Right-wing fringe newspaper is appearing on doorsteps across the Maritimes

'The last thing we need is this landing in Canadians’ mailboxes,' says MP Lenore Zann

This story contains a correction

Sarah Jeffers sat down and cried after opening her mailbox on Tuesday morning. Inside was an unfamiliar newspaper, filled with what she described as racism and hate.

The publication, the Epoch Times, featured a front page splashed with anti-China rhetoric. The paper is known for promoting pro-Trump rhetoric and disseminating conspiracy theories about QAnon and vaccine misinformation.

Jeffers was shocked to see it delivered to her home in Truro, N.S.

“This was something that was indiscriminately dropped in everybody’s mailbox. It didn’t matter who you were, it didn’t matter what background you came from,” she said in an interview. “And my heart broke for anyone that was Asian in my community, or friends that I had in other parts of Canada that would have received that.”

The newspaper — advertised as a free sample — is making its way through Atlantic Canada this week. The Signal has heard from residents in Truro and Chester in Nova Scotia, and in Newfoundland and Labrador who have received the publication.

There are reports of the newspaper being delivered in Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and P.E.I.

The Epoch Times website reads, “Every penny of your subscription cost helps us deliver truth and tradition — our motto — to every Canadian.”

“Obviously this is a well funded paper,” Jeffers said, noting there are no advertisements inside the newspaper.

“I wonder how much Canada Post is being paid to have this sent out.”

Complaints to MPs

Jeffers’ representative in Parliament, Cumberland-Colchester MP Lenore Zann, said she’s heard complaints from Nova Scotians about the newspaper.

“The last thing we need is this landing in Canadians’ mailboxes,” Zann said.

Zann said she contacted the office of MP Anita Anand earlier this week. As minister of public services and procurement, Anand is responsible for Canada Post.

Zann said according to Anand’s office, the newspaper is being distributed countrywide and that MP offices have received a number of complaints about it this week. A statement to Zann, which was forwarded to The Signal, said Anand has requested that her officials look into the matter further.

“It’s also worth noting that Canadian Post operated independently,” the statement reads.

Zann said the publication “absolutely” has the power to influence thought, politics and opinion.

Kurt Phillips, founder of Anti-Racist Canada and a current member of the board of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said the Epoch Times “is one of the few examples of right-wing extremist propaganda that really frightens me.”

He is concerned about the “echo chambers” circulating around hate groups, whose extremist views are being propped up by propaganda disguised as a newspaper.

Article in the Epoch Times claims “Chinese regime launched a geopolitical masterstroke.” In May 2020, the federal government allowed its distribution to continue throughout Canada.   Photo submitted by Lenore Zann.

This isn’t the first time the publication has made its way to Canada.

Last May, the federal government rejected a request from a Toronto postal workers’ union and ordered Canada Post to continue its circulation of Epoch after deciding it didn’t reach the criminal threshold for hate speech, the CBC reported.

The office of the minister of public services and procurement said in the statement sent on Thursday that “after an initial legal assessment of [Epoch Times] material, it does not appear to meet the required criteria for prohibiting distribution.”

It is unclear when the legal assessment was done.

Canada Post has a legal obligation to deliver all neighbourhood mail, according to the Canada Post Corporation Act.

Anybody with a business customer number who’s registered with Canada Post on its website can use neighbourhood mailers, a tool commonly used in campaigns and flyers. It offers to send “direct mail to every mailbox in Canada,” Canada Post says on its site.

Media literacy to combat propaganda

Kurt Phillips said Epoch Times is “dangerous because it physically looks like journalism on the surface.” That’s why media literacy is so important, he added.

As a junior and senior high school teacher in Alberta, he said he discusses media literacy with his students to encourage critical thinking and to trust news stories that are backed by more than one publication.

“Why do you think it’s presenting this message in the way that it is?” Phillips said he asks his students. “What is a reliable website to get information from and what makes it reliable?”

Drew Garvie, the Ontario leader of the Communist Party of Canada, said he believes the Epoch Times does violate speech laws and notes that conspiracy theories around COVID-19 have resulted in an increase in violence against people of Chinese origin in the country.

Project 1907, a grassroots organization that aims to elevate Asian voices, found that over 600 incidents of anti-Asian racism had been reported since the onset of COVID-19 in April into September. The report states that “Canada has a higher number of anti-Asian racism reports per capita than the United States.”

Garvie wants the mailouts to stop.

“I think it’s dangerous that the government is dismissing this,” he said.

