Talk:Svend Robinson

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Kaijan wrote in the summary field: "Burnaby is not a suburb." Although Burnaby is certainly growing and becoming more urban, people don't know where it is except that it's a suburb of Vancouver. So I think it's a good idea to leave the suburb reference in the article. moink 18:30, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Robinson and anti-Semitism[edit]

Below CJCurry has made a very selective excerpt of this article. If you read it you will see that Robinson is just one of many examples of "continuing anti-semitism in Canada". This is a clear example of SR's comments being labelled anti-semtic. But read the article and judge for yourself. And remember, CJCurry denied it even existed. [unsigned]

Actually, both articles avoided language that could be interpreted as a direct accusation of anti-semitism against SR. They referenced anti-semitism and Robinson's comments, but didn't draw a direct link between the two. Perhaps the anon should show the same caution in his edits. CJCurrie 21:29, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Not so. The article presents a laudry list of allegedly anti-semitc statements, and Robinson's comments are in the list. You are trying to 'proof text' by removing a quote from context. Readers: Don't take take my word for it -- and don't take CJCurrie's: read the article.

By the way, I don't who this CJCurry fellow is. CJCurrie 21:30, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Here is an article from Bnai Brith mentioning SR. I will let readers judge for themselves if this counts as an accusation against SR

Look, the guy was publicly demoted. His remarks were removed from the NDP website -- there one day gone the next. He was publicly rebuked by the former NDP premier of the largest province in Canada. That's what his fellow party members did after his remarks on Israel. Various Jewish groups in Canada criticized him. Unlike CJCurry I found a link in seconds

None of this proves he's an anti-semite, but it proves he was called one.

The notion of "*real*" accusations is just a trick to avoid admitting they exist. [unsigned]

Here's the quote the anon is referring to:

"In October 2001, M.P.s Svend Robinson and Libby Davies met with CJC, Pacific Region to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict and other matters of concern to the Jewish community. At the meeting, Svend Robinson offered a balanced approach to the conflict and endorsed the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure borders. He also referred to Israel as a “beacon of democracy” in the Middle East. However, after the meeting, Mr. Robinson was quoted in an Ottawa based publication, The Hill Times, expressing one-sided severe criticism of Israel and its current policies, which would lead one to believe that he takes a solely Palestinian approach to the conflict rather than the balanced approach that he displayed in the meeting with CJC. A letter was written to Mr. Robinson inquiring about the discrepancy in his comments to the world and his comments said in private to the Jewish community."

Being accused of "expressing one-sided severe criticism of Israel" is not the same as being accused of anti-Semitism. CJCurrie 20:58, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

And, here's what the B'Nai Brith article says:

"When Svend Robinson falsely accused Israel of “torture and murder” after the incursion in Jenin, in a few incidents, Jews from the elderly to the young were literally stopped in the street and called murderers. Robinson did not seem to care that his own rhetoric could be used to promote hatred against others."

It's closer to the line, but this article doesn't accuse Robinson of anti-Semitism either. CJCurrie 21:23, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Part of the problem with the anon editors changes is that they do not simply address the issue of the allegations of anti-semitism. The eidts are rife with attempts to portray Robinson in as engative light as possible by recounting the theft in as heavy-handed a way as possible, and removing without explanation the mention of the homophobia that Robinson experienced from other MPs. This is very clearly an attempt to change the tone of the article to a non-neutral one. There may be some basis for restoring some of the comments about the alelgations of anti-semitism, but that has to be separated from the other very POV edits. Ground Zero | t 15:39, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I have reviewed the links provided, and I can't see where anyone has accused him of being an anti-semite or of anti-semitic remarks. Maybe I missed soemthing. Or maybe, the anon editor is reading between the liones and coming to his/her own conclusions, which is not what Wikipedia is for. He has been criticized for his severe criticism of Israel, but that isn't the same thing as being criticised for anti-semitism. After all, there are Jewish critics of Israel, too. Ground Zero | t 21:45, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

