Media Subsidies To Counter Online “Misinformation”, Groups Led By Political Operatives

In July 2019, the Federal Government announced it would be funding many initiatives to counter “online disinformation”. This is 6 months PRIOR to the alleged pandemic that took place. Again, this was set up IN ADVANCE of 2020. And it’s strange just how many of the leaders of these groups have political connections.

1. The Media Is Not Loyal To The Public

Truth is essential in society, but the situation in Canada is worse than people imagine. MSM in Canada (and elsewhere), has been largely obedient to the official stories since they are subsidized to do so, though they deny it. Post Media controls most outlets in Canada, and many “independents” have ties to Koch/Atlas. Real investigative journalism is needed, and some pointers are provided.

2. Important Links

Press Release: Gov’t Funds “Online Disinformation” Initiatives In 2019
https://archive.is/cVTQ0
Groups Receiving Tax Dollars In “Disinfo” Initiatives
https://archive.is/VS3Fm
Emergency Funds Available $500M (CV Funds)
https://archive.is/F9P5F
Canada’s International Engagement Strategy
https://archive.is/zR6yp
Public Policy Forum (Democracy)
https://archive.is/lQw4j
Peter Donolo’s LinkedIn Profile
https://archive.is/DXsbT
Kathleen Monk’s LinkedIn Profile
Robert Asselin’s LinkedIn Page
Elizabeth Dubois’ LinkedIn Page
Rachel Curran’s LinkedIn Page
Francis LeBlanc’s LinkedIn Page
Megan Beretta’s LinkedIn Page
Amy Giroux’s LinkedIn Page
Terrence Clifford’s LinkedIn Page
News Media Canada Governance

3. Anti-Disinfo Just Another Gov’t Program

News release
GATINEAU, July 2, 2019
.
A strong democracy relies on Canadians having access to diverse and reliable sources of news and information so that they can form opinions, hold governments and individuals to account, and participate in public conversations.

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions, today announced several citizen-focused activities that will build citizens’ critical thinking and preparedness against online disinformation, and other online harms. She made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. This announcement is part of the Government of Canada’s plan to safeguard our democratic processes from threats of interference as we approach the 2019 General Election.

On January 30, Minister Gould announced funding of $7 million for citizen-focused activities under Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Initiative to support eligible organizations using four existing programs: the Canada History Fund, Youth Take Charge, Exchanges Canada and the Canada Periodical Fund. The Initiative promotes civic, news and digital media literacy through third-party educational activities and programming to help citizens become resilient against online harms.

Strengthening Canadians’ resilience to online disinformation
.
Canadian Heritage will also invest $19.4 million over four years in a new Digital Citizen Research Program to help Canadians understand online disinformation and its impact on Canadian society, and to build the evidence base that will be used to identify possible actions and future policy-making in this space. This investment will also enable Canada to take part in international multi-stakeholder engagement aimed at building consensus and developing guiding principles on diversity of content online to strengthen citizen resilience to online disinformation.

Officially, this program against “disinformation” was set in place with the 2019 election in mind. However, that seems strange, given the election itself was just 4 months away.

That said, the timing lines up pretty well if, let’s say, a pandemic were to break out, and Canadians started questioning how real it was.

It’s worth pointing out that this is by no means the first act of financial support the Government (or, really, taxpayers), had shelled out for.

4. Groups That Are Receiving The Money

GROUP YEAR AMOUNT
Agence Science-Presse 2019-2020 $129,345
Apathy is Boring 2018-2019 $100,000
Apathy is Boring 2019-2020 $340,000
Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada 2019-2020 $460,000
Canadian News Media Association 2019-2020 $484,300
CIVIX 2018-2019 $275,000
CIVIX 2019-2020 $400,000
Encounters with Canada 2018-2019 $100,000
Quebec Professional Journalists 2019-2020 $202,570
Global Vision 2019-2020 $260,000
Historica Canada 2019-2020 $250,000
Institute for Canadian Citizenship 2019-2020 $250,000
Journalists for Human Rights 2019-2020 $250,691
Magazines Canada 2019-2020 $63,000
McGill University 2019-2020 $1,196,205
MediaSmarts 2019-2020 $650,000
New Canadian Media 2019-2020 $66,517
Ryerson University 2019-2020 $290,250
Samara Centre for Democracy 2019-2020 $59,200
Sask Weekly Newspapers Ass’n 2019-2020 $70,055
Simon Fraser University 2019-2020 $175,000
Vubble Inc. Unboxed project 2019-2020 $299,000

So, who’s actually getting the money. Here are some of the groups listed by the Canadian Government, whose goals are to counter online “disinformation”.

In later sections, let’s take a look at who is actually running some of these organizations. The results, and the connections, may be quite surprising.

