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Canada Free Press
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Canada Free Press is a daily online Canadian newspaper, which publishes in Toronto. The paper publishes news, features and editorials.

1 Origins as Our Toronto
2 Racial Controversy
3 Harassment accusations, retractions and other controversies
4 Conspiracy theories
5 Student interns
6 External links
7 Notes and sources

Origins as Our Toronto
Canada Free Press was established in 1991 as Our Toronto, with the assistance of Tony O'Donohue. Judi McLeod has edited the newspaper since its inception. Arthur Weinreb is current associate editor.

Canadian conservative pundits including Rachel Marsden, Ezra Levant, and Kevin Steel have contributed to the publication.

The paper has also had members of the NDP (New Democratic Party) write for it. These include Michael Lockey, who was the paper's Associate Editor from 1991 to 1996, and Peter Tabuns who wrote a guest column in 1996. Michael Lockey, a life-long NDP activist and card-carrying member, unsuccessfully vied for the NDP nomination in the 1991 Toronto Mayoralty race against Jack Layton.

Tony O'Donohue and McLeod had a falling out which resulted in him unsuccessfully suing the paper in 1994. According to McLeod, O'Donohue had harassed her for three long years even before the 1991 municipal election. O'Donohue believed that the paper's articles David Verses Goliath and Ten Reasons Not To Vote For Tony O'Donohue - which was distributed as an insert with the Our Toronto special election issue - caused him to lose the election.

McLeod shocked many with her endorsement of NDPer Jack Layton in the 1994 municipal election. Judi McLeod endorsed Layton because of a vendetta against Layton's opponent, Nola Crewe, a former school board trustee and Our Toronto Free Press writer. McLeod told Now Magazine, "I think Jack Layton was one of the classiest acts on council. He deserves to win, and I think he's going to win. He sticks to his principles," and ironically dismissed Crewe as an opportunist.

Despite their right-wing reputation, Judi McLeod and the Canada Free Press have a history of endorsing NDP and Liberal candidates. They endorsed NDP Barbara Hall and Liberals Tony O'Donohue, Betty Disero and Chris Korwin-Kuczynski in 1991. NDP Jack Layton and Liberal Mario Silva in 1994. NDP Martin Silva in the 1995 Ontario Provincial Election. NDPers Peter Tabuns, Kyle Rae, Rob Maxwell and Liberal Judy Sgro in 1997. Associate editor Julius Melnitzer endorsed Barbara Hall in 1997.

Some conservatives think highly of McLeod or her publications. Conservative writer Kevin Michael Grace dismissed McLeod as an emotionally incontinent 9th grader [1]. Christian Conservative journalist and talk show host Michael Coren banned her from his show after a single appearance. One-time ally Chris Korwin-Kuczynski said of Our Toronto, "It's an obnoxious paper. The paper expected a lot of people to come out and get advertising, and it just didn't happen that way, because the publication isn't a good one." Some conservatives were sceptical of her 9/11 conspiracy theory that the Mob may have been involved. Her own student writer Alexander Rubin said he didn't believe this theory but had posted it to the conservative Free Republic message board on McLeod's orders.[2]

In 2000, the paper began focusing on international affairs.

In 2005, the Free Press was engaged in a war of words with Ezra Levant's Western Standard over the question of Rachel Marsden's suitability as a conservative commentator. Judi McLeod and the Canada Free Press were forced to apologize for casting doubts on Western Standard writer Kevin Steel's integrity and implying that he had plagiarized Toronto Star writer Antonia Zerbisias.

Racial Controversy
In 1994, Our Toronto found itself in the middle of a controversy for publishing a parody song with what some deemed racist lyrics. One verse of the Our Toronto song read: "Go to the school-yard, look around. Faces are yellow, black and brown. Knife in hand, drugs are grand, we're in the same boat now. Cannot write, so we fight, we're in the same boat now." Another verse said: "There's no denying the truth we know. All people, all colors, make the best rainbow. It'll take all our brains to put black in there, though. We're in the same boat now." The Toronto Police Services subsequently removed the paper from its premises.

CFP Managing Editor Justin Boudreau posted a message to a Mensa Usenet group in 2002 explaining his belief that Adolf Hitler accomplished a lot considering his situation. [3]. The person who started the thread had asked for a list of people who had accomplished extraordinary things while having to overcome severe physical handicaps in childhood.

The newspaper has published discriminatory and racist comments on people who live in Turkey [4]. William John Hagan has written the following paragraph. "The admission of Turkey into the European Community will be the final blow to the Christian identity of Europe. Once the Turkish people are free to live in and work, legally, in the European nation of their choice, the problem will not be Paris burning but a deluge of Islamic immigrants into the Christian world which will be unstoppable. If one remembers with horror the acts of Black September, the Red Brigade, or the sectarian violence in Yugoslavia; then, just wait until every citizen of Turkey has a European Passport." [5]

Harassment accusations, retractions and other controversies
Toronto Life magazine reported that Judi McLeod was harassing Toronto City Councillor Betty Disero. McLeod had been waiting outside Disero's home, taking pictures.

Toronto City Councillor Pam McConnell complained to the police that McLeod had sent a photographer to wait outside McConnell's home and take pictures of McConnell's and neighbours' young children.

