Judi Ann T. McLeod (born 1944) is a Canadian journalist who operates the conservative Canadian website, Canada Free Press (CFP),[2] which publishes news stories, features, and editorials. The main page of the website uses the title "Canada Free Press ...Because without America there is no Free World" and features a "Countdown until Obama leaves Office" (capitalization in the original).

Early life and career

McLeod was born in Prince Edward Island and raised in St. Joseph's Orphanage in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her first article was published in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald when she was 18.

Early career controversy

McLeod worked as a city-hall reporter in the Greater Toronto Area for the Brampton Times in 1981, where her husband was the managing editor.

When she was removed from her beat in 1983, she alleged that conservatives she had accused of meddling in local politics had put pressure on the newspaper. When her husband reinstated her to the position, the newspaper fired them both. The Globe and Mail reported that Canada's multiculturalism minister, Liberal MP James Fleming, was investigating McLeod's removal. Fleming believed the reassignment amounted to intimidation of a reporter doing her job. The Ontario Federation of Labour protested on McLeod's behalf against what they called political intervention. Days after being fired, McLeod won the Edward J. Hayes Memorial Ontario award for beat-reporting. Broadcast journalist and panelist Peter Desbarats called her coverage the best of any in 22 Ontario dailies. The McLeods subsequently filed a lawsuit against The Brampton Times for wrongful dismissal, but later withdrew it. Judi McLeod also claimed to have filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission against the Brampton Times.

The work she created in her final year at the Times won the beat category, at the Western Ontario Newspaper Award.[3]

Later employment

She helped found The Bramptonian as a rival to her former employer in 1984 before moving to the Toronto Sun in 1985, where she was the paper's education reporter. Her columns were highly critical of New Democratic Partyschool trustees who dominated the Toronto Board of Education at the time. McLeod also called ethnic parents who wanted heritage language instruction "as diabolical as any of the characters from the imaginative pen of Charles Dickens... a nasty lot indeed," and warned people against "multiculturalism gone haywire."

While still at the Toronto Sun, she voluntarily contributed opinion columns on the topic of education to an interdenominational Christian newspaper called Windows To The Kingdom. With a press run of 30,000 copies, publisher Brian Chiasson arranged for it to be circulated to churches and Christian bookstores throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

After leaving the Sun, she moved to Kingston, Ontario for three years where she worked as a reporter and columnist for the Kingston Whig-Standard, according to the Canada Free Press website.[4] In 1991, she returned to Toronto and founded, with help from Tony O'Donohue, Our Toronto, a right-wing monthly newspaper which focused on the Toronto City Council. In the 2000s, Our Toronto Free Press evolved into the Canada Free Press, which is now published online only.

Areas of interest

In 2005, McLeod and David Hawkins wrote a series of articles on what they described as the United Nations' "radical socialist agenda executed across Intranets and virtual private networks, operated by the self-styled 'Global Custodians'." They alleged links between "$40 trillion hedge funds, via an online portal on the seventy-ninth floor of One World Trade Center, to 'disruptive technologies' developed by Canada for alleged use in the UN Oil-for-Food scam, 9/11 and Kyoto fraud." [2]

Criticism

Conservative writer Kevin Michael Grace has described McLeod's writing as that of an "emotionally incontinent ninth grader," [2] while Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias describes her as "eccentric" and the Canada Free Press as a "whacko news site." [2]

Toronto Life magazine reported that McLeod was harassing city councillorBetty Disero. McLeod had been driving past Disero's home, taking pictures.

McLeod published the home address and photograph of Cathy Crowe, co-founder of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, in the CFP along with what Crowe's lawyer deemed defamatory statements. The lawyer alleged that McLeod was encouraging her readers to harass and even physically attack Crowe.[2] The paper also published the home address of "anti-poverty activist" John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty along with a photograph of the house he was renting.