During the hustle and bustle of the Conservative Party convention, the Gauntlet arrived at the Central Public Library on Nov.1 looking for an interview with David Suzuki. Although we did eventually get to sit down with Suzuki, our first encounter was with Ezra Levant, a Sun Media journalist and well-known conservative commentator. Levant was in the process of being kicked out of the counter-convention alongside his camera crew for allegedly blocking a line up minutes prior to our appearance. We managed to get a rushed interview with Levant in between his exchanges with the convention’s security staff before finally speaking with him alone.
The Gauntlet: Mr. Levant, how are you doing?
Ezra Levant: Good, what’s your name?
G: Toby, what’s yours?
EL: You just called me by my name . . . you’re a little nervous, aren’t you?
G: I am. You’re a prominent public figure.
EL: It’s okay. I’m just like you.
G: Are you worried they are going to mace you?
EL: No, this [security] guy seems pretty nice.
G: Do you believe in global warming? What exactly are your qualms with David Suzuki’s views, summed up quickly?
EL: I think the Earth warms and cools over cycles. I don’t think [Suzuki] has much scientific basis for his claims. I don’t believe he is as well informed as he portrays himself.
G: Do you view the government as having a close tie to the energy sector?
EL: I’m not here to defend the government. But they passed a law to ban corporate donations and union donations. There are no corporate donations allowed whatsoever, or from unions and individual donations are capped at $1,100.
G: But given that Mr. Harper is from Alberta, and that Alberta traditionally aligns with the energy sector, could you see the government holding a potential bias in favour of the oil industry?
EL: You know, most of the oilsands activities really took bloom under Jean Chrétien’s tenure. It was Chrétien, his natural resources minister and [Anne] McLellan who really put the regulatory system in place that gave birth to them. The oilsands have been around for decades. The financing and regulation really took off in around 2004, 2005. Harper took office in . . .
[At this point another exchange with security erupted. Prime Minister Harper took office in 2006.]
G: What do you believe is the current state of the opposition, given Justin Trudeau’s recent surge in popularity and Harper’s poor showing in recent polls?
EL: There are polls coming out every day and they show that the three parties are fairly close. But I don’t know.
G: What do you make of Mr. Trudeau?
EL: I think he’s a lightweight and he doesn’t have a strong policy background.
G: He did beat your guy, Patrick Brazeau.
EL: Yeah, as a boxer he did well. In fact, I emceed that boxing match. When he won, he won it big time. I remember saying to him, “I call you the shiny pony but tonight you were a stallion.” He’s a good boxer. And he’s pretty. He has beautiful hair. He let me touch his hair once. I got the photos.