News Media

Arresting Developments: The Persecution of David Menzies and the Fight for Media Freedom in Canada

Brock Eldon
July 8, 2024
The sight of a journalist getting roughed up and hustled off by police as he tries to ask a question of a public figure in a public place is one you might expect to witness in a banana republic or present-day Russia. But it has happened four times in Canada just this year to veteran journalist David Menzies of Rebel News. Menzies is an old-fashioned street journalist – right down to his trademark fedora – asking straight questions and digging for the truth no matter the consequences. In this instalment of C2C’s Courageous Canadians series, Associate Editor Brock Eldon sits down with Menzies to talk about his run-ins with the law, his determination to publish without fear or favour, and the state of Canadian journalism.
News Media

Arresting Developments: The Persecution of David Menzies and the Fight for Media Freedom in Canada

Brock Eldon
July 8, 2024
The sight of a journalist getting roughed up and hustled off by police as he tries to ask a question of a public figure in a public place is one you might expect to witness in a banana republic or present-day Russia. But it has happened four times in Canada just this year to veteran journalist David Menzies of Rebel News. Menzies is an old-fashioned street journalist – right down to his trademark fedora – asking straight questions and digging for the truth no matter the consequences. In this instalment of C2C’s Courageous Canadians series, Associate Editor Brock Eldon sits down with Menzies to talk about his run-ins with the law, his determination to publish without fear or favour, and the state of Canadian journalism.
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The ruthless treatment of David Menzies by local police and the RCMP has cast a shadow over the future of journalism in Canada. Street journalism – the gritty practice of a reporter walking around with a microphone or notepad relentlessly asking questions – has long been the rawest and least-filtered form of reporting, essential for the pursuit of the truth, whether that be the messy details of an ordinary traffic accident or the unfolding revelations of a major political scandal. Rebel News’ “Mission Specialist” David Menzies is one of the last Canadian practitioners of this indispensable craft. And just since January of this year, he has been arrested four times for his trouble.

Menzies doesn’t immediately come off as a crusader. At 62, the father of two sons and a proud, lifelong Torontonian, he began his career as a reporter nearly 40 years ago at the St. Paul Journal in the small town of the same name northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, before coming home to work at various trade magazines. He then worked as a freelance writer for the likes of Maclean’s magazine, the National Post and the Financial Post. But it was in his next gig, as a reporter and broadcaster for the Sun News Network, that he really hit his stride. In the most recent phase of his long career, Menzies joined the wildly controversial Rebel News shortly after it was launched by Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley in 2015.

In his 40 years as a reporter, David Menzies (shown at left in 2012) has written for multitudes of publications including the National Post, Maclean’s and the Sun newspaper chain; he joined Rebel News, founded by Brian Lilley (centre) and Ezra Levant (right), shortly after it launched in 2015.

Rebel News quickly became the Molotov cocktail of Canadian news organizations, unapologetically flinging itself upon the country’s comfortable and increasingly censorious media culture. Approaching every issue with a combination of bravado and subversion, and stoked by Levant’s joyfully shameless self-promotion, it has drawn both sharp criticism and fervent support. The Rebel is loathed throughout the left, by establishment institutions and by nearly all other media. Search engines and social media do their part to discredit it; until recently, Googling “Rebel News” yielded pages of results attacking the organization before its home page or any of its work even came up. Red Tories and old-school conservatives continue to sneer at it.

Yet there isn’t a hot topic the Rebel won’t grab – from confronting globalist billionaires at the World Economic Forum to revealing that incoming foreign farm workers weren’t being required to quarantine during the depths of Covid-19, at a time when Canadians were all-but forbidden from even getting on an airplane. And so it has accumulated nearly 1.7 million YouTube followers – and its home page now comes up first on a Google search. A recent study published by Blacklock’s Reporter placed it at number five in popularity among Canada’s online news sources. Not just among “alternative” media, mind you, among all news media including heavyweights like the CBC, Global News and print organizations like Post Media. So just who’s “mainstream” now, and who’s the backwater?

Menzies pursues his craft amid continuing condescension and hostility from the legacy media and politicians alike. Early this year he became a cause célèbre when he was arrested for trying to question Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland at a vigil in Richmond Hill, Ontario, marking the fourth anniversary of Iran’s downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 just outside Tehran. Menzies’ arrest, captured on Rebel News cameras, came across as a heavy-handed and menacing attempt to silence a critical voice. This time, even the likes of the CBC argued in his favour.

