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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A criminal mind

Our friends at Canada Free Press are uncomfortable with our news story about Rachel Marsden, in our last issue of the magazine.

Download the story here to make up your mind. I'm all for second chances and forgiveness, but there ought to be an acceptance of responsibility for one's crimes first. Marsden -- who is still serving her sentence under probation -- won't even acknowledge she was convicted.

Chuck Colson, now there's a better model. A Watergate criminal who served his time, came to grips with his crime, and has built an amazing and inspirational new life in the public square.

I like the National Post very much, which is why her being granted a twice-weekly column there is disturbing. Who cares about Marsden -- it is the Post's reputation, and Canadian conservatism in general, that is at risk by associating with her.

Posted by Ezra Levant on July 5, 2005 | Permalink


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Thanks for posting the story, Ezra. Nice quote from Worthington.

Posted by: Russil Wvong | 2005-07-05 11:41:03 AM

I miss Donna Laframboise...

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2005-07-05 11:55:59 AM

Yes, I miss Donna Laframboise also - a decent and thoughtful person.

What I find strange about Judi McLeod's portrayal of Rachel Marsden is its rejection of facticity. McLeod says that Rachel had her 'share of trouble with bogus boyfriends'. Wait. Is that true? Or was it that Rachel made false accusations of both sexual harassment, and false accusations of rape - and cost people their jobs, their livelihood and their the self-esteem. How is that covered within the term 'bogus boyfriend'?

I suspect that Ms Marsden is what is called a 'sociopath' - someone, quite self-absorbed and narcissistic, highly manipulative, with no ethics or remorse...and quite capable of walking over any and all. That's how she behaved with her outrageous false accusations of harassment and rape.

As for the National Post- it's now a liberal-left rag..gasping for some conservative air..but unable to state anything with coherence.

Posted by: ET | 2005-07-05 12:06:51 PM

As you know I am a strong supporter of yourself and the Western Standard conservative magazine. It may well be that Rachel Marsden has not been upfront about some personal misadventure.
However anytime any Canadian takes on the corrupt Liberal government on public television as does Marsden, that person has my support, because heaven knows we do not get much help from MSM in that regard. To tell the truth I would much rather have her on my side fighting Liberal corruption than a convicted former MP jewel thief spewing socialist bilge any day.

Posted by: Joe Molnar | 2005-07-05 12:19:47 PM

Rachel has had her problems, and I think Fox could have got a better reporter. However, she seemed to gain some credibility in the states - a reformed character? who knows?

What I do know is that conservatives are again indulging their self-destructive habits. The enemy are the LIEBERALS. Can we please concentrate on making them accountable for their atrocious actions. Please -just once.

Better commentators would have been Donna Laframboise or Christie Blatchford.

Posted by: Cascadian | 2005-07-05 12:21:10 PM

"reformed character"

Only if she owns up to what she's done, and it seems like that is still forthcoming.

Plus I have to say I'm not sure what to make of the boudoire pics. I'm not a prude, but can something like that hurt her credibility, especially with the nature of the allegations and the proven charges in her past?

Posted by: Angry in T.O. | 2005-07-05 12:49:02 PM

I received an e-mail from Canada Free Press pointing out that a conditional discharge and a sentence of one year's probation (which Marsden is still serving) is not technically a conviction.

I'm a lawyer myself, but I don't practise criminal law -- so I called up Shawn Beaver, the gold medallist at law school a few years ahead of me. He explained the technicalities. Marsden:

1. Pled guilty to the charge against her;
2. Accepted the statement of facts put forward by the prosecutor;
3. Sought an absolute discharge from the judge, which was not granted;
4. Was sentenced instead to one year's probation;
5. Has that entered on her CPIC police record, where it will remain for four years;
6. After the four years, it will be expunged from her record.

Posted by: Ezra Levant | 2005-07-05 12:51:35 PM

What's the matter - worried about an insincere bimbo penetrating and then discrediting the conservative movement? As if that could ever happen!

