AWAKENING NEWS STAFF EDITORIAL / ANALYSIS
“The law, enforced selectively, is no law at all.” — Awakening Chief Editor M. Samuel Anderson
“No one is above the law, and no one is beneath its protection.” – Darrell Castle, 2016 U.S. Constitution Party presidential candidate
QUEENS PARK—Progressive Conservative Doug Ford had just won Ontario’s premiership, ending 15 years of Liberal Party rule, when Canadians heard that a leading liberal—even more prominent than ousted Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne—is not immune to allegations of sexual “hanky-panky.”
We’re talking, of course, about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He isn’t necessarily guilty of “groping” a young lady who happened to be a reporter—a thorny detail supposedly unknown by Trudeau at the time of the alleged incident, 18 years ago. (The allegations first appeared in a community paper called the Creston Valley Advance in 2000. An unsigned editorial suggests that Trudeau, then a 28-year-old teacher, groped a young, female Advance reporter covering the Kokanee Summit Festival in Creston, British Columbia—Chicago Tribune)
But far beyond the Trudeau scandal, is society “guilty” of allowing widespread damage to the democratic process, chiefly brought about by the uneven application of the law?
It appears so, and it has festered for decades—like water slowly filling the hull of the Canadian “ship of state,” risking its submersion into the frigid waters of public ignorance and indifference, ever downward to national oblivion.
And that ignorance is largely fostered by Canada’s top media entities, some of which receive massive subsidies from the taxpayer but still manage to widen that breach of the democratic process and undercut the real “rule of law” in so doing.
To get a handle on this, notice that what qualifies for political scandal in the eyes of the mainstream media is the social status of either the victims or perpetrators of alleged sexual misconduct.
No one is supposed to be beneath the law’s protection, yet the alleged perpetrator, the victim, or both, must be famous or at least noteworthy to make headlines.
Consequently, people like former PC Leader Patrick Brown, Justin Trudeau and several others in the political class have been deemed “guilty until proven innocent” in the “courtroom” of the media (which sets up viewers and readers as a makeshift “jury”).
Just by itself, this process causes grave injury to key legal protections afforded to anyone accused of a crime.
However, as other articles on this website illustrate, the Awakening News has long wondered why the dire experiences of many thousands of workers in Canada’s casinos who are subjected on an almost daily basis to physical (including sexual) assaults by unruly customers (and sometimes co-workers) do not make similar headlines—in a nation that has, at bare minimum, 300,000 hard-core gambling addicts, according to the CBC’s “Fifth Estate” news show.
Oops, we almost forgot. These workers are not “famous.” It’s just not “sexy” enough to report physical and sexual assaults, as well as frequent workplace-safety hazards in casinos that violate labor laws, if the perpetrators and/or victims lack fame and fortune. Even that beer-can thrower arrested in 2016 for lobbing a can of “suds” onto the Blue Jays’ field, trivial though this event may sound now, had as his “target” a professional ball player.
Yet, the media—concerned enough about the ballplayer, as a member of the gaming-entertainment industry, to report on the beer-can caper—somehow cannot find the ink or airtime to dig deeper into the world of physical-sexual assault and afford the “little people” some sense of balance and justice, particularly in casinos, which are another wing of the entertainment-gaming industry.
Thus, the media, either out of willful neglect, passive ignorance, or a bit of both, has deemed that a large cross section of the workforce is beneath the protection of the law.
ENTER DOUG FORD
Given this state of affairs, Awakening News Associate Editor John Devine, in the weeks leading up to the election on the 7th of June, wrote letters to PC Leader Doug Ford, and to key members of the NDP, Liberal and Green parties to share with them the fact that, back in February of 2015, Devine sent an extensive packet detailing these casino-workplace abuses and hazards to MPP Jim Wilson.
But no one, including Ford, replied to Devine’s correspondence. That’s rather odd, because if politicians already accused of sexual scandals, or fearful that such accusations might someday surface, wanted to divert attention away from themselves, then surely they would want to explore sexual and other abuses on a broader scale—if for no other reason than to water down any damage that might come their way.
Instead, due to the politicians’ inertia and inaction, the media effectively has a “gun” to their heads while sending the message, in effect: “Besides a little tinkering with tax codes and regulations, preserve the status quo. And be quiet about the gambling industry that’s growing by leaps and bounds, provides some jobs, and is a goose that lays countless golden eggs, even though it fosters bankruptcy, alcoholism, child neglect, family breakup etc.”
Notice that those are problems that most self-professed conservatives, and those from most other parties, would agree are serious. But gaining some unity to solve such matters might dislodge the sacred status quo—and we can’t have that.
However, to his credit MPP Wilson, having received Devine’s packet, sent a letter to then-Premier Wynne, to inform her that Devine had assembled information that would need to be reviewed with possible enforcement measures to follow. For the record, the Awakening News, as shown in past articles, refers to that letter to Wynne simply as “the Wilson letter.”
