No guns allowed for Minto tenants

One of Canada’s largest property management companies bars tenants from having guns in their units, even if they’re legally owned.

This was a dealbreaker for an Ottawa gun enthusiast, who withdrew his application for a rental unit from Minto Properties upon seeing the firearms ban listed in the tenancy agreement under a section titled “Firearms and other Weapons.

“For the protection of all Residents, firecrackers, knives designed to be used as weapons, firearms, pellet or paintball guns, lethal weapons, or any objects considered dangerous to the health and/or well-being of fellow Residents are not allowed on our property,” the lease said.

The wording is so broad as to even bar licensed gun owners from keeping legally-owned firearms, stored in accordance with the government’s strict regulations, at home.

“I could not sign that knowing I will not be compliant,” said the prospective tenant, who wished not to be named. “Violation of their agreement can lead to eviction.”

A Minto spokesperson confirmed the policy doesn’t differentiate between legal and unlawful guns.

“With resident safety our top priority, this policy is specific to the presence and storage of weapons or firearms at all Minto Apartments properties,” said George Van Noten, the senior vice president of policy operations for Minto Properties. “In no way does it restrict licensed gun owners from tenancy.”

Though Van Noten says gun owners are allowed to be tenants, their firearms can’t join them.

According to a draft tenancy agreement, violating this or any other clause in the Resident Code of Conduct can result in “possible termination of the tenancy.”

A Minto representative didn’t respond to a query about whether the policy has ever been tested at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

A Toronto-based landlord and tenant lawyer the policy’s legality falls into a “grey area.”

“The Residential Tenancies Act only allows a landlord to terminate the lease if the tenant has substantially interfered with the quiet enjoyment or another lawful right, interest or privilege of the landlord or another tenant,” said Kevin Wiener of Wiener Law.

Even if tenants and landlords agree to certain provisions, they may not be enforceable, Wiener said. Bans on pet ownership are an example of this; even if a tenant has agreed to a a no-pets policy in a lease, a landlord couldn’t evict if a tenant violated the ban.

With regards to firearms, it’s less clear cut.

“The short answer is it may or may not be enforceable,” Wiener said. “(Landlords) could argue that the policy allows them to assure tenants that they are moving into a building with no weapons or other dangerous objects, and that assurance is important to other tenants.”

Though he wasn’t aware of any cases where this has been tested, Wiener said if one went to the Landlord and Tenant Board, the board could order an eviction, order a remedy requiring offsite gun storage, or do nothing at all.

While Minto says its policy is about safety, it’s actually less safe overall. Forcing gun owners who have gone through rigorous screening and testing to keep guns somewhere other than at home reduces the oversight most license-holders impose on their collections.

For non-restricted firearms—including most rifles and shotguns—gun owners can store them virtually anywhere, like at someone else’s house or in the trunk of a car.

Restricted guns, such as handguns, pose specific challenges. Offsite storage can be done for a hefty fee at a gun range or gun store, or at another property. However, the government may need to authorize the storage, and it makes transporting the guns more difficult.

Target shooters require an authorization to transport their gun to the range. Typically, these are issued solely for a direct route from home to the range and back.

While most conscientious gun owners follow storage and transport restrictions to the letter of the law, restrictions like Minto’s could cause people to cut corners.

With the risk of vehicle break-ins, not to mention temperature issues, keeping guns in your trunk is a less viable and less safe method of storage than a locked, in-apartment gun cabinet.

Minto’s policy seems to follow the lead of the federal government by presenting the illusion to safety, regardless of the consequences.

The deception of “non-binding” resolutions

Canada’s parliament launched a “whole of government approach” to fighting Islamophobia. Justin Trudeau is imposing a national carbon tax to fulfill obligations under the Paris climate change accord. The United Nations Security Council declared Israel to be in “flagrant violation” of international law.

These situations all share something in common: they came about through “non-binding” resolutions. That didn’t stop them from having real consequences.

A more significant one is looming: the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is set to be signed by representatives of dozens of countries—including Canada—next week in Morocco.

Like any General Assembly resolution, the pact itself isn’t legally binding, though no one should be duped into thinking it carries no weight.

Just listen to the way the compact’s champions describe it.

The United Nations says it is a “critical” step to tackling international migration.

In a Maclean’s op-ed, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said “member states and partners will thus hold each other more accountable on their promises to deliver results for refugees and their hosts.”

Not only will Canada be expected to adhere to the agreement, but countries like Greece and Sudan will be the ones enforcing it should they sign on.