Rebel News isn’t yielding. Far from pulling Menzies off the street, the company is mounting a a “three-part legal plan to fight back”, according to its “Stand With David” fundraising webpage. “The police violated David’s freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of movement,” the page reads. “They obviously have been instructed to do so by their senior commanders. That’s illegal. They need to be rebuked by a judge and stopped from doing it ever again — to David, or to anyone else.”

Canadian media’s Molotov cocktail: Rebel News tackles every issue with bravado and subversion, often upsetting the increasingly censorious mainstream media – as well as politicians of all stripes.

The arrest in Richmond Hill became emblematic of the precarious condition of free speech in Canada. This has been noticed by journalists and commentators around the world. Incredibly, three more arrests of Menzies would follow – and the year is barely half-done. Menzies seems to have become a convenient target for the Prime Minister’s security detail, serving almost as their personal punching bag. This behaviour is not just an affront to him, but a chilling indictment of a government willing to silence dissent through tactics that come perilously close to force.

Seated across from Menzies in the Rebel News boardroom, one would never guess that the man carries so heavy a burden. He’s generous with his time with the young videographers and editors hanging around the studio. He laughs with his team. He seems a natural-born leader.

C2C talked to Menzies about the threats and challenges he has faced, his views on news media freedom and his uniquely unwavering commitment to his craft and calling, keeping journalism from the street alive in Canada. He stands as one of the last warrior-journalists in a lineage of those who battle every day to fight for the soul and survival of a democratic press.

Menzies is one of Canada’s last practitioners of an indispensable craft – street reporting. (Source of photo: Lincoln Jay)

C2C Journal: Okay, so that our readers have it straight, can you take us through a timeline of your arrests that happened while you were practising journalism in the field this year?

David Menzies: Sure. The first was on January 22nd with the RCMP and Ms. Freeland. Next, on March 15th in Toronto, I was arrested for allegedly obstructing police at a Justin Trudeau fundraiser while trying to interview anti-Israel protestors. Then on April 7th, during the six-month vigil at Nathan Phillips Square for the Israeli massacre, I was arrested for trespassing. I didn’t even have a chance to ask a question when lo and behold Toronto police come in and they frog-march me down the street. Now this is in a demonstration where people are openly calling for the genocide of the Jewish people. ‘From the river to the sea, Intifada, go back to Europe.’

This was ironic because, in 2020, a group called Afro-Indigenous Rising was occupying the same spot for three weeks without intervention, urinating and defecating in the streets and parks. Now that’s trespassing! What was I trying to do? And it was a violent arrest. Tight handcuffs, the cop threw my cellphone on the concrete, trying to break it. I mean it was preposterous, much like the March event: frog-marched into a paddy wagon, [then] kept for about five hours in a cell [at the police station] before I could get out.

The most recent was the arrest on May 27th in Fergus, Ontario, where I was warned by an OPP sergeant at a female rugby game that I’d be arrested if I said anything ‘rude’. That should give your readers an idea of the police scrutiny we’re under: we’re told to shut up before the game is even started, just because I’m there and might ask some ‘insensitive question’.

C2C: You are perhaps most publicly recognized for the arrest during your attempt to question Chrystia Freeland. What was your first question to Freeland, and what were your thoughts during the incident that followed?

DM: We went to the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre back in January. It was the fourth-anniversary vigil for the Ukrainian airliner shot out of the sky by the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps]. I just wanted to see if the Liberal MP for the riding of Richmond Hill, where that theatre is located, would dare to show his face. Because I was at the first vigil in 2020, and you had politicians of every level and every political stripe show up except [that MP,] Majid Jowhari. Why? Mr. Jowhari is a supporter of the Iranian regime. So that was my angle. And I should, by the way, point out that we were invited to the event. We have an email invitation inviting our organization, so we weren’t crashing anything.

As soon as we arrived, we saw the security, big black SUVs, and then went – oh, wait a minute! It looks like some heavy hitters are here! And I thought: Holy smokes! The PM himself must be coming too. That was a complete surprise. Eventually, Lincoln Jay, our cameraman, spotted Chrystia Freeland, and I went over to do the time-honoured thing in journalism: ‘scrum’.