The Wilson letter represents a potential time bomb that, if ever “detonated,” could vastly widen public concern over various physical abuses under the rooves of casinos, including Casino Rama. The letter, as far as we know, is still in the files of the premier’s office—where Ford is being seated to re-install and extend the “conservative” rule that has governed Ontario most of the time since the early 1920s.
So, with the Green Party having won a single parliament seat (in the Guelph area), and liberal influence having been reduced to less than 10 seats in Ontario’s parliament, among other tectonic shifts, Ford is looking at a lengthy career as premier according to pundits who say that his “populist” stances in favor of tax reduction, cheaper electricity and rolling back regulations will give him political longevity.
Fair enough, but populism also should mean equal application of the law for all.
THE PHILLIPS FACTOR
On a final note, Ford’s cabinet reportedly will include newcomers like former Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) President and CEO Rod Phillips, who was elected as conservative MPP for Ajax, as well as Caroline Mulroney, now MPP for York-Simcoe—neither of whom could be tagged as “radical right” by Ford’s critics.
However, Phillips, who’s slated to become the environmental minister, could prove problematic not only because he lacks an environmental background, but also because the OLG is the agency that dishes out billions in revenue to the government and advertising dollars to the media. Call it hush money, since big bucks buy lots of silence. This may explain why casino-based abuses like those outlined in this article are treated as non-existent.
And now someone fresh out of the OLG is in Ford’s cabinet (recall that Paul Godfrey, a former Toronto Sun owner and current Postmedia CEO, chaired the OLG from 2009 to 2013). While this clearly shows that media moguls and aspiring politicians both have passed through the OLG’s top posts, it doesn’t make Phillips an OLG “mole” in Ford’s administration to keep the powerful gambling industry’s fragile reputation intact and its abuses hidden.
But it does bear watching, since internal conflicts of interest, that the people may never hear about, may arise. And considering that Phillips formerly chaired, from 2014-2017, the very same Postmedia outlet that Godfrey still chairs, it looks more and more like the media doesn’t just control the national narrative, but also is funneling its people directly through the conduit of political power, however gradual the process may be.
SIDEBAR: FACT SHEET (Sources: Wikipedia and various news accounts)
- Douglas Robert Ford (born November 20, 1964) is a Canadian businessman and politician who is the 26th and current Premier of Ontario since June 29, 2018 following the 2018 Ontario general election and Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario since March 10, 2018. Ford was Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North from 2010 to 2014 at the same time that his brother, Rob Ford, was Mayor of Toronto. Their father, Doug Ford Sr., co-founded Deco Labels and Tags, a printing business operating in Canada and the United States, and was a Member of Provincial Parliament from 1995 to 1999. The business is now owned by Doug Jr. and his brother, Randy. Ford ran for the 2014 Toronto mayoral election, where he placed second behind John Tory. In March 2018, Ford won the Ontario PC leadership race and was named as the party’s candidate in Etobicoke North. He led the PC Party to a majority government in the general election held on June 7, 2018. Ford was appointed as the 26th Premier of Ontario by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell on June 29, 2018
- Rod Phillips (born March 2, 1965) is the former chair of Postmedia (2014–2017) and former president and CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (2011–2014) as well as the former chair of CivicAction (2014-2017). He has also been president of personnel services company Shepell-fgi (2002-2010). He is the candidate of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in Ajax in the 2018 provincial election and is considered a star candidate. From 1997 to 2000, Phillips was chief of staff for the then-Mayor of Toronto, Mel Lastman. He later acted as director of the leader’s tour for Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader John Tory during the 2007 provincial election Following the resignation of Patrick Brown as party leader on January 25, 2018, Phillips was touted as a possible successor as PC Party of Ontario leader. However, Phillips chose not to run for leader and instead endorsed Caroline Mulroney in the PC leadership election.
- Paul Victor Godfrey, (born 1939) is a businessman and former Canadian politician. During his career, Godfrey was a North York alderman, Chairman of Metro Toronto, President of the Toronto Sun and head of the Toronto Blue Jays. He was instrumental in bringing the Toronto Blue Jays to Toronto and has campaigned to bring the National Football League to Toronto. He is currently President and CEO of Postmedia Network. Godfrey was chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation from 2009 until he was fired on May 16, 2013 by Premier Kathleen Wynne. During the PC Party of Ontario’s 2015 leadership race, Godfrey endorsed Barrie MP Patrick Brown for leader.
ONTARIO LOTTERY & GAMING (OLG) FACTS:
|Headquarters||Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto, Ontario|
|Key people||Philip Olsson – Chair of the Board of Directors|
|Products||Lotteries, Casinos, Slots, Bingo|
|Revenue||$6.7 billion CAD (2012)|
|Owner||Government of Ontario|
|Number of employees||17,850 (2012)|