22 February 2015

Where is the outrage about the RCMP's witch-hunt?

At one time I instinctively assumed that government agencies were apolitical, servants of the people, not the servants of any particular philosophy or party. That, it increasingly seems, was the good old days. Recently I, like many others, have the distinct impression that the Canada Revenue Agency, for example, is serving the political interests of the Conservative government. Its focus on auditing environmental groups and other progressive organizations has come to seem more than coincidental.

Now I am getting the same impression about the RCMP. I knew that the government had been gathering intelligence on environmentalists and sharing it with the oil industry, but it's the recent RCMP's report on environmentalists that suggested to me that it, too, has been co-opted.

The report shamelessly promotes the oil industry while stating that environmentalists “claim” climate change is the most serious environmental threat and “claim” it is a result of human activity. The report echoes Finance Minister Joe Oliver's accusations that environmental groups are foreign-funded and undermine the country's interests by opposing the use of fossil fuels. It coins the phrase "anti-Canada petroleum movement" and repeats it endlessly in high propaganda fashion.

The first, and obvious, question is what the hell is the RCMP doing compiling a report on the environmental movement? Environmental organizations are reputable groups and environmentalists are respectable citizens. Indeed, in seeking to protect the environment, they are doing what is perhaps the noblest work a citizen can do in this modern age.

Certainly an environmentalist may go rogue and commit a serious offence (as the occasional member of police forces has been known to do), and this the RCMP must investigate. But this is rare indeed. If environmentalists commit unlawful activity it usually consists of nothing more than standing in front of a logging truck or a bulldozer. This comprehensive investigation by the national police force is a slander on respectable citizens—an outrage against civil society.

We seem to discern a troika here: the government, the oil industry and the police and spy agencies. Combined with Bill-C51, the RCMP's behaviour is ominous indeed.


  1. Bill, when Stephen Harper, upon ascending to power, severed the public's and media's access to the public service, even the armed forces, it transformed all those departments into his partisan, political agencies. It's a classic trait of illiberal democracy.

    Harper came to power with a leg up from then commissioner, Zaccardelli who smeared Ralph Goodale in mid-election and later refused to account for his actions.

    After Zaccardelli got booted for lying to a parliamentary committee, who did Harper appoint? A civilian - my old classmate and veteran Tory backroom operator, Bill Elliott. It was on Elliott's watch that convicted fraudster Bruce Carson ducked a security check and was allowed into the Harper PMO.

    After Elliott got pulled (apparently a mutiny was in the offing), in comes Hank Paulson. Paulson's role as a Harper operative is suggested by his handling of the Duffy affair. Paulson initially tried to put a lid on it which we know from his e-mail, leaked to CBC, prohibiting his senior officers from having any contact with opposition MPs and Senators without Paulson's express authorization. Then there's the utterly bizarre situation in which Duffy is charged with accepting a bribe while the individual who gave Duffy the bribe is proclaimed to have done no wrong.

    We now have a secret police agency staffed by officers of the RCMP, Edmonton and Calgary police, CSIS and Canadian Border Services to monitor and track those opposed to Harper's bitumen trafficking schemes. It seems to bear some resemblance to East Germany's infamous STASI. Wait till C-51 gets rammed through.

  2. The question to ask in the coming election "who will repeal HARPERLAW?"