Posted by: Buhlinda | 2005-07-05 1:27:00 PM

Rachel Marsden accepted responsibility by pleading guilty. Give her credit for that. As for the sexy pictures... if TYRA BANKS were to get a job as a reporter, would you hold her sexy pictures against her credibility? More likely you bitchers would hold them against your bodies.
Move on and let Rachel do the same.

Posted by: walking eagle | 2005-07-05 1:38:42 PM

Am I the only one who DOESN'T think Rachel Marsden is terribly attractive? She looks too much like her NatPost colleague Rebecca Eckler.

Posted by: Hill Staffer | 2005-07-05 1:39:19 PM

Ezra if she was tried and convicted why does this writer Judi McLeod say you could be sued?? Where are the grounds??

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-07-05 2:07:48 PM

Marsden is also a bit of an animal rights nut...'save the seals'(one of her essays)...how is that conservative? She's a pretender, getting on a gravy train for profit.(Canada's Ann Coulter) I mean really, what a niche market...a conservative woman in CANADA ? Wow, she may have to be put on the endangered species list !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-07-05 2:31:34 PM

Marsden is also a bit of an animal rights nut...'save the seals'(one of her essays)...how is that conservative? She's a pretender, getting on a gravy train for profit.(Canada's Ann Coulter) I mean really, what a niche market...a conservative woman in CANADA ? Wow, she may have to be put on the endangered species list !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-07-05 2:32:42 PM

Marsden is also a bit of an animal rights nut...'save the seals'(one of her essays)...how is that conservative? She's a pretender, getting on a gravy train for profit.(Canada's Ann Coulter) I mean really, what a niche market...a conservative woman in CANADA ? Wow, she may have to be put on the endangered species list !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-07-05 2:33:17 PM

Marsden is also a bit of an animal rights nut...'save the seals'(one of her essays)...how is that conservative? She's a pretender, getting on a gravy train for profit.(Canada's Ann Coulter) I mean really, what a niche market...a conservative woman in CANADA ? Wow, she may have to be put on the endangered species list !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-07-05 2:33:51 PM

Marsden is also a bit of an animal rights nut...'save the seals'(one of her essays)...how is that conservative? She's a pretender, getting on a gravy train for profit.(Canada's Ann Coulter) I mean really, what a niche market...a conservative woman in CANADA ? Wow, she may have to be put on the endangered species list !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-07-05 2:34:31 PM

Oops !

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-07-05 2:35:28 PM

I support Rachel Marsden 100%. Why are we beating up on our own? No matter what you think about her past, give her credit for being a Canadian conservative with ATTITUDE. I'm sick of half-conservative wimps who run for the hills when an issue seems unpopular.

If you have seen her on FOX or Dennis Miller (when the show was still on the air), you'll see she is an attractive, young, aggressive, uncompromising conservative spokesperson who usually makes sense. Ezra and Kevin, just because she is less intelligent (very true, I admit) and much better looking (you must admit) than you both, doesn't mean you can't like her. When you get around to starting the Western Standard Cable News station, put her on for "The O'Marsden Factor" at 9...she'll get the ratings.

Posted by: NCF TO | 2005-07-05 2:50:01 PM

Rachel, is that you?

Posted by: Nice try | 2005-07-05 4:53:04 PM


When are you (and other Canadian conservatives) going to learn that evenhandedness will take you nowhere?

When you discredit a conservative commentator, you play into the hand of the Libranos. Now, they will say, "Even the Western Standard finds her ridiculous."

Time to wise up and get tough-minded.

Posted by: Texan | 2005-07-05 5:10:38 PM

If I thought David Asper was bright enough, I would almost give him credit for hatching a plan to further undermine true conservatives with this shill, under the guise of giving voice to a conservative in the Post.

Alas, I think he's not that bright but will succeed in further undermining the Conservative cause in Canada.

I truly miss the days when the Post was run by Conrad Black. Now that was a newspaper.

