Rachel Notley and the NDP government of Alberta have finally made their move against The Rebel. They are prosecuting us for what we have said about them.
They're using an enforcer, Melanie Malchuk, who used to work for the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the censors who prosecuted Ezra years ago for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. They have given her a special contract to lead the investigation against us.
Notley wants to shut down The Rebel before the 2019 election — she knows The Rebel has been their most effective critics, and the NDP will do anything to silence us.
Notley's pre-emptive legal attack on The Rebel.
On January 14, 2019, the Government of Alberta put The Rebel on trial — but they didn’t tell us. They convicted us in our absence. And even then, they still didn’t tell us, but this hired gun of theirs, Melanie Malchuk, started contacting our vendors, interfering in our contracts with those businesses, and threatening to come after those businesses if they didn’t comply.
We didn’t even learn about this from the government — we had to hear it from the Alberta businesses who were threatened. We still actually don’t know the details of any complaints against us. We weren’t there when we were convicted, we weren’t invited. It has all been done in secret. Just like the human rights commission attacks. Here’s some background.
The day after we were convicted we finally received an e-mail from the government of Alberta telling us we had been convicted in absentia of being a political campaign organization, not journalists. They proposed to fine us $5,500 (Click here to read the surprising letter telling us we were tried, convicted and fined $5,500.) because our criticisms of Rachel Notley are illegal, because they’re not journalistic views, they claim, but rather they are political campaign views and have to be treated as campaign spending.
We publish our journalism in every medium -- online, in video format, in radio ads, on lawn signs, on billboards, in best-selling books, and even in documentaries. Notley is saying that makes us a campaign organization, not journalists. We disagree, and we refuse to let her silence us.
The financial penalties they've convicted us for.
A $5,500 fine in itself won’t bankrupt us. But of course, we’re not going to stop our journalism. And the penalties for companies can be $100,000 a pop. $5,500 is just their first sucker-punch.
We can’t survive a $100,000 fine. And Notley could fine us every single month. We’d be out of business before the election. Which is exactly their goal.
In fact, they have extreme powers — they could actually get a court injunction to shut us down. For all we know, they’re taking that step already — and keeping it secret from us, again.
Our legal fight so far.
Back in 2017, The Rebel received a threat letter from Notley’s election boss, telling us we were an illegal campaign group. Our lawyer wrote back, explaining the law to Notley’s staff — pointing out that we were journalists and therefore exempt under the law. And we didn’t hear back from Notley again.
Until right before Christmas. When we received a letter from Notley’s new campaign enforcer, saying our criticism of Notley’s education minister, David Eggen, was illegal, because it was on a billboard, and that we had 14 days to reply. So they sent it to us right before Christmas and demanded a reply on New Year’s Eve bizarrely — as if any bureaucrats were working then.
We hired the most respected media lawyer in Alberta, Fred Kozak. He has represented everyone from the Globe and Mail to the Edmonton Journal to CTV and even the CBC. He wrote back to Notley’s staff asking if he could reply after Christmas, and Notley’s people were reasonable and agreed.
And then in the new year, Kozak politely asked for more information about the complaint against us — what exactly did they claim we were doing wrong? Notley’s people wrote back saying, no problem, they’d get back to us with that info on January 15th. Sounds reasonable. We didn’t make a fuss about any of this, because we knew we were legally fine.
But Notley’s staff lied — they never did get back to our lawyer on the 15th with any details. In fact, they convicted us and sentenced us on the 14th. We’re still waiting for details of the complaint. They went ahead with a secret trial without us.
Alberta Elections Commissioner
Notley recently set up a controversial new organization called the Election Commissioner — that’s different from Elections Alberta, which actually runs elections. This is a new position that she just invented. And she hand-picked an extremely partisan activist to be her Election Commissioner, Lorne Gibson.
Gibson hates conservatives, he actually sued the former conservative government for hundreds of thousands of dollars, he’s a kook, he was thrown out of court, but when Notley took power, she appointed this hater to this position, over the protests of every single conservative MLA, who voted against him because he was toxic. Normally neutral, non-partisan people are appointed to these sensitive positions. It’s like being a judge. But that’s not what Notley wanted — she wanted someone to take out her enemies.
Gibson has fined several conservative groups so far: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation; A Conservative group called, Alberta Can't Wait; And of course, the Pro-Life Alberta Political Association.
And now The Rebel. Do you see a pattern here? No left-wing groups. No environmental groups. No union groups. None of the NDP front groups, like Press Progress. Just grassroots conservatives.
Notley wants to kill The Rebel.
Rachel Notley is coming to kill The Rebel in the run-up to her reelection. But we're not going to pay the $5,500 fine. Because it was a kangaroo court, run by out-of-control partisans, who didn’t even follow their own law. They didn’t show us the complaint, they didn’t let us reply, and they’re illegally prosecuting journalism.
We’re not going to pay. But we’re going to pay a lot more to fight. No doubt that this battle will cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. And no doubt that Notley’s thugs will come after us with more and more fines — the next one will surely be tens of thousands of dollars. They could hit us with a $100,000 fine. Every month.
So either we live free, or we die. Either we win this fight, or we’re out of business. The Sun News Network was shut down right before the 2015 federal election — and silencing that voice helped give Justin Trudeau his majority.
They hate us so much because they can’t control us, so they want to shut us down.
How can you help?
If you stand with The Rebel, or even if you don’t much like The Rebel but are shocked by Notley’s misconduct, and the idea of a media company being shut down, now is the time to help us — because it’s life and death for us.
We will fight this all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. We will never give up our freedom of speech — and your right to hear the news you choose, not the news chosen by Notley or her ally Trudeau.
We will not pay this illegal fine. But we will pay a much higher price because of that — including to our top-notch lawyers.
If you care about the Rebel, if you ever want us to live to fight another day, this is the time my friends. Please help us with a donation for our legal defence fund — whether it’s $5 or $500 — now is the time to do it. Because now is the time that Rachel Notley and her human rights commission contract killers are coming for us.
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