- Lana Payne writes that Canadians care plenty about the well-being of hungry children even if the Cons don't:
After a firestorm of shocked responses from Canadians, Mr. Moore apologized for his “insensitive comment” uttered days before Christmas. What he did not apologize for or reassess was his belief in the kind of fend-for-yourself country his remarks support.- PressProgress highlights the unregulated growth of the tar sands and other closely-related industries - including a massive increase in private air traffic. Terry Glavin suggests that there's only one right answer for the Harper Cons in making the final call on the Norther Gateway pipeline. And Stephen Hume isn't buying the Cons' attempts to demonize all opposition to it:
The apology came likely because this is the season of goodwill and it is no time to remind Canadians what drives the current federal government, begging the question of why it is tolerated any time of the year.
Yet despite the outrage, despite their unending troubles, this government marches on towards its goal of building a country where we no longer truly care about the plight of our neighbours.
[The Conservatives are making] an argument that non-governmental organizations vowing to stop the proposed project following its approval by the National Energy Board — subject to more than 200 conditions — are somehow undermining the democratic process through intimidation, threats of violent protest, political sabotage, slander and disinformation.- Meanwhile, Mike de Souza reports that having eliminated any environmental protection for nearly all of Canada's fisheries and waterways, the Cons are now slashing funding for what few water protection programs were left - even though the department itself has made clear that it needs more resources rather than less.
This is all code. It is intended to define a category to which those who think the pipeline is a bad idea can be routinely consigned. Thus, opposition may be dismissed without assessing the merits of the objections — simply opposing the pipeline invites automatic framing of that protest as the work of enemies of the Canadian way of life.
British Columbians have heard all this rhetoric before. It is a propaganda strategy devised by giant public relations firms. It was first deployed here more than 20 years ago by the forest industry in response to protest and civil disobedience aimed at preventing the denuding of great swaths of the province with vast industrial clearcuts.
A word to the enthusiasts for this approach: It didn’t work in the early 1990s; it won’t work now.
- Finally, Robin Sears comments on how a scandal-filled year in politics may serve to undermine trust in our political institutions. (Though the sad reality is that the politicians most responsible for that loss of trust are exactly the ones whose ideology might benefit from public antipathy toward politics.)
[Edit: added link.]