Posted by: Ward | 2005-07-05 5:25:47 PM

Ezra, for all the reasons you gave and more, for finding Marsden profoundly harmful to the conservative movement is exacly WHY the National Post enlisted her.

Posted by: wharold | 2005-07-05 6:05:16 PM

Judi McLeod has every right to defend anyone she wants to, and to avoid any issue she wants to avoid, but her criticism of the Western Standard for simply examining certain troubling questions is not a valid one.

Rachel Marsden's name in the National Post still looks like a misprint, to me. This is a woman who carefully and tenaciously destroyed UBC coach Liam Donnelly's reputation with false allegations of stalking and harassment and rape. When the fact came out that she had been slipping risque photos and strangely obsessive letters under his door, the harm was already done. And now, after being charged with criminal harassment in another case, she has emerged as rising star, with her own column in the National Post.

In coming to Marsden's defense, Judi McLeod does not address any of the moral issues surrounding Marsden's actions, or their effect on other people. She instead blames the press, and the Western Standard, for noticing Marsden's history, and for reporting on it. That is a curious approach for a journalist to take.

If a man had exhibited the same sort of behaviours as Marsden, it is doubtful that Judi McLeod would go to such strange lengths to completely avoid the issue of his behaviour, or it's effect on other people.

And you can be certain that she would not refer to similar incidents as "girlfriend blues".

Posted by: EBD | 2005-07-05 6:30:06 PM

I think that Mr. Levant's comments about Rachael Marsden and the Post are worthy of debate.

I am a conservative journalist in Canada who has decided for remain anonymous for now. I recently commented on the Rachael Marsden saga on my own blog.

I welcome the views and opinions of Western Standard readers on this issue (and others).

Right Ho

Posted by: Right Ho | 2005-07-06 8:57:48 AM

I cringe at the garbage that passes as "conservative" in the US and Canada. If Ms. Marsden had not been caught lying about what happened to her at SFU she would be an"attractive, young, aggressive, uncompromising" talking head for NAC and the other left wing groups. She is an opportunist pure and simple. This is not a war, and the more people like Marsden that espouse conservativism the bigger the joke looks. Stephen Harper has done more to damage conservative politics in Canada than any other person, and Marsden may well do the same to conservative journalism. This BS regarding not talking trash about other conservatives has got to stop: pathetic people and bad writing are still pathetic people and bad writing when they claim to share one's political ideas.

Posted by: Gerhard | 2005-07-06 4:48:00 PM

Pleading guilty to a criminal offence is equivalent to being found guilty by a judge or jury. Marsden is a hypocrite; all you have to do is watch (and I shudder to recommend this) the CBC's 5th Estate documentary where they ask her if the private lives of politicians are fair game for debate. And Rachel walks right into it, citing Bill Clinton's personal moral failings opening herself up to questions about her own skeletons in the closet. Who knows where Rachel will end up; for now it is unfortunate that the viewers of Fox News get their information about Canadian politics from her.

Posted by: JM | 2005-07-06 6:24:45 PM

I don't think Ms. McLeod is being fair to The Western Standard or being honest with herself.

Some of the Polital Science faculty at my University are familiar with Judi McLeod and the Canada Free Press and its earlier incarnation "Our Toronto". These two newspaper articles say a lot.


NOW November 3-9, 1994

Rightist lauding Layton

Right-wing tab, Our Toronto, touts Jack Layton as class act

Jack Layton says bizarre new backing a surprise.

By Glenn Cooly

The right-wing tabloid Our Toronto has endorsed left-wing darling Jack Layton.

Although it has drowned him in a veritable lake of vitriolic ink in the past, Our Toronto's current election issue gives Layton the nod in the Don River race for Metro council. The move is especially surprising given that Layton's opponents include former board of education chair Nola Crewe, a onetime voice of the right.

But Our Toronto editor Judi McLeod says the paper considers Crewe to be "an opportunist," while Layton "sticks to his principles.

