Source: True North / Clayton Demaine

Rebel News hosted the first Rumble Live event this Friday near Downsview Park in Toronto, Ont., featuring prominent guests such as Donald Trump Jr.

The event was held to protest Canada’s latest censorship bill, C-63, and promote exclusive shows on the free-speech-oriented video platform, including Trump Jr.’s “Triggered.”

In addition to Trump Jr. speaking, award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and Canadian lawyer David Freiheit or Viva Frei, and the regular Rebel News cast, were also guest speakers.

Source: True North / Clayton Demaine

The speakers at the event targeted the Online Harms Act, which they collectively agreed is a dire threat to freedom of speech in a democratic society. 

Prior to the event starting, local MP and Liberal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya’ara Saks took to X and condemned the event.

She accused Rebel News, a Jewish-owned outlet, of espousing “hateful and extremist” views, islamophobia and antisemitism on X.

“While I am a strong supporter of the right to free speech, let me be clear that the vile views espoused by Rebel News are not welcome in York Centre, nor do its residents support them,” Saks said. “They claim to support the Jewish people but traffic in the Great Replacement and Soros conspiracies – antisemitism by any other name.”

After letting the public know where the event was, she urged police to ensure the safety of those in attendance.

“While I deplore that this conference is taking place, I urge Toronto’s police to take steps to keep all participants safe.”

Ten uniformed police officers and 18 private security workers were in attendance after Saks’ concerns were raised.

No protesters attended the event, but Ezra Levant, the founder of Rebel, told True North at the event that the Canada Lands Company, who controls the land where the private venue is, demanded the venue and event organizers pay for the police, security, port-a-potties and barriers, which was now required for the event to continue.

Though run by a private venue, the government owns the land as it used to be a military base.

“At the last minute, (CLC) made an extortion demand for nearly $50,000 worth of extra security for all the protesters they said, were going to come,” Levant said. “Of course, there’s not a single protester here. There wouldn’t be. We’ve never had protesters in nine years of having these events.”

According to Levant, Allen Schacht, CLC’s senior property manager, was their primary contact for the “extortion.”

“(CLC) demanded that we provide barriers for hundreds of protesters they claimed were coming. We had to provide security for them, too,” Ezra wrote in an article on Rebel News. “And Bizarrely – they demanded we pay for portable toilets for those imaginary protesters, too.”

The venue was away from residential or commercial areas, with little traffic; prospective protesters would have to go out of their way to stand outside the building.

Rumble decided “the show must go on” and foot the bill, continuing with the significant security presence.

“I’m grateful to (Rumble) in a way, but I am also appalled that the Government of Canada extorted nearly $50,000 from an event because we’re conservative and Donald Trump Jr. was involved,” Levant said to True North. “I think it’s a disgrace to Canada. I believe that the Canada Land Company should return the funding.”

“I have no beef with the individual officers. But we were told if we didn’t pay for them (the event couldn’t happen,)” he said. “Why do we have to? Since when do you have to pay for police?”

CLC did not respond to True North’s emails by the deadline.