“This is a paper that’s filled with conspiracy theories,” he said. “Do your own research and don’t accept that just because it comes in the mail and looks like a newspaper, it doesn’t mean it’s not filled with lies.”

The Epoch Times did not respond to an interview request.

Correction: Jan. 15, 2021: An earlier version of this story misstated Kurt Phillips' role with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

Brooklyn Connolly

Brooklyn Connolly

Brooklyn is a journalist based in Halifax, N.S. She's passionate about all things health, policy, and education. Her work has been seen in the CBC, the Guardian (US), and the Coast, among others.

Stephen Wentzell

Stephen Wentzell

Stephen Wentzell is an ambitious and resilient investigative writer from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has been a journalist for a third of his life. He is interested in covering municipal and provincial politics, the climate crisis, and housing issues. An avid wrestling fan and cat dad to Benson and Pazuzu, Stephen hopes to relocate to the United States after graduating to pursue a career in political reporting.

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  1. Seems to be a heavy overlap among commenters here with fans of the National Pest.
    Also, luckily, some who don’t like right-wing journalism, however glitzily displayed.

    Some recent articles have exposed ET’s agenda. Worth looking up.

    1. We are not far right. We haven’t moved or changed our views. We still believe in personal responsibility integrity and moral values. YOU on your he other hand have become radically fascist far left. Heil Trudeau!

  2. Be CarefulThe deceptions re simple. Present a piece of supposedly factual material. Then apply your version of twisted logic to apply. This is what I got from reading the Epoch Times. The frightening part is that those good people in our society not educated to the point of being able to discern this and other aspects of a largely opinionated paper can get caught up in the deception. Since this paper is a Trump supporter I would guess those who attacked the capital were all major subscribers. Just a thought…….. The deceptions are simple. Presnt a

  3. How can an article by John Robson be in a current publication, if he passed away ?
    This alone leads me to believe it’s not a true story.

  4. Epoch Times was established by an asian american person for people being persecuted by the Chinese Communist party, not some white supremacist. That’s not racist, that’s people of the same race with differing moral/political views.
    They also defend many minority groups in China that don’t have a voice thanks to the communist regimes state run media from what I’m seeing here on good ol’ google. I’m not taking any sides here at all, nor do I read the epoch times, but calling for the suppression of opposing views doesn’t help the situation at all. Infact, it’s just an attempt to reinforce your own echo chamber on others in a way. Judging by history, we should be careful when calling for the stifling of speech, that can always come back to bite us. I don’t want my media to look the one sided stuff you see in North Korea.

    1. Thank you for setting the record straight. WOKE people going after a paper that was started to help the imprisoned in a communist country. University is FAILING to educate

    2. I am calling for it to be silenced. I am calling for the drivel to stop arriving in my mailbox. When it does show up it goes straight to lining the kitty litter pan. They are ONLY contributing to more garbage in the environment, both physical and literary.

  5. The CBC, a tax payer funded media source which I feel is Left Wing. CBC garbage ends up on my social media feed every day, I don’t cry and I most certainly don’t call my MP, they have far larger fish to fry. Screaming racism over articles about communist China speaks volumes about the ignorance here. Also, the maritimes supports Frank Magazine, a life destroying rumour mill that does zero fact checking. I suggest, that anyone who does not want to read or subscribe to the Epoc Times, don’t. Simple.

  6. Extremist views (left or right, as you choose only to berate one side) wouldn’t rise up in alternate media so readily if mainstream media wasn’t so selfcentered and opinionated. Rather than unbiased reporting via research and actual journalism, media is flooded with talking heads that are only interested in 5 second sound bites, optics, and contrived language. Bits of info are strung together from “experts” to support a “journalist’s” opinion, rather than to allow for the reader to reflect and weigh the information. Instead we are being told what to think. If someone says, “I researched something” it’s now an immediate signal that they must have only read conspiracy theoeies. If someone has an opposing view they are now a right wing fanatic. No room for discussion, for debate, for construct criticism, for critical thinking. You see a paper you don’t agree with and burst into tears and grieve for your asian friends who will be scared for life (my Asian friends are a hell of a lot tougher than that). How is that relevant. PROVE why the paper, the articles are wrong, not disagreeing with your opinion, but wrong.

  7. I did not find it attractive. I did not request it. I do not want to find any more of these in my mail box. There is something just not right about it. There feels to be an underlying tone in it that makes me feel uncomfortable. So perhaps not all is 100 percent in our country and other democracies, so let’s try to be constructive rather than combative.