"I think Jack Layton was one of the classiest acts on council. He deserves to win, and I think he's going to win."

Layton, for his part, is nonplussed over the endorsement. "Let's just say that I was very surprised," he says, "Politics can be a strange thing."


Speaking of Our Toronto, editor Judi McLeod is assisting in the campaign of ward 8 challenger Don Salapoutis, who has joined forces with ward 9 city council incumbent Steve Ellis in one of the more intriguing municipal election campaign efforts this year.

Ellis and Salapoutis, in addition to their individual election material, have printed up joint campaign signs that are popping up as far west as Broadview, the western boundary of ward 8. Ward 9 lies on the other side of ward 8, beginning more or less at Jones.

Ian MacEachern, Ellis' campaign manager, downplays the significance of the signs, saying that they were done solely out of financial expediency. "It's a common practice," says MacEachern. "It's my understanding that it was simply a way of saving some money. It's my understanding that Steve knows Donny, but that's the extent of their relationship."

McLeod - who returned phone calls on behalf of Salapoutis when NOW was preparing a ward 8 profile last month, describing herself as "informally connected" to Salapoutis' campaign - also says that the two candidates have no formal political affiliation.

Although the right-wing tabloid endorses Ellis (along with Salapoutis) in its current issue, McLeod says Our Toronto has no involvement whatsoever with his reelection bid. "Ellis doesn't particularly like Our Toronto," she says.

But Terry Brackett, one of two 1994 ward 9 challengers, says that McLeod's efforts on behalf of Salapoutis rub off on Ellis. Brackett adds that she believes Ellis has hitched himself up with Salapoutis in order to position himself for a provincial election run in Riverdale, a riding that covers both wards 8 and 9.

"That's the only reason I can think of," says Brackett, publisher of Etc. Community News. "He wants the support of the Greek vote."


NOW November 17-23, 1994

Right-wing friends flee from tabloid's independent stance

Our Toronto faces ad drain and lawsuit by a high-profile founder

Defeated right-wing councillor Tony O'Donohue has not taken kindly to his co-creation's electoral barbs.

By Enzo Di Matteo

With the new Toronto city council drifting left following Monday's election, the development-backed right-wing tab Our Toronto (OT) already has its work cut out for it.

And with the paper facing a flourishing new rival and a libel suit by one of its founding fathers - defeated councillor Tony O'Donohue - things are likely to get even more harried for the publication mandated to destabilize the urban reform movement.

For three years, Our Toronto, under the editorial thumb of former Sun education columnist Judi McLeod, has shamelessly trumpeted the causes of conservative councillors.

But a curious thing happened. McLeod slowly began getting the urge to produce "a real live newspaper" somewhere between the constant bickering of politicos over whose picture would be played bigger and the get-acquainted cocktails arranged with powerful developers interested in advertising.

"The whole thing was that I should write nice things about them all the time," says McLeod. "But a newspaper should be telling the truth."


Last week, O'Donohue filed notice of a suit - the terms of which are undisclosed - after McLeod refused to publish an apology or retraction over two unflattering election articles.

One put forward 10 Reasons Not To Vote For Tony O'Donohue, while another endorsed O'Donohue's rival in ward 3, Mario Silva, complete with spicy tidbits about O'Donohue's chauffeur-driven sedan and "powerbroking" at city hall.

O'Donohue's lawyer, legal heavy Timothy Danson, charges in a letter to McLeod and OT publisher John Sutt that the articles suggest the now former councillor is "unethical, power-hungry, dishonest, has personally profited as a direct result of his misuse of power... and that he has been involved in `numerous scandals.'"

O'Donohue was still licking his election wounds this week and did not return NOW's calls. Danson could not be reached for comment.

Fellow councillor Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, another of OT's early backers, was sounding gleeful at the prospect of O'Donohue's suit putting the tab out of business. "It's an obnoxious paper." Korwin-Kuczynski says, admittedly still stinging from some of the paper's slags against him.