C2C: For those unfamiliar with the term, can you define “scrum”?

DM: Sure. When I say scrum, I don’t mean the rugby scrum, where I’m physically tackling someone. It’s an interaction. It’s a ‘walk-and-talk’.

C2C: Right. What was your first question to Freeland? And what was going through your mind in the moments that followed?

DM: So, my first question was, ‘Why isn’t the IRGC denoted as a terrorist organization?’ It’s got Canadian blood on its hands, a lot of Canadian blood. And she wouldn’t say anything. You’re asking what I was thinking at the time. If you watch the video, I’m kind of doing this ‘crab walk’. In other words, my eyes are laser-focused on Freeland and I’m not looking at where I’m walking and I feel a bump, which later on I see is the RCMP officer. When I feel the bump, I think I’ve accidentally bumped into someone, and I think I said, ‘Sorry,’ or ‘Excuse me,’ or something to that effect. And the next thing I know this guy is saying, ‘You are under arrest.’ He’s plain-clothed. I’m asking for a name and badge number. He will not give either and then he gets very handsy and he slams me into a poster on the theatre. What the RCMP do, see, is get the York Regional Police Force to do their dirty work – i.e., handcuff me and throw me into the police cruiser. The most prominent thing I was thinking about was, How long am I going to be allowed to do this? [Editor’s Note: Referring to the fear he may be banished some day from journalism, as governments exercise more control.]

At the fourth-anniversary vigil for the Ukrainian airliner shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in January 2020, Menzies asked Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland why the IRGC had not been declared a terrorist group; moments later, after accidently bumping into a plainclothes RCMP officer, Menzies was manhandled, handcuffed, bundled into the back of a police car and later driven off behind a local school, where the cuffs came off and he was told to leave. (Source of screenshots: YouTube/Rebel News)

C2C: What happened afterwards? What didn’t viewers get to see?

DM: When they handcuffed me, I had to surrender my recording device, of course. They read my rights, and I was flabbergasted, thinking, Is this really happening? I was handcuffed in the back of the cruiser and couldn’t hear anything due to the plexiglass, I remember, then suddenly they said the officer dropped the charges. My theory – likely to come out in court – is that so many people were filming, including the theatre’s own surveillance, that the officer saw how brutal it looked and decided to drop the charges. Well, we weren’t going to let them off the hook that easy.

C2C: Did they take you to the police station? Were you fingerprinted? How were you let off? I’d be hysterical – what kind of state were you in?

DM: It’s funny in a way: Richmond Hill is where I live, so the theatre is within walking distance of my home. So once the charges were dropped, they put me in a cruiser and it made a U-turn, going the wrong way. Then the officers drove to a school, which was empty, out behind the dumpsters, and I thought, Is this the York regional version of the ‘Cherry Beach Express’? [Editor’s Note: The alleged practice by Toronto police in the 1970s and 80s of driving suspects to a deserted part of the waterfront to administer a beating.] They opened the door, uncuffed me, and said, ‘There you are, free to walk,’ and that was it.

Following his run-in with police in January, Menzies was arrested three more times by mid-2024, including in March, for allegedly obstructing police at a Justin Trudeau fundraiser (top), and in April, for “trespassing” at an anti-Israel protest occurring in a public place. (Sources of screenshots: (top) YouTube/Rebel News; (bottom) YouTube/Rebel News)

C2C: Left out by some dumpsters at the back of a school. What was that all about?

DM: Maybe they didn’t want to be seen bending the knee in front of that many people? There were hundreds and hundreds of people at the vigil. It was also out back at the school where they told me the charges were dropped, though I wasn’t allowed to return to the property. I don’t know why that stipulation was there. That vigil was open to the public, it was open to the media, we were invited there…but of course, I didn’t want to push it.

C2C: The Chrystia Freeland/RCMP arrest suggests you’re seen as a ‘threat’ or even a danger for asking ‘impolite questions’. How do you respond to this characterization?

DM: In a way I’m being a bit facetious, but why is the IRGC now recognized as a terrorist organization? It was unanimously voted on the month before last in the House of Commons. I think it was 327-0 that gave them that designation? Was it an ‘impolite question’ or was I simply six months ahead of the curve?