Trudeau has mocked those who say the document threatens sovereignty. How does it not, when nation-states will be responsible for policing each other’s immigration policies?

Louise Arbour, the UN’s special representative for international migration, said in an interview it was “puzzling” that countries were rejecting the compact.

“There is not a single country that is obligated to do anything that it doesn’t want to,” she said.

Perhaps that’s why so many countries are refusing to sign—because they already know they don’t want what it prescribes. Like most supporters of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Arbour and Hussen want us to believe this is somehow of “critical” importance, yet also toothless.

The only reason these sorts of initiatives are couched in such equivocal terms is to shroud their Orwellian nature. That’s the only way to describe an agreement compelling signatories to govern the tone of media coverage of immigration.

This is one of the clauses:

“Promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets, including internet-based information, including by sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology, investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising, and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media.”

This clause is part of the pact’s core objective to “shape perceptions of migration.”

The UN’s position—and as of next week, Canada’s—is that anyone who believes in anything other than open borders and mass, unrestricted immigration is wrong and in need of “sensitizing and educating.”

That’s perhaps why Trudeau’s team is already taking aim at the compact’s critics with the usual litany of accusations of racism and xenophobia, and sowing “conspiracy theories.”

Canada will be signing this agreement to withhold public funds from media outlets that criticize immigration just three weeks after announcing a government panel will be responsible for determining which media companies get to access a $595 million slush fund.

The compact doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, so it’s conceivable that columnists like myself who challenge illegal immigrants or asylum-seekers who cross the border illegally will be running afoul of Canada’s commitment to a sensitized and re-educated press.

I don’t know how Canada plans to enforce that specific provision, but the Trudeau government wouldn’t be signing onto the agreement if it didn’t support it. Even if the UN can’t demand compliance, Trudeau clearly supports making it Canadian law.

Just as Trudeau uses the Paris climate accord as his basis for domestic environmental policy, he’ll use this compact as justification for flawed immigration policy. We can expect him to ram through legislation under the guise of it being “necessary” to meet international “obligations.”

In recent years, there seems to be a non-binding resolution for every occasion. Such a declaration on the books invariably sets the stage for a binding law down the road.

Remember, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration itself is the by-product of the UN’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was supposedly non-binding.

This was a point I stressed during Canada’s debate about the anti-Islamophobia motion M-103. It was touted as merely symbolic, yet triggered extensive hearings in which MPs entertained numerous statist proposals, including a thankfully rejected one to revoke the broadcast licenses from media outlets that criticize Islam.

The UN migration pact is unfolding in a very similar way, albeit on a global scale. The Angela Merkels and Emmanuel Macrons of the world appear to be idle virtue signallers, but are actually demonstrating a willingness to trade in their own nations’ immigration systems for a globalist fantasy.

Whenever Trudeau is forced to defend his government’s record on immigration, he touts the rigorous and robust nature of Canada’s immigration system. If our system is as effective as he thinks, why would we want to link it to the less adequate ones of other countries?

While this pact doesn’t eliminate borders, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes the basis for a push from the UN’s more radical members for a larger-scale European Union-style experiment of free movement across once-sovereign nations.

This is how the non-binding becomes the binding. Canadians must see through the lie.

Member of Unifor’s anti-Conservative political team is a newspaper columnist

I received a great deal of positive response to my column advocating for disclosure of journalists’ union affiliations alongside political stories. The catalyst was Unifor’s commitment to the defeat of Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives, conveniently timed with Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a $600 million bailout for the media industry.

I joined Danielle Smith’s show on Calgary’s 770 CHQR, where I used to guest host, to discuss my piece.

You can listen to the segment here:

After the interview concluded, I came across this tweet from Unifor:

The tweet shows a Unifor working group scheming for next year’s election. Featured in the photo are several of the union’s top brass, including its Atlantic Canada director Lana Payne.

Payne was in the infamous “resistance” photo, though I didn’t recognize her. In addition to her union duties, she’s also a regular columnist for the St. John’s Telegram in Newfoundland.

Unifor’s already succeeding in taking over the country’s newspaper pages.

Payne is an opinion columnist and not a reporter, which means impartiality isn’t required (nor should it be.) She also openly discloses her Unifor role in her columns, so this isn’t a question of her ethics as much as it’s one of her agenda.

Restrictions on third-party advertising impact what unions can say and do during elections, but Unifor and Payne seem to have found a loophole. She can publish whatever propaganda Unifor is pushing under the guise of columns written in her voice.

