In Alberta, with Jason Kenney's new government, if you dare to dissent from his view of the tar sands or the energy sector, you will be faced with a well-financed ‘war room’ smear campagin, funded largely by taxpayers' dollars, to discredit you and your message.
by Larry Brown, NUPGE President
I just googled ‘the right to dissent in a democracy.’ This is the first thing that popped up: “The right to dissent is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, but rather is a civil right that arises out of how we understand good citizenship and thriving democracy. Dissent allows for a proliferation of views on the good life. ... It keeps democracy vibrant.”
Of course, our Constitution does protect the right to freedom of speech. And it’s kind of hard to figure out how we can have freedom of speech if we can’t use that freedom to criticize government actions — or the actions of corporations.
But in Alberta, with Jason Kenney's new government, if you dare to dissent from his view of the tar sands or the energy sector, you will be faced with a well-financed ‘war room’ smear campaign, funded largely by taxpayers' dollars, to discredit you and your message.
The full budget of this monstrosity is to be $30 million dollars.
The premier has said government staff will be tasked with responding quickly to what he calls "myths and lies." Who will decide if dissenting views are in fact ‘myths and lies’? President Trump...oops, sorry, that should read Jason Kenney.
The Premier has also promised to fund lawsuits against offending environmentalists and has called a public inquiry into the role of money from U.S. foundations. He has already appointed a forensic auditor to probe this question.
(A small hint for Mr. Kenney — you could save yourself a ton of money by simply looking at the public accounts of environmental groups as to where they get their money. It’s no secret and the amount coming from evil foreigners is tiny.)
Now, the truth is that most of Canada’s oil is not actually owned by Canada — it is owned by multinational companies headquartered elsewhere. So if these foreign companies spend some of their profits boosting the public perception of the tar sands — doesn’t that mean that foreign money is being spent to support the energy industry?
Why is it that foreign money is good if it’s spent on one side of the debate, but bad if it’s spent on the other side? I guess that should be obvious by now: agree with Kenney and you're safe, disagree with him and you're in for it.
This sort of ignorant buffoonery would be funny if it wasn’t so fundamentally undemocratic.
In the US, President Trump calls news reporters 'enemies of the people' if they report things he disagrees with. That is dangerous totalitarian nonsense.
But now in Alberta, Jason Kenney is effectively calling environmentalists enemies of the people and he plans to spend millions attacking them.
Can you see the difference?
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE