McCarthyism, Canadian Style

In Tuesday’s Huffington Post Cameron Fenton, National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, wrote an excellent article about the Harper government’s hounding of environmentalists and First Nations opposed to the Northern Gateway Pipeline. In Harper Government Can’t See the Forest For the Trees, Mr. Fenton starts off by describing a repetitive nightmare he is having these days (and he’s not alone):

The light in the hearing room is bright, hot and pointed right at me. The heat is suffocating, and I am visibly sweaty, the senator leans over, taps his microphone and begins to read questions from a typed sheet.

“Mr. Fenton, Have you ever donated to or been a member of the Sierra Club of Canada?”

“Do you own a book or books written by Dr. David Suzuki?”

“Did you or did you not write blog posts that were critical of the oilsands?”

That’s usually about the time I wake up, but instead of relief that my nightmare is over, I make the mistake of turning on the radio or picking up the paper to find my speculative fiction becoming more and more real.

Environmental groups in Canada are in the crosshairs of the government, not simply under investigation for fiscal mismanagement, but the targets of criminalization, misinformation and a smear campaign.

Most recently, Canada’s environment minister started to use the term “money laundering” to criminalize the acceptance of foreign funding by Canadian organizations.

At first I was taken aback by this, but the more I think about it, it’s a great idea. If you will permit me to change metaphors for a moment, it’s high time that we find our own Elliot Ness and unleash a Canadian team of Untouchables to root out this corruption, to find those charitable groups using foreign money, to hijack our legislative processes and hold my generation’s future hostage.

Let’s start with the Fraser Institute.

A recent investigation by the Vancouver Observer showed that the Fraser Institute received half a million dollars from the U.S.- based Koch Foundation. As the philanthropic arm of Tea Party darlings and fossil fuel industry billionaires Charles and David Koch, this foundation has been linked across the globe to campaigns that promote climate denial, lobby against clean energy legislation and stand in the way of global progress on curbing emissions. To read the full article, click here.



More links:

RCMP spied on B.C. natives protesting pipeline plan, documents show

Government Pipeline Rhetoric Reminiscent of Cold War, McCarthyism: Prof

Suzuki Quit Foundation Over Fed ‘Bullying’

If you’re Canadian, you can go to the Lead Now site to sign a petition against the Conservative government’s rush to push through the omnibus budget bill that would strip our environmental protections, silence our environmental watchdogs, and damage our economy: click here.  Or better yet, call your Member of Parliament and tell them enough is enough.

0 thoughts on “McCarthyism, Canadian Style”

  1. Those conservatives. You have to give them credit: they are doing a great job of “divide and conquer”, setting the Canadians against the environmentalists that are trying to protect them.

    Unfortunately, their behaviour is putting the health of Canadians at risk. Not to mention that we have no plan to address climate change and no policy that describes how we are suppose to power our country. 2015 can’t come soon enough.

  2. It’s a critical time for our democracy and our climate – I’m really pleased to meet another Canadian who is speaking out about the importance of conserving clean air, clean water, and a stable climate (now that’s a real conservative!)

      • Unfortunately, it seems to mean “support the corporations at all costs, and oppose progress”. If you haven’t read George Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of An Elephant” yet, JP, I would highly recommend it. It’s not a large tome but it’s very enlightening. Lakoff is a linguist who looks at the language the neocons in the U.S. (and now Canada, ala Harper) have used to change the tone of the public conversation on important issues. While the majority of people in both countries are progressive, the Republicans (and now Harperites) have successfully dominated the public discourse and slanted it in their (corporate, anti-democratic) direction. He doesn’t just analyze it, he offers suggestions for countering it. A must-read for progressive Canadians, to understand why Harper and his minions have gotten as far as they have, and how to stop them.

        • Sounds like an interesting read. I’ve put it on my “to do” list. Thank you. First I have to finish “Storms of My Grandchildren” by James Hansen. A must read for anyone concerned (or “on the fence”) about climate change.

  3. Yes, Dr Hansen is amazing. He spoke at last year’s annual Citizens Climate Lobby mtg in Washington, and has endorsed CCL, most recently at the Keystone XL pipeline protests last year: “Most impressive is the work of the Citizens Climate Lobby, a relatively new, fastgrowing, nonpartisan, nonprofit group with 35 chapters across the United States and Canada. If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.”
    Let me know if you’d like more info after you’ve finished Storms of my Grandchildren.


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