  8. The Epoch times is anti-communist and pro-traditionalist (both Christian, Confucian and, at times, classical). I am not surprised the head of the Communist Party of Canada is opposed to it (that was an odd inclusion to say the least). Nor am I surprised that it arouses such ire from those who do not share those views (comparable to how some view the CBC or The Star).

    The ‘news’ section is thin (as with most publications today), but respectable (you will find information that is not covered in other publications because of the lens in which it is covered). It does vary in quality (i.e., some stories have less evidentiary support than others), but name a publication that does not?

    It employs what your own publication would call ‘diverse’ (i.e., a variety of skin tones) people. To say it promotes hate is absurd (though they most assuredly reject communism). Have you read it? Any of it?

    I am also a high school teacher. Look at the cover you have pictured in the article – is CPP money being invested in China an issue for Canadians? To what extent should nations invest in illiberal and suppressive nations? Was this covered in other publications? Is it something people should know?

    A robust journalism would appreciate other perspectives. Your article is more akin to agitprop ‘views that go beyond the current zeitgeist are dangerous’.

    I would hope you still cling, as vaguely as you might understand it, to the notion that journalism is to find the truth. Perhaps you can take this as an opportunity to examine your own biases, and not just quote people who are angry about the promulgation of views they do not share. Truth and Tradition are, after all, important in your line of work as well.

    1. Its unfortunate that Kings College, a respectable College who in past has always promoted alternative views, chose to headline the article “Right Wing”. Just goes to show how the left has indoctrinated our Universities and Colleges. I had a friend tell me their kids are not going to College or University to go into debt while being forced to subscribe to far left ideology. I felt sad. When I went to University years ago, debate, dialogue, differences were promoted. I guess Right Wing now means “Truth” and that is no longer respected.

  9. An issue of this racist, hate-filled rag appeared in our mailbox today. QAnon-level nuttery. What do I need to do to ensure it never happens again? Any suggestions?

    And to the sock-puppet accounts here defending this filthy garbage “newspaper,” here is an “alternate view” you’re welcome to absorb: Go jump in a lake.

    1. Just call up Canada Post and have your flyers cancelled, any Post without your direct address can be cancelled for life.

  10. Perfect liner for a litter box. I especially liked the article about male chivalry. Shredded within seconds

  11. The Epoch Times is ran by Asian people: the Falun Gong. So I’m not sure why her “heart broke for anyone that was Asian in my community”. Are all Asian people in her community supposed to think like she does? Are none of them Falun Gong, or people who agree with Falun Gong?

    1. Asian people know well the anti-Chinese prejudice they experience, especially since the Orange Monster shortly leaving the White House persists in spouting about ‘the Chinese virus.’ As amply displayed in Washington on January 6, a lot of right-wingers don’t make respectful distinctions among facts and people.

  12. It’s important for people to be aware of what media they absorb- in my view this article explaining Epoch Times is fine. Like it or not, some folks wouldn’t question the material, consider sources etc.. We should be aware enough to check up on what’s presented as fact/ opinion/ fiction … these days those lines can be quite blurred and muddied.

    1. Do you check the sources, I have and they are using proper sources, unlike the left CBC that does a ton of opinion posts. When I was in University, citing anything presented to others had to be cited and backed up. I learned opinions are not worth much, you can have them, but when you are discussing something that effects the lives of others, you better know what you are talking about. I would like you to show an article from the Epoc Times that is based on ONLY opinion.

  13. I certainly cannot understand why people get so angry? it is an alternate view which is OK with me and Sarah Jeffers that is mentioned in the article should put on her Big Girl pants prior to getting her mail or bring a box of Kleenex with her, just another bit of sensationalism so if I see someone crying in the post office I will assume they received a copy- Does anyone remember the saying “Freedom of Speach”

    1. Your confusing Canada with the States, we don’t have freedom of speech laws in Canada. We don’t have Freedom of Speech. We do have hate speech laws and rightfully so.

      1. Canada has Freedom of Expression. It is what allows alternate opinions, ideas, thoughts, art, dance to be expresses without censorship. It allows nudes to be hung in art galleries, signs to be posted in many languages, and newspapers or ad flyers to be deliveted to your doorstep. It is the reason I love Canada and will stand up for others Freedom of Expression.

  14. So essentially, if you didn’t write it, it’s extreme right wing hate? Just to let you know, I wouldn’t buy anything from CBC, Times and Transcript or any other main stream media if they were selling the weather. It’s about time we get real news from alternate sources.

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