5. Emergency Support Fund For Organizations

On May 8, 2020, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced the details of a new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. The $500 million Emergency Support Fund provides additional temporary relief to support cultural, heritage and sport organizations and help them plan for the future. The Fund will help maintain jobs and support business continuity for organizations whose viability has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ottawa announced in the Spring of 2020 that it would help fund media outlets that had been harmed by this “pandemic”. That’s nice: crash the economy, and then hand out money with the expectation of favourable coverage.

6. International Engagement Strategy

  • International meeting at Stanford University, California
  • Canada-France joint declaration
  • International meeting in Ottawa

The Canadian Government’s strategy to control the media is not limited to being within the borders. There are a number of international initiatives that are going on as well.

7. Public Policy Forum

The Digital Democracy Project is a multi-year project to analyze and respond to the increasing amounts of disinformation and hate in the digital public sphere. It will monitor digital and social media in real time, coordinate with international research and policy development projects, and develop public policy responses to counter these threats to democratic institutions and social cohesion.

Public Policy Forum President & CEO Edward Greenspon and recently appointed Max Bell School of Public Policy professor Taylor Owen announced the launch of a multi-year project to analyze and respond to the increasing amounts of disinformation and hate in the digital public sphere.

The Digital Democracy Project (DDP) will commission research and journalism to gain a greater understanding of how disinformation is growing in the digital ecosystem. It will monitor digital and social media in real time, coordinate with international research and policy development projects, and develop public policy responses to counter these threats to democratic institutions and social cohesion.

Interesting how subjective the terms “hate” and “misinformation” can be. In fact, the meanings of these words can — and often are — misconstrued in order to shut down legitimate discussion on important topics. Will this research just be more research into how to go about doing it?

8. Peter Donolo: Longtime Liberal Strategist

Peter Donolo is a longtime Liberal operative. He was Chretien’s Communications Director, he worked in the Office of the Official Opposition for Michael Ignatieff, and other political roles. Ignatieff, incidently, is now a Vice-President of Soros’ Open Society Group.

Donolo is also now a Board Member at CIVIX and Journalists for Human Rights. He has ties to the Liberals, who are also funding various initiatives to counter misinformation.

9. Kathleen Monk: Longtime NDP Operative

Kathleen Monk was involved with the Federal NDP (under Jack Layton), and is part of the Broadbent Institute – named after ex-NDP Leader Ed Broadbent.

She is now a Board Member at CIVIX.

10. Robert Asselin: Ex-Trudeau Operative

Robert Asselin worked in the Ministry of Finance from November 2015 to November 2017, under Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau. He also worked at Blackberry.

Currently, he is a Board Member of CIVIX.

11. Elizabeth Dubois: Assistant To Liberal MP

Elizabeth Dubois was an assistant for Diane Hall Findley, who was a Member of Parliament. She also worked as a climate change program manager.

Now, Dubois is a Board Member at CIVIX.

12. Rachel Curran: Harper Operative

Rachel Curran is a public policy manager at Facebook Canada. She also spent years in the Office of the Prime Minister, when Harper was in office. She’s part of CIVIX now.

13. Francis LeBlanc: Ex-Liberal MP

Francis LeBlanc is a former Liberal M.P., and held various Government roles after that. He is now Board Member at CIVIX.

By the way, and relation to Dominic LeBlanc, head of the Privy Council? He previously proposed passing laws to combat “misinformation” related to coronavirus.

14. Megan Beretta: Ties To Several Groups

Megan Beretta has worked for CIVIX, Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Canadian Digital Service, and studied at Oxford Internet Institute.

15. Giroux, Clifford: Ex-Mulroney Operatives

Amy Giroux, who is now a Director Global Vision, was a political attache for Brian Mulroney’s Government from 1988 until 1993. Terrence Clifford, the Founder, was a Member of Parliament for Mulroney.

16. News Media Canada On Disinformation

News Media Canada will design, develop and promote a public awareness program entitled “SPOT Fake News Online”. The project will provide Canadians of all ages with straightforward tools to encourage them to critically assess digital media and identify misleading or defamatory disinformation

News Media Canada is supposed to be developing a program to combat misinformation online. Problem is, the Directors all come from mainstream outlets, who are heavily subsidized by the Government, or rather, taxpayers. There is a conflict of interest in claiming to be the leader in truth seeking.

17. Politics Mixing With Media Fact Checking

The examples above are not exhaustive, but they do show an interesting pattern: many of these taxpayer funded groups who are supposed to fight “misinformation” are run by people with political ties. This seems to be an obvious conflict of interest.

Yes, it’s an overused cliche, but this is a case of putting the fox in charge of monitoring the hen house.

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