C2C: Which of the arrests was the most egregious, in your opinion?

DM: Wow. To be honest…Now, I realize this is going back a few years, but so long as we’re talking about targeting by the Trudeau administration, it’s a completely separate incident. Late 2021. The Prime Minister was essentially saying: Listen, don’t get together with friends and family for Christmas time. Covid is a big thing. We gotta isolate. Let’s not have the holiday turn into a disease vector. Then, two weeks before Christmas, he’s holding a fundraiser. A $1,700-a-plate fundraiser, and I’m telling you: the people were packed into this place like sardines.

Unlike the mainstream media, we weren’t allowed in and weren’t going to buy a $1,700 ticket to enrich Justin Trudeau, so we stood on the sidewalk. The Prime Minister’s motorcade arrived, mostly full-sized Chevy Suburbans and Lincolns, and I guessed which one he was in. Suddenly, plainclothes RCMP guys grabbed me, dragged me to a wooden fence, and bounced my head off it. I repeatedly asked if I was under arrest. Because until they say that, they can’t get handsy with you.

Menzies’ worst experience with police came while reporting on a Justin Trudeau fundraiser attended by hundreds of supporters in December 2021 – a time when Canadians were being told to stay home and isolate; plainclothes RCMP officers dragged him away and pushed him up against a wooden fence. (Source of screenshots: YouTube/Rebel News)

Much like in Richmond Hill in January, they know who I am. They know I’m from Rebel News and meant no harm. And listen, I’ll play devil’s advocate. These guys are in the protection business of Trudeau and cabinet ministers. If I were, say, a guy wearing full camo, a balaclava, I had some cylindrical object in my hand, I would fully expect such a person to be tackled. Obviously! Because it looks so dodgy and because that’s a real threat. But that wasn’t the case.

C2C: How have your employers responded? Have you taken any action to combat this treatment by the Prime Minister’s protection detail?

DM: We have served the RCMP, the government and the York Regional Police with a $1 million lawsuit. We have the Wayne Gretzky of lawyers – Lawrence Greenspon – assisted by Sarah Miller, both sharp as a tack. And basically the physical assault component is chump change, about $10,000. The lion’s share of the damages sought is about the government and its law enforcement agencies shutting down our practise of journalism on a systemic basis. This is not the first time and we feel that our Charter rights have been violated, and we’re going to send a message. It’s going to take years, and these lawyers don’t come cheap, but if any of your readers are so inclined, they can donate at StandWithDavid.com.

C2C: What do these incidents reveal about the state of the news media’s current relationship with government? Do we have a completely sycophantic, pliant press in Canada today? How do we get out?

DM: You know, maybe it will take regime change. When I attend rallies for [Conservative Party Leader Pierre] Poilievre or [People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime] Bernier, the loudest ovations come when they talk about defunding the CBC. It’s almost like the roof’s going to cave in. The issue, Brock, is that a journalist funded by the entity they cover creates an inherent conflict of interest.

What is profoundly different from even just a decade ago is that there is barely a media outlet in Canada that isn’t funded by the federal government. For instance, the CBC receives over a billion dollars, with this year’s funding at around $1.4 billion. Unlike before, private-sector media are now also on taxpayer welfare, receiving millions of dollars in funding. They need this money because subscriptions are down, readership is declining and advertisers are abandoning these platforms. The revenue from ads is only a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, making it a sunset industry. I say this without any glee, as I am originally a creature of the print media and still love to immerse myself in a great factual newspaper feature.

As to how we get out: if I were a beat journalist investigating a meat packer in an E. coli scandal, and the owner offered me a brand-new Honda Civic because they liked my work, my credibility would be shot if I accepted, no? Mainstream media is declining rapidly with layoffs everywhere. In this fractured industry that’s reliant on government funding, nothing’s worse than self-censorship – choosing not to pursue stories deemed too risky. If you’re not willing to challenge authority, you’re not a true journalist in my books.

“Nothing’s worse than self-censorship”: So many news outlets now rely on government funding that journalists may not feel free to challenge authority and write the truth about government, says Menzies.

C2C: You are someone – whatever else your detractors might say about you – who clearly works his butt off, someone who never seems to give up. Could you share some details about your childhood? What were some formative experiences during your youth?

