Don't Reinforce Political Weasel Words

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 26, 2009

In today's editorial on the Liberal musings about triggering an election over the Conservative Government's inadequate EI reforms, Spectator editor Howard Elliot writes, "partnering with separatists to force an election would be political suicide."

This is unfortunate. Newspaper editors, of all people, must resist the convenience of adopting - and hence reinforcing - the insincere, politically expedient Rovian weasel words of a given partisan ideology.

The Conservative Government used the pejorative "socialists and separatists" aggressively and indiscriminately in their full-spectrum propaganda assault against last December's proposed coalition between the Liberals and the NDP, supported by the Bloc Quebecois. The purpose - to de-legitimize the Liberals by association with radical and insufficiently patriotic fringe parties - was an irresponsible and grave insult to Canada's Parliamentary system of government.

The Bloc MPs, like the NDP MPs