I was more or less fine with the way the critic removal line has read since September. I wrote the sentence actually. However, I do believe a line noting the unproven suggestions of anti-Semitism is probably needed. Why? Because as I noted below that Robinson himself related the loss to claims of anti-Semitism (and also anti-Israel bias) as did Judy Rebick. I don’t know if anyone bothered to see the video Robinson’s press conference following his removal but the (real audio) video is still active at the CBC.[1] Here is what Robinson himself said regarding anti-Semitism:

At 4:08 “I profoundly regret that some people have suggested that either my position or Alexa’s position or the position of my party is in any way steeped in kind of anti-semitism.” At 4:39 “Those are some of the misapprehensions and the misperceptions that are out there: that somehow there’s an element of anti-Semitism in our approach.” At 5:15 “In fact it is terribly painful for me who has fought my entire life against anti-semitism, against any form of discrimination, for anyone, anyone, to accuse either me or my party of anti-Semitism.” At 5:59 “But there is that misperception, unfortunately and tragically, in some sectors and that had to be dealt with.” At 8:14 (on McDonough assuming critic responsibility) “Why is that? And why have I agreed with that decision? Well it’s because there is that perception out there. It is wrong. It is unfair. It is untrue. But it is there in some sectors. I don’t want to suggest that it is a widespread perception but it is there.”

If one believes Robinson then, he was demoted because of a perceived anti-Israel bias and a perception of anti-semitism. I have to say that I agree with Svend on this one.--JGGardiner 02:44, 15 December 2005 (UTC)


To the anonymous poster who keeps making reference to these "accusations":

Yesterday, I did a Google search for Robinson and "anti-Semitism", looking for evidence of any *real* accusations that might have been made as a result of his visit to Palestine in 2002. I could only find one -- in a "letters to the editor" section of a minor B.C. newspaper, from a reader who didn't sign her full name.

I found several allusions to *rumours* that Robinson's positions on Israel might be based in anti-Semitism, and other references to a whispering campaign against him. I did not, however, find any *actual accusations* from people who were willing to use their real names in the field of public discourse (not even from Howard Galganov, who has criticized Robinson several times in *extremely* vitriolic language for his views on the Middle East).

For the purposes of this article, it might be acceptable to make reference to the aforementioned allusions ... but only if we (i) clarify that they *were* just allusions, and (ii) also include Robinson's response to the same (one instance of which may be found at: [2]).

You may also wish to read: [3]

CJCurrie 21:49, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think the section reads fine as it is. It says "some" accused him of anti-semitism and indeed some did. He says so himself in your link: "The trip also raised many questions back home in Canada, including from friends in the Jewish community...Wasn't I really driven by a deep-seated anti-Semitism?"

Perhaps it could be changed to something like "Robinson says that he was accused of anti-semitism" but I prefer it the way it is. Judy Rebick said the same thing when defending him after his jewellery incident: He was deeply wounded by attacks calling him anti-Semitic after his return from his controversial trip to the Middle East a couple of years ago...[4].

I think that if Robinson and Rebick recognize it, that's enough for me. I understand that it might hurt that he is attacked but we shouldn't pretend it isn't there. Svend didn't and I don't think that Wiki should either.

Sorry if my formatting is off. I'm new to this. -- 05:38, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

My point is that no public figure (to my knowledge) openly accused him of anti-Semitism. There were insinuations in the National Post and other papers, and apparently some people made private remarks -- but I can't remember any public figure saying "Robinson is anti-Semitic" or "his actions border on anti-Semitism".

If you can think of someone who did, please let me know. CJCurrie 05:53, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I think you're right, no public figure that I can recall did. But that part is about public perception. There are other areas about public perception in the article as well: that he was loved, respected for this or that, was perceived a self-righteous, ran a good constituency office, etc. Indeed, the last paragraph merely relays a rumor and then analyzes the political implications were it true.

Clearly there were accusations and they were widespread enough for him to respond in an open letter. I think it is extremely elitist to say that something only happened if you can cite an MP as having said it. I think Robinson's suggestion of the attacks is more than enough Rankean proof for me.