DM: Well, first, I’ll say I was actually raised by my grandparents, not my parents, and they passed on. That is a fact of my childhood I should mention. To take you on a trip down memory lane though, I guess, I was a food delivery boy in the days before UberEats. One of the more memorable gigs was with Mickey’s Ribs. I was a driver. They had us wear tuxedos. Picture this: a high school teenager, me, in a tuxedo with tails, driving a ’74 Camaro around town delivering ribs. It was quite the sight, almost like a scene from a movie. Then there were the two years I spent at Ontario Place, landscaping and cutting grass. I met a lot of people. I learned about hard work. These jobs taught me the value of hard work, responsibility, and gave me some great stories to tell.

C2C: There is often criticism on social media about your ‘lack of qualifications’ to be considered a ‘real journalist.’ What education and experience do you actually have in journalism, and were there any major influences or heroes in your early career?

DM: Well, after graduating from Lawrence Park Collegiate here in Toronto, I went to what was then known as Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, studying journalism, and I graduated as part of the class of 1984. And I’ve been doing journalism from the sidewalk ever since.

Menzies studied journalism at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, but sees hard work and independent thinking as more important to the craft than credentials. (Source of photo: Lincoln Jay)

And for influences along the way, I remember growing up and starting to buy newspapers in high school. The Toronto Sun – whose slogan became ‘The little paper that grew’ – I was reading it a lot back then and they had so many great columnists. Peter Worthington stands out, for sure. They were just such rabble-rousers, going against the grain. Everyone gave that paper two weeks to survive, and it’s over 50 years old! I think maybe it appealed to the contrarian in me. It’s like when you’re told you’re not allowed to do something. You want to do what you’re told not to.

C2C: There is an ongoing debate about what qualifies someone to be a journalist. What are your thoughts on this matter?

DM: To be quite honest, you don’t have to do what I did and spend three years in journalism school. Anyone, especially with our current technology, can be a journalist. You have an iPhone and you care about the truth? Guess what? You’re a citizen journalist.

C2C: Do you think the shift towards alternative news media, especially among young people, represents a significant change in the news industry? Have you observed any changes in mainstream media due to the pressure from organizations like Rebel News?

Shameful episode: Journalists at the National Post signed a petition demanding the ouster of nationally famous commentator Rex Murphy after he wrote a column arguing Canada is not a systematically racist country; if that can happen to a towering talent like Murphy (who passed away on May 9), Menzies says, then no one is safe. (Source of photo: Eric.Parker, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

DM: Just recently we lost an amazing talent, Rex Murphy, who not too long ago published a column in the National Post about how Canada is not a systemically racist country. What did these young journalists do? They signed a petition to get Rex Murphy out of the newsroom, not to have him get published anymore. That such a thing, such an incident, could happen to a great talent like Rex Murphy, at what is ostensibly a right-of-centre-leaning newspaper, just shows how bad the indoctrination has become. If you’re trying to censor a colleague – and one of the most brilliant writers – then why are you writing for the National Post? Unlike, say, the medical profession, lawyers and dentistry, there’s no regulatory committee, although the Trudeau government is going down that route with the ‘qualified Canadian journalism organization’ designation. In short, I think the mainstream media in Canada has a long way to go to earn back the credibility it claims to have.

C2C: As a contributor to C2C Journal, I have covered issues including decolonization, the idea of so-called ethical tourism, and the rise of neo-Marxism on our university campuses. What issues do you care about most at the moment?

DM: Well, for 2024, as my boss Ezra Levant has said, this is the year of censorship. Bill C-11, Bill C-18, the proposed Bill C-63, which is – and I don’t think I’m exaggerating – the most censorious piece of legislation in the Western world. I suppose that is our biggest focus right now. Those bills. Think about it. They’re going to create new bureaucracies to allow people to go through decades of social media postings, and make a complaint, and if it’s successful – and by the way you don’t know the identity of your anonymous complainant, and if you find out who it is and you ‘out’ that person you’re going to get an additional fine – that person is entitled, due to hurt feelings, for an award of up to $20,000. And get this: the government has a service charge.

