By Ezra Levant
Published:December 29, 2021
I was turned down for a mortgage last week by the Royal Bank.
Rebel News was applying for a commercial mortgage to buy an office building in Calgary — our own place from which we could never be cancelled or de-platformed.
But even though our application was strong — we’re debt-free, thanks to our viewers — the Calgary banker said the head office in Toronto wanted to review it for politics. And because of our “strong opinions” about Trudeau, the Royal Bank decided to block us. Even though I’ve done all my personal banking at that Royal Bank branch for decades.
We wanted to buy an office building so that we could never be cancelled or deplatformed. And even before we bought it, we were cancelled and deplatformed.
I was so excited about the building.
It was going to be my big New Year’s announcement to our viewers: to tell you about our new office, not just for us at Rebel News, but for all conservatives sick of being deplatformed and cancelled.
And I tell you one more thing: in our building, we certainly wouldn’t be asking people nosy questions about their private medical status in order to work there or visit!
The building makes sense in so many ways. Calgary has a 30% office vacancy rate right now — so prices are very affordable.
It’s going to be the Rebel News office. We’ve got six journalists in Calgary now, and we’re growing.
But we don’t need a whole building just for them. Here’s the big idea: we’re also inviting other likeminded conservative and democracy groups to work out of the office building too.
I’ve spent the past few months calling fellow travellers and telling them about it and everyone is pretty excited. For example, our friends at True North have agreed to put their Calgary staff in there too. I’ve talked to five groups that are actively considering it. It’s going to be amazing. I imagine a place not just for established groups but for start-ups, like a Silicon Valley incubator, where conservative activists have a desk, and wifi and a mailing address, to get started.
We’d each have our own offices. But there would be common areas — a lounge area and cafeteria we’d all share; and there would be a big boardroom that any of us could book. And other really useful rooms — like a YouTube studio and a podcasting studio that anyone in the building could use.
The building is pretty big — more than 15,000 square feet. Some space is already rented out, which helps cover the costs, but gives us room to expand in the future. So there’s going to be a lot of space for public gatherings. It’s going to be a place for speakers, for events, for townhall meetings, for book launches, even for conferences.
It’s called “co-working” in real estate lingo, but it would be just for people who work in freedom-oriented politics and media and organizing.
And if I had owned it, then it would be un-deplatformable. Maybe that’s why the bank killed it?
I’ve been toying with different names for the building, like the “Freedom Factory” or “The “Centre for Democratic Unity.”
After all, everyone there is working to make our democracy better. And unity — well, imagine all these conservative groups that are splintered right now, coming together under one roof. There’s a lot of splittism in conservative politics right now. How about some common purpose?
Just seeing each other and talking with each other every day in the common areas, or at events, will be amazing. I’ve already recruiting conservative leaders and thinkers for a monthly speakers series in the common areas there — I’ll be sure to invite you. That’s the whole point of this place.
The left has a ton of these buildings, by the way — I actually stumbled into one by accident in Toronto. I couldn’t believe where I found myself: every Tides Foundation and Soros Foundation leftist was hanging out there. Free wifi, a desk, software, other services. But mainly, they were building a sense of community and camaraderie. It was more than just an office; it was a team. They learned from each other, supported each other. And they were winning.
We don’t have anything like that on our side. And it’s time we did.
That’s why this building is so important.
The Royal Bank’s Calgary branch went through our mortgage application with a fine-tooth comb. We showed them everything — our Rebel News financial statements, going back years. My personal finances, because I agreed to personally guarantee the mortgage. We showed them all the details about the office building. We had an independent appraisal done. We even sent over environmental reports and structural inspections.
The Calgary bankers were so impressed that they hopped on a Zoom call with me, and even joked that our application was so strong, they wanted to give Rebel News mortgages for two buildings, not just one!
And right after that call, they sent me an email confirming it. Not only did they agree to a mortgage, but they wanted to offer us a huge line of credit too. I didn’t ask for a line of credit, but that’s how good they felt about Rebel News as a customer.
I was excited.
But then the Royal Bank loans officer who reviewed my application told me my mortgage was only cancelled because Rebel News has the wrong opinions. I recorded that phone call, because it’s too incredible to believe without proof.
It’s an absolute scandal: the Royal Bank has a blacklist of Canadians it considers political enemies.
And Rebel News and I am on that list. (I wonder who else is?)
This office would be a co-working office building for other conservative journalists and political activists. An un-cancellable place for speakers, for events, for town hall meetings, for book launches, even for conferences. That’s why the bank killed it.
It’s a scandal that a chartered bank keeps a blacklist of Trudeau’s political enemies. But you know the saying: don’t get mad, don’t get even, get ahead. Let’s use this setback to actually buy the building ourselves, without Trudeau’s bank involved.