McLeod published nurse Cathy Crowe's home address and her picture in the paper along with what Crowe's lawyer deemed defamatory statements suggesting that McLeod was encouraging her readers to harass and even physically attack Ms. Crowe. The paper also published the home address of anti-poverty activist John Clarke along with a photograph of the house he was renting.

The Toronto Free Press was the subject of a several hundred thousand dollar lawsuit by Y.R. Botiuk, a lawyer of Ukrainian descent. An article improperly alleged that Botiuk had misappropriated money belonging to the Ukrainian-Canadian community. [6]

Toronto Conservative politician Paul Christie also won a retraction in 1997 after McLeod accused Christie in print of not being up to date on a subject because he had just returned from a five-week long holiday. In fact, Paul Christie had said in council that the City of Toronto public servant who had been assigned to the issue had just returned from a five-week holiday and, therefore, had been unable to provide him with an up-to-date briefing. McLeod had also accused Christie and his parents of owning property in Florida, which she subsequently admitted wasn't true.

In a 1999 article, McLeod referred to a local police officer whom she called a mentor and whom she only identified as Fabio XOX, code name for a local police officer who was helping the paper find advertising revenues. In 2000, several Toronto police officers were arrested for shaking down local bars and clubs down in Toronto's entertainment district demanding among other things that they put ads in a local newspaper. ALL THINGS SMALL AND BEAUTIFUL, Canada Free Press article.

An ad rep won damages for unpaid wages in a small claims lawsuit in 2000. [7]

Canada Free Press and Garth Pritchard apologized in 2005 to David Pugliese and CanWest Global Media Works Publications Inc. for defaming them in an article written by Garth Pritchard entitled "Bedroom Slipper Journalism". Pritchard had falsely accused Pugliese of not having any hands-on experience and lacking credibility. In fact, Pugliese has reported from active war/conflict zones as well as peacekeeping operations. The Canada Free Press admitted that their writer Garth Pritchard had knowingly lied. [8]

McLeod plagiarized the satirical online journal The Onion in a 2005 article about Cardinal Maradiaga apparently unaware that the source article itself was parody and not a genuine interview. [9]

In 2006 Judi McLeod fell victim to a hoax. She believed she had been exchanging emails with Hollywood actor Mel Gibson through a website purportedly run by the actor [10]. It was in fact a satirical website [11]. McLeod called Antonia Zerbisias's coverage [12] [13] of the matter a "hatchet attack". [14]

Judi McLeod and the Canada Free Press have also had to print corrections to CSL International which Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's family owns, and The Tides Foundation.

Conspiracy theories
In July 2004, the CFP published a front page story claiming that Michael Moore would be charged within the week for interfering in the 2004 Canadian Federal election. [15] In Canada, it is illegal for non-residents to publicly campaign in elections. However no charges were laid and Elections Canada, the body overseeing any infractions, denied that they had ever intended to charge Moore. Oddly, the CFP still has the article up on their website.

Judi McLeod also wrote an article openly wondering if Conservative leader Stephen Harper had been co-opted by the Liberals to throw the 2004 election. Unfortunately McLeod confused the Privy Council Office and the Queen's Privy Council which are in fact two separate bodies.

In 2005, David Hawkins, Foundation Scholar-Cambridge University, and founder of the Citizen's Association of Forensic Economists at Hawks' CAFE, and Judi McLeod teamed up to write a series of articles on the UN's radical socialist agenda executed across Intranets and virtual private networks, operated by the self-styled "Global Custodians". The ongoing series linked $40 trillion hedge funds, via an online portal on the 79th floor of One World Trade Center, to "disruptive technologies" developed by Canada for alleged use in the UN Oil-for-Food scam, 9/11 and Kyoto fraud.

Hawkins and McLeod allege that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States may have been a Mafia plot and not the work of Arab terrorists. [16]

On Tuesday, February 7, 2006, McLeod wondered why information in a Wikipedia article on Kofi Annan suggesting that his father had been a "leading freemason" had "flat out disappear[ed] from Wikipedia". [17] Research by Wikipedia editors revealed that such claims had never appeared in the article. She may have confused Wikipedia with William Shawcross's website which is where the information actually appears.[18] Wikipedia staff sent the CFP a letter to the editor about this on 12 February 2006.

Student interns
Canada Free Press makes use of free labour from high school student interns in co-op programs to learn journalism.[19] Most are from Toronto District School Board's Humberside Collegiate and East York Collegiate [20] though some are from the Toronto Catholic School Board's Bishop Romero School. [21]

One person who had been interviewed for a student article subsequently criticized the quality of the writing and the accuracy of the reporting.[22]

External links
Canada Free Press
9/11 and the Mob: It is even possible that this is not mob related?, Canada Free Press article
A Criminal Mind, from The Western Standard Link to the Western Standard article with information about Rachel Marsden, Judi McLeod's apology, and the Tony O'Donohue lawsuit.
Elections Canada to Charge Michael Moore, July 2004 Canada Free Press article
Betty Disero Sees Hidden Enemies, Eye Weekly article
Botiuk v. Toronto Free Press Publications Ltd.
Notes and sources
^ - Stores that sell Drug Paraphernalia are Getting Out of Hand - by Robin Pierro Canada Free Press - October 22 2004
^ East York Collegiate story July 21, 2003
^ Getting lessons from our co-op students Canada Free Press - June 2001
^ Commentary by the Toronto Hemp Company about a student writer's article - Stores that sell Drug Paraphernalia are Getting Out of Hand

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