It’s a no brainer: I’m an extremist

By Dave Coles    www.cep.ca

It doesn’t surprise me that the Harper government has resorted to name-calling to cover up its lack of an economic and environmental strategy to develop the bitumen sands.

Last week we were told we had no brains, and this week we are extremists.

If a Minister of the Crown considers people who protest peacefully as part of an act of conscience on behalf of workers and future generations, “extremists”, then call me one anytime.

The real problem here is that unions, environmentalists, First Nations groups and others have exposed a major failing on the part of the Conservative government, and they don’t like it one bit.

The Harper government is not standing up for Canada with an energy strategy that forces the oil industry to create jobs here (instead of in the US) by processing our bitumen in a measured, sustainable way.  It’s a no brainer alright: the good jobs are all in upgrading and refining, and they are all going down to the States along with our raw bitumen. Along the way, the Keystone XL pipeline is causing massive environmental destruction.

What could be simpler to understand?

Yet this statement, for example, by Tory MP David Anderson, parliamentary secretary to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, was widely reported without any explanation.

“Mr. Speaker, the NDP members should stop taking the side of the extremists who want to kill Canadian jobs.”

But that’s the way they do business. Anybody who doesn’t toe the Conservative party line is painted as being anti-Canadian, not very bright, or working in their own self-interest.  They do this with the help of their right-wing media friends who are only too happy to do their bidding.

Conservative MP Jason Kenney picked up the cue and also described protesters as “extremists” in a post on his Twitter account.

The more we expose the Harper government’s true colours, the more they are scrambling to spin the story.  We’ve got them on the defensive. Let’s keep it up.

Canadians need to have an intelligent discussion, based on the facts, about our future.

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