Q&A with Ezra Levant, professional loudmouth and TV host on the spanking new Sun News Network
Do you find it ironic that you had to move from Calgary to Toronto to host a conservative-friendly TV news show?
No, for the obvious reason that Toronto is the media capital of Canada. But from a philosophical point of view, there is a tremendous number of conservatives in this city, starting with the mayor, almost half the MPs in the province and institutions like the National Post and Toronto Sun. Toronto is more liberal than Calgary, but so is every other place in Canada. I think it’s the opposite of ironic. I think it’s exciting.
You were known at one point for driving a Hummer. Do you still drive one?
No, I’m close enough to walk to the Sun’s studio on King Street East.
What’s your take on Rob Ford? Is he doing a good job so far?
I was encouraged by his election, and like everyone else, I’m trying to figure out if it signifies a larger trend. I think it does. It felt like a Tea Party rejection of the status quo. It felt like a rejection of elites, and I like that, because that’s one of the themes that Sun News will surely reflect.
Margaret Atwood tweeted rumours of political interference in Sun News’ broadcasting licence application as facts, and even got the name of the network, among other things, wrong. But in your rebuttal you came on so strong that I think you actually elicited sympathy for her. What did you take away from that?
I was just having fun. Today, a rube like me can have a platform; if it’s not in the Sun, it’s on my own blog or on talk radio. Blogs and Facebook and Twitter weren’t around when Atwood and Peter C. Newman and the official cultural establishment had the monopoly on voices.
Are there issues you plan to tackle that other shows just won’t touch?
Freedom is a core principle that I am interested in, especially freedom of speech. In some ways, it’s the raison d’être of the whole channel—that there are other points of view besides the one sanctioned by the state broadcaster, CBC. But we won’t have the typical set-up, with one Liberal, one Tory and one New Democrat going through the minutiae of the day, who farted in Question Period, who Twittered and tittered.
You’re not above yelling at people. Should we be expecting some high-volume back-and-forth on this show from people of differing opinions?
Usually the word “divisive” is used as an insult. Well, division is called for when there is disagreement. The CBC has a unified consensus point of view, and it’s so dreary: “Yes, we all agree with gun control. Yes, we all agree that Omar Khadr is a little lamb. Yes, we all agree that George Bush was awful. Yes, we all agree that global warming is the greatest threat to mankind.” You know what? Bullshit. In that billion-dollar-a-year corporation, they do not have a single conservative host other than Don Cherry, and his focus is sports.
They have Andrew Coyne and Rex Murphy on every Thursday night.
Exactly. Occasionally, conservatives are allowed on as tokens.
I’m sure I’ve seen you on the CBC, discussing the oil sands.
But that’s my point. In the past 200 days, I’ve been on four or five times, and anti–oil sands hosts have been on every day or every week. David Suzuki has been on for decades. There is no counterweight in the official consensus media narrative. I think there are plenty of people who are just desperate for the other side of the story who will tune in to Sun News. In that respect, I hope the Fox News North epithet fits.