’t know how he got this so wrong. Viewing child pornography condones and encourages the making of it. Children were exploited and abused as the pictures were being taken and that fact cannot be separated from the viewing of those pictures.
commented 2015-03-22 18:44:42 -0400
I have witched the ‘debate’ from afar and have to opinion that people just like to tar and feather anyone with a controversial comment without looking into the character of the person. From my perspective I have respect for Tom and wish him success and continued participation in society.