But it wasn't always that way. Korwin-Kuczynski says he became involved with OT from the beginning, "because we were pretty frustrated with the Badger (a left-leaning council watcher) and we thought this would counteract that. But how far you went financially is another thing."

According to Korwin-Kuczynski, "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."

McLeod, though, says the politicos became disenchanted and abandoned her with a large printing bill they promised to pay - but didn't - because "They couldn't control me."

Korwin-Kuczynski admits as much, only in different terms. "It was more along the lines of trying to coax them to write positive articles," he says.

Since losing its council backers - and the advertising bucks that went with them - OT has been feeling the financial pinch. The monthly has been publishing erratically over the last year and a half, reaching markedly fewer than the 80,000 households it used to.

McLeod, though, is remaining defiant, calling O'Donohue's suit part of an ongoing "campaign of harassment" and, adding to the web of political and development intrigue, she's spinning tales about boxing world locals with names like "the Weasel" showing up in O'Donohue's entourage at all-candidates meetings.


There's an O'Donohue connection to the new paper of choice for the right. The Westend Express, a monthly launched by Marathon Realty, was bought by current publisher Michael Baillargeon, a former municipal running mate of the longtime ward 3 councillor.

McLeod says she's in an advertising war with the Express but has managed to retain the backing of one powerful developer and property management giant - Allan Every of Highmark Properties.

Every stuck with OT, liking its anti-NDP stance on rent controls, he says, and sharing with McLeod a common interest in the connections between the tenant activist and "communist" movements in Canada.

"I remember saying that it's sad two people from the right side of the spectrum would get into some kind of battle when we have plenty to deal with fighting the left," says Every.

In O'Donohue's former stomping grounds across town, meanwhile, the Express is doing a booming business - despite the economic hard times that have beset the publishing industry since 1990.

While OT is floundering, the Express has gone from publishing 12 pages with a circulation of 35,000 monthly, to regular 24-page editions with colour reaching 85,000 homes through direct Canada Post mailings since Baillargeon's take-over a little more than a year and a half ago.

The publication, which is under Baillargeon's wife's name, is close to breaking even, according to Baillargeon, while expanding circulation into six western city wards.

Baillargeon says the paper's pumped-up economic fortunes coinciding with OT's struggles has nothing to do with development-industry backing - although full-page ads for the Dufferin Mall, owned by Marathon, show up regularly.

Baillargeon says the publication is "apolitical," but the Express ran an editorial by the publisher in its election issue endorsing O'Donohue, Korwin-Kuczynski and June Rowlands, among others. There's also a substantial amount of space offered up to municipal, provincial and federal area politicians to express their unedited views.

"We're not an investigative paper," says Baillargeon. "We provide a community service."

Posted by: . | 2005-07-06 7:05:37 PM

I endorse doing the story. We conservatives have to learn to take out our own trash. We don't want the left doing our housecleaning for us.

We should want our friends on the right to be people of Good character and good reputation.

Posted by: Rick Hiebert | 2005-07-07 10:33:09 PM

I agree, Rick.

Posted by: EBD | 2005-07-07 11:35:14 PM

What hypocrites!

The Canada Free Press badmouths Stephen Harper every chance they get. Whose side are they really on?

Posted by: avc | 2005-07-12 3:39:11 PM

Marsden seems to have a bit in common with Jeff Gannon. Her GOP Babes bio says she used to write for GOPUSA, aka Talon News.

Oh, and what the Western Standard failed to mention is that she started stalking Law Prof. Neil Boyd after he used her case against her swim coach as an example of how badly universities tend to deal with sexual harassment suits.

Neil Boyd is the author of Big Sister: How Extreme Feminism Has Betrayed the Fight for Sexual Equality. That's the book that mentions Marsden.

Maybe the Standard just overlooked this. It's an interesting part of the story.