  • Perhaps, if we make it clear that we're talking about allusions and not direct accusations. (And I wasn't the one who wrote "no other MP"; that was someone else). CJCurrie 19:45, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree that they are just allusions. The reason that I think that it is important is not to show that Robinson may be anti-semitic (I don't think that he is anyway) but because these perceptions were the stated cause of his absurd partial loss off critic responsibility (for the Middle East). The CBC still has video of the McDonough and Robinson press conferences from when he was demoted and they both clearly relate it to a public perception or misperception. [5] If it was widespread and/or serious enough for him to lose his job over it, rather than simply refute or ignore it, I think it is certainly worthy of inclusion here.

I think that the mention should be related to his loss of the position which is currently in an earlier section. Incidentally I believe that portion is now inaccurate. It says 2001 but I believe that it was 2002. It also says that he lost the whole portfolio but he only lost responsibility for the Middle East.

Perhaps the accusations of anti-Israel bias and anti-semitism should be more clearly split. Several people did accuse him of anti-Israel bias openly. For example Bob Rae in his famous "Parting Company with the NDP" letter which followed Robinson's MidEast visit. During the visit Robinson also made his "taking sides" in which he said that he was biased insofar as he was taking sides "with the opressed over the opressor". The anti-semitism portion is clearly more tenuous but after reviewing his comments from the time, I think it warrants some inclusion.

category addition: opposition to freedom of speech[edit]

Since Robinson sponsored an amendment to Canada's hate crimes law that includes the speaking of any form of objection to homosexual behaviour, with what a considerable number of opponents of the amendment believe to be insufficient safeguards for those who speak from conscience and without malice, Robinson qualifies (from the same subjective POV that justifies "LGBT rights opposition" labels for both James Dobson and Fred Phelps) as an opponent of free speech. He claimed, before it was passed, that his amendment would not suppress conscientious objection, but that remains to be tested, and he ought to be subpoenaed to testify in court on behalf of a defendant who is accused of "hate crime". GBC 23:17, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

There is no comparison here: categorizing James Dobson and Fred Phelps as being opposed to LGBT rights is not POV because they would agree to that classification. From the James Dobson article: "He regularly and vigorously decries the gay rights movement and is outspoken about anything that he sees as promoting homosexuality." As for Fred Phelps, his slogan is "God hates fags". Robinson would not agree, and nor would very many people, that he is an "opponent of free speech". That is severely POV. It would be fair to include in the article a neutral discussion of the issue, and note that some religious groups opposed his amendment because they believed it would limit their right to free speech. So I think I'll do just that. Please see my change. It would be worthwhile for you to review the Wikipedia policy on neutrality to get a better understanding of writing from a neutral point of view. (In fact, it is a good idea for all editors to review this article from time to time.) Ground Zero 14:02, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

There is an important distinction between James Dobson and Fred Phelps. Phelps, unfortunately, blatantly disobeys the Great Commandment of the faith he claims to follow, and is heartlessly hateful of homosexuals, doubting they can at all be redeemed. Dobson believes they can be redeemed, and indeed ought to be redeemed. One (Dobson) still loves homosexuals as people made by God in His image, the other (Phelps) writes them off as garbage. If Dobson can be equated with Phelps for a category, then the application of the category is suspect. If Wik will not support a distinction between Phelps' opposition and Dobson's opposition, then Wik is supporting the subjective viewpoint only of those who think "LGBT" are behaviours with an inalienable right to practice, regardless of the negative consequences on society and on the children exposed to the behaviours, and Wik is not supporting the subjective viewpoint of those who recognize Dobson, the CHP, Concerned Women for America and others like them who themselves recognize the hazards to children and to the homosexuals themselves of practicing the behaviour. Are we going to categorize cancer societies, MADD, SADD, Al-Anon and such as organizations as "Smokers/Alcohol Consumers' Rights opposition"? Of course not; smoking and alcohol consumption can be unhealthy; homosexual behaviour has also been medically demonstrated as unhealthy, and people who oppose its promotion or "normalization" are acting in concern for those who could be harmed by such behaviour if "LGBT" rights are promoted.