What’s going to stop activist lawyers from the day this becomes legislation, if it happens and if it survives a court challenge? It’s financial bankruptcy. Also, there’s a provision in this bill that if the government thinks you might say something they deem ‘hateful’, they can put you under house arrest for life. You know, we don’t even give first-degree murderers, mass murderers, serial killers imprisonment for life.

C2C: The language used by the Trudeau government in these bills includes words like ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’. What are your thoughts on this kind of terminology, particularly the label of ‘right-wing conspiracy theories’?

“Conspiracy theories” validated as fact: Menzies points out that governments increasingly consider anyone disagreeing with them to be a conspiracy theorist; opponents of social distancing were mocked and derided during Covid-19, for example, but Anthony Fauci is now admitting the “6-foot rule” was basically made up. (Sources of photos: (left) Danielle E Thomas, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0; (right) Adam Jones, Ph.D. – Global Photo Archive, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

DM: That’s the very slippery slope, Brock! So, first, you’re correct: anything Justin Trudeau disagrees with is a conspiracy theory. And that begs the question, what is a conspiracy theory now? Especially post-Covid and especially with all the details coming out, like Fauci just this month: ‘Oh, you know that six-feet social distancing policy? Oh yeah, well, we just made up that number.’ Or, ‘Um, you know the vaccine?’ – I believe the latest U.S. figure I saw is that 87 percent of Americans one way or the other got Covid – ‘Yes, so basically we went through trillions of dollars of economic damage, shut down the economy, and ruined people’s lives so that 13 percent of the population wouldn’t get this disease that most people recover from.’ This was the stuff of conspiracy theory accusations during the Covid years, and now it’s being proven true.

C2C: I saw your appearances with the Daily Wire and on the Megyn Kelly Show. I see the work you are doing as being aimed at protecting girls and women in sports. Do you have a favourite ‘transanity’ story you’ve done with Rebel News?

DM: There are two things. First, last year our most viral video was our coverage of the [“non-binary”] rugby player Ash Davis. He’s competing against females in female rugby. The season before he was on the men’s team, and performing quite well, as a matter of fact. So there are a couple of things wrong with this picture. First, except for equestrian sports and auto racing, the two sexes have always been divided for obvious reasons: biology. And by the way, you’ll remember during Covid all the ‘Covid Karens’ going ‘Follow the science, follow the science’? I guess it doesn’t count when it comes to biology, right?

Second, who cares what you and I think about having a man play rugby against females? World Rugby, to its credit, back in 2020, said, ‘Nope, this isn’t happening on our watch.’ That’s the international governing body. And yet, Rugby Canada and Rugby Ontario – who would not return my calls or emails – I guess they’ve become colonized by wokesters! And this is ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’! If you think that a man injuring females out on the pitch is ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’, you’re wrong. You know what it is? It’s misogyny.

C2C: What’s motivating these men? Why is their behaviour being tolerated, and even celebrated, in so many of the cases you cover?

“Transanity”: Rebel News’ most viral video concerned a biologically-male rugby player participating in women’s games and injuring opponents; Menzies was denounced for simply asking question about the issue. (Sources of photos: (top) YouTube/Rebel News; (bottom) Toronto Sun)

DM: I don’t know what the motivation of this man is. I don’t know if he’s [troubled]. I don’t know if this is someone gaming the system to be able to be in a position to grope other females, but I can tell you this: it’s a question I’ve asked on all the ‘transanity’ stories I’ve worked on. Why is it being tolerated? Here’s the thing. The sports authorities? The coaches? The leagues? They go’ ‘Well, you know, under Ontario human rights laws, we have to recognize the gender they identify with.’

C2C: And where are the parents in all this? Why the resounding silence?

DM: This is a result of cancel culture. Parents tell me off the record, ‘Dave, I’ve got a government job,’ ‘I’m a teacher,’ ‘I’ve got a business,’ and so on. The mob is a tiny minority, but they can get you fired or boycotted, leaving you destitute. It’s tyranny by the minority. When we first approached Ash Davis in Fergus, his female teammates were hysterical, screaming and crying over my questions. They’ve been so indoctrinated to believe that a trans woman is a real woman. Usually – I’m just noting it as a pattern – there is a woke parent and a silent father.

C2C: Are the coaches or the league contacting parents about handling media presence at these events?