Posted by: Aaron | 2005-07-12 4:11:17 PM

Considering that Canadians and many Americans were and are completely ga-ga over Bill Clinton, the president of the U.S, a man accused of sexual harrassment, rape and other "indecent" acts, but are spewing such venom over a writer speaks volumes.

Posted by: Isabel | 2005-07-15 7:22:49 PM

What in the world makes you assume, "Isabel" that people who are ga-ga over Clinton spoke here about Rachel Marsden? By what trick of logic can you connect these two groups?

How do you personally feel about her behaviour? How would you feel about a man doing the same things she did?

Posted by: qua | 2005-07-15 8:32:19 PM

Marsden is one of the worst things that ever happened to Canada's Conservative movement. She's like a cross between Dar Heatherington and Karla Homolka. Did anyone else notice Marsden's resemblance to the new-look Homolka? They both have the same scary dead-eye look.

Posted by: Ezra's on the money | 2005-07-21 9:50:15 PM

The Canada Free Press takes the courageous step and apologizes!

From www.canadafreepress.com


Canada Free Press owes its colleagues at the Western Standard an apology over a statement made in Judi McLeod's July 5, 2005 column, Killing Off Rachel.

In that column, McLeod wrote that Western Standard writer, Kevin Steel had written "word for word" a line from Toronto Star media critic Antonia Zerbisias' June 5 Uppity Date tagline in her June 5 column, Ding! Ding! Ding! Recess is Over..."Post staffers are circulating an email loaded with almost-porn" (emphasis ours) pictures of Marsden."

McLeod wrote in her column that Antonia Zerbisias wrote: ..."near-pornographic images of the columnist in skimpy lingerie" when in fact it was Steel who wrote those words.

There was no intent by CFP to portray Kevin Steel as having plagiarized Zerbisias, as Western Standard editor Kevin Libin accused us. Indeed, McLeod was attempting sarcasm, believing that the pictures in question were not pornographic or even "near pornographic", and having noted that Steele did not write about the Post staff having allegedly circulated pictures of their then fellow employee, Rachel Marsden.

Although Zerbisias' actual quote: "almost-porn pictures" and Steel's actual quote: "near-pornographic images" are similar, they are not word-for-word, and thus the CFP apology as "requested" and "expected" by Western Standard editor Kevin Libin.

Although there was no intent by CFP to cast aspersions on the integrity or the writing style of Kevin Steel, CFP remains steadfast in its belief that the Western Standard column on Rachel Marsden was extraordinarily demeaning and cruel in its portrayal of conservative columnist Rachel Marsden, and that demeaning a fellow conservative is a waste of time given the ongoing conduct of the scandal-plagued "Libranos".

Posted by: concerned conservative | 2005-08-04 6:47:51 PM

I think the judge would be pretty embarrassed to see what RM has been up to over on the Franksters ezboard site, posing as someone named Missy Tee, and before that, as Hot Canadian Chick. She even at one point posted a racist comment about yet another ex-boyfriend's wife. This has been going on for a long time. If you do a search on the Franksters site for MIssy Tee, you will see she is in there almost 24/7, spewing pro-Rachel bile at all times. Truly a sad, sick woman who in fact would have benefitted from court-ordered intensive therapy, severe Internet restrictions, and a criminal record.

Posted by: Frank Sinatra | 2005-11-15 5:58:35 PM

Look how filthy mouthed convicted stalker Rachel "Missy Tee" Marsden is. Look what she writes about Ezra Levant.


I wonder if Rachel's father, convicted sex offender Claude Arthur Marsden, snuck into her room one night.

...as for Judi McLeod, she is bad news all the way. Ask the friends she betrayed in the 1990s when she snuggled up to the local NDP. Ezra, if you are reading this get yourself new friends.

Posted by: downwithRachel | 2005-11-29 2:38:29 PM

The Toronto Sun has just fired Rachel Marsden. I'm surprised it took so long.

Posted by: boo | 2007-11-08 6:34:08 PM

Pity. She was on point most of the time.

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-08 6:38:22 PM

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