She isn’t just some columnist who happens to be unionized. She’s a key player on Unifor’s political action group, which has declared itself the “resistance” to Andrew Scheer and vowed to stop the Conservatives at all costs.

The Telegram has some questions to answer here. Even opinion columnists should be expected to not be water-bearers for a specific party. I’m a conservative and a former PC candidate, but I’ve still criticized both the federal and provincial conservative parties in print and on air so no one can argue my content is bought and paid for by anyone except whichever outlet publishes it.

The same can’t be said for the columns written by Unifo— I mean Payne.

Journalists covering political stories must disclose union membership, for transparency

With less than a year to go until the federal election, Canada’s largest labour union has declared war on the Conservatives. That a labour group would side with the Left isn’t noteworthy, except this one is also the biggest union in the country for journalists.

There are 12,000 journalists and other media workers in Unifor, which characterized itself as the “resistance” to Andrew Scheer just one week before Justin Trudeau’s government announced a $600 million media bailout to ‘save’ Canadian journalism.

Not only are these unionized reporters part of an organization devoted to a particular political outcome; their employers are also on the receiving end of a fat cheque from the Liberals.

In a press release thanking the government for the money, Unifor also credited the “campaigning” of its media members for the funding.

“Unifor media workers have been talking to Members of Parliament and it is refreshing to see that they got the message,” said Jake Moore, Unifor’s media chair.

Unifor is admitting that the same journalists supposedly investigating and reporting on MPs have also spent the last two years begging them for money.

How could any sane person not see a conflict here?

This all comes as the federal Liberals fret about the threat of ‘fake news’ swaying next year’s election. The bigger threat is the influence lawmakers have on the press that’s supposed to hold them accountable.

This isn’t an indictment of every journalist. I worked for a mainstream media company for several years and know of many stellar reporters and producers who will continue to do solid and fair work regardless of the bailout and union politics.

However, remember that every unionized newsroom has a steward with a role in writing or broadcasting stories that shape the national conservation. Which will win out—union propaganda or journalistic ethics?

These question marks harm media consumers and the industry itself, further eroding the already precarious public trust in the media. Readers have no way of knowing who is beholden to whom. While individual biases can’t be erased, there can be more transparency.

Every unionized reporter in the country should disclose their union affiliation and any role they have within the organization within any stories connected to issues the union has a position on. For Unifor, that would be any political story whatsoever.

This is a natural extension of the disclosures that would be required for any other potential conflicts, allowing readers to understand the context from which a reporter is approaching his or her coverage.

Were it a member of a gun rights group covering a matter of firearms policy or someone in a province’s law society writing about an issue on which the society has taken a stance, readers—and editors—would justifiably demand transparency. Why should union members get a pass?

In the interests of disclosure, my wife is a newspaper reporter with membership in Unifor. I gave her a heads-up that I was mentioning her, but she wasn’t involved in this piece in any other way. (I may be sleeping on the couch tonight.)

Outlets themselves must be transparent about how much they receive in support from the federal government once Trudeau tax credit programs are operational. Though it would be far more productive for media companies to say no to reject the funding outright.

Specific journalistic guidelines vary from outlet to outlet, but one universal theme in all the policies and practices I’ve seen is the importance of being not only free from conflict, but even the appearance of conflict.

If as the old adage suggests, he who pays the piper calls the tune, anyone expecting fairness from journalists in the coming year is in for a rude awakening.

Canadians will soon see that he who pays the paper calls the tune.

Why the Tommy Robinson case matters

In my new life as an independent journalist and commentator, no story I’ve tackled has had the reach and interest of my coverage of the Tommy Robinson trial-that-never-was in England last month.

It’s understandable given how many of today’s most pressing cultural concerns are encapsulated in the case. Judicial activism, free speech, excessive immigration, media bias, and class divide: all of them are central to what’s happened to Robinson, and how it’s been covered (or not covered, such as the case may be.)

Bob Metz and Robert Vaughan of Just Right Media have been covering many of these issues for years, and graciously invited me back to their program to discuss what I learned and uncovered in England, and how this case fits into the work I’m doing on immigration and constitutional liberties with the True North Initiative.

If you’ve followed the Robinson case extensively you’ll be a bit bored with the opening few minutes of the case, where I recap the backstory before getting into the meat. But do stick through it, as it’s an hour of great discussion about key issues facing western society.

Listen to the interview in full here.