DM: Oh, 100 percent. That was evident in the very next game we went to in Fergus last year. They were playing Waterloo, and instead of going into hysteria and screaming, we got the silent treatment – except for one player on the Fergus team. As she passed me by, I think she said, ‘You’re disgusting.’ So she’s still on the team, let the guys come and invade my sport. The other noticeable thing, Brock, and this was fascinating: they were playing the Waterloo team and a bunch of the females there were holding up their wrists and pointing to them. I couldn’t understand the significance until we saw the video on a monitor. They were wearing wristbands in the trans colors: baby blue, white, and pink. I met a parent of one of the Waterloo players in the parking lot off-camera, off the record, and she sent me the written evidence regarding what you are asking.

C2C: Do you think that the players felt compelled to wear these wristbands? Who’s giving orders?

DM: I mentioned the written evidence we have, so let me just continue from there. The president of the Waterloo Rugby Association – his name is Josh Windsor – he said two things. First, and I am paraphrasing here: ‘If I hear of anything hateful being said about the trans player, you’re off the team. Additionally, if I deem the rude comment to be a form of hate speech, I will call the Waterloo Regional Police.’ Can you imagine? Think about that. Here are young gals that just want to go out, and play rugby, and their president is threatening them with criminal arrest if they speak up for their sport.

Follow the science? World Rugby (top), the sport’s international governing body, does not allow transgender athletes to play women’s games and gives a clear explanation; the Waterloo County Rugby Club (bottom) considers any objection to be hate speech, and a matter to be referred to police.

C2C: What do you say to your critics who would have you labelled as ‘transphobic’?

DM: When you’re making others uncomfortable or causing injuries in sports due to the undeniable differences in muscle mass and cardio, that’s where the line is crossed. If you identify as transgender and just want to live quietly, go to the movies and take strolls in the park, that’s your prerogative. But when you start imposing your beliefs on others, demanding not just acceptance but applause, and displacing real women from their spots or scholarships in female sports, it becomes an issue. Those who don’t applaud this behavior are unfairly labelled as transphobes, bigots or haters. That’s where we are.

C2C: What are your hobbies? What’s on your bookshelf these days?

DM: I love to go on these epic bike rides. I used to commute from East York to downtown Toronto to work. I rode in traffic. No need for bike lanes, and seldom over the years did I ever get into any kind of accident. It’s the reason why I’m ‘fat’ as opposed to ‘circus fat’, okay? I know there’s these two solitudes, I say: that of the cyclist and that of the motorist. My solution to this, if we could ever do it, kind of like a Vulcan mind meld, get cyclists in behind the wheel and drivers on a bike and then there’d be an understanding.

“Epic bike rides:” Menzies is an avid cyclist who commuted on two wheels for years – and without the need for bike lanes, he points out.

And there’s a great book I’d recommend: Blue-Collar Cash: Love Your Work, Secure Your Future, and Find Happiness for Life, by Ken Rusk. It’s about a fellow who dropped out of university in the first half term, started his own landscaping company in Massachusetts, and quickly moved towards making $2 million a year, you know, cutting the grass of affluent suburban homes outside of Boston. I’ve always said there is no shame in honest work. I don’t care what you’re doing. I don’t care if you’re flipping burgers or cleaning toilets. There is absolutely zero shame. And I think going back to the wokism, it’s kind of sad that you’ll see that so much of it is about parents wanting their kids to have a university degree. What does a university degree in gender studies get you? What are you qualified for?

C2C: Any closing thoughts? Does a little part of you sometimes not wish you had stayed in with a mainstream publication? Wouldn’t life be more peaceful?

DM: I’m so fortunate to be with a company like Rebel News that, you know, we are muckrakers. We do not bend the knee. At Ryerson, one of my best professors said that the best editors are risk-takers, right? A risk taker is the precise opposite of a self-censor who’s saying, ‘Ooh, this is a little too third-rail.’ And I mean, you just have to look at the number of layoffs going on. As long as I’m still gainfully employed, making okay money, with a benefits package and food to put on the table, you think I’m ever giving up that eye of the tiger? No. So there you have it.

Brock Eldon lives in Hanoi, Vietnam with his wife and daughter. His debut nonfiction novella – Ground Zero in the Culture Warcan be found here.

Source of main image: Lincoln Jay.

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