If Wik is going to support only one subjective viewpoint when categories are decided, then Wik is going to be biased. It must support all subjective viewpoints or none at all. GBC 00:13, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Putting James Dobson and Fred Phelps into the same category on Wikipedia does not imply that they think alike on all issues, only that they both oppose LGBT rights, which is a statement with which I am pretty sure they would not disagree. Categorization does not "equate" them in any way. Scott Brison (former Tory now right-wing Liberal) is in the same LGBT politician category as Robinson (a socialist), even though they clearly have widely different political perspectives, especially on economic issues. The distinction between Dobson and Phelps' opposition to LGBT rights is made clear in their respective articles, so I am not sure how you can say that "Wik will not support a distinction between Phelps' opposition and Dobson's opposition". Re-read the articles and I think you will see that there is a clear difference. If you think that their positions should be elaborated as you've set out, then I encourage you to edit the articles to clarify their positions.

I do not accept your comparison between homosexuality and alcohol/tobacco abuse. There is scientific evidence that alcohol and tobacco consumption are medically unhealthy, and this is supported by public health organizations like Health Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control. It is easy to find information about the hazards of tobacco and alcohol abuse on their websites.

"homosexual behaviour has also been medically demonstrated as unhealthy, and people who oppose its promotion or "normalization" are acting in concern for those who could be harmed by such behaviour if "LGBT" rights are promoted."

This contention is not supported by public health organizations, like Health Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control, so the comparison is not valid. That is an opinion, and a very contentious one at that.

Wikipedia does not aim to "support all subjective viewpoints", but aims to achieve, to the extent possible, a neutral point of view. I recommend again that you review that article. Regards, Ground Zero 16:50, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Two Pictures?[edit]

Is there any way we could get two pictures of Svend in the article (or maybe more) ? I was just thinking, would be nice to see him from a different angle or something.

Three revert rule[edit]

Our anonymous contributor has already reverted this article five times in the space of 24 hours. This is a violation of the Wikipedia:Three revert rule. I'm certain that someone else will revert the page shortly; if the anon continues to return his edits after this takes place, I will ban him/her for 24 hours. CJCurrie 19:43, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

How much did he steal[edit]

I see 21,000 listed here. I read in the news reports $64,000. I heard on the radio "over $50,000"

So why does the artilce here minimize how much Svend Robinson got caught stealing? (anon)

The "news reports" and radio show you heard are wrong. According to this week's Maclean's Magazine (the one with the front cover calling for Robinson to be defeated) the RCMP appraised the ring at $21,000.Homey 03:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

No, the reports are correct. Here is a CTV report [6] As you can see there are two estimates: 64K and 21K. 64K was the value placed by the auction house and so was the value that SR saw before he stole the ring. Either both numbers are relevant or neither is.


I note with some interest that the assertion Although faced with homophobia from some members of the House of Commons over the years, he has been followed by other gay and lesbian politicians in Parliament has formed part of this article from the very beginning. I think this needs to be substantiated or else should be changed . Is there a source for parliamentary homophobia in Svend's early years? Eusebeus 16:09, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

It isn't in his early years but perhaps topical. Robinson accused Harper of homophobia and called him a scumbag after the picture in "wonderful places" exchange. That was in Robinson's last term however. --JGGardiner 06:15, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I've removed the reference to parliamentary homophobia. If it is reinserted, the editor needs to provide specific references to substantiate the claim; I couldn't find any. Eusebeus 06:31, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Robinson confesses?[edit]

I remember watching multiple TV reports about how the RCMP had already been notified by the auction house, and actually had attempted to contact him, before his "confession". A Burnaby jeweler had also publically acknowledged that he was shopping for a diamond ring 48 hours before he "snapped" and took the ring, and he looked fine (google for svend robinson, I know of 1-2 articles under globe and mail). I think that claiming that he confessed is a bit much. If someone could provide the reference on how the RCMP had attempted to contact him, it would be much more likely that he already knew the cops are on him, and he's better off confessing to a theft over $5000 than having the cops take him in for it. 07:09, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

"White Swan"[edit]

As I recall, that's the translation of the Haida name given him at the Lyell Island protests; need a confirmatin/cite for that (and ideally the Haida language original name) to put on the Lyell Island article, where my mention of it has been asked for a citation. Anyone here able to help?Skookum1 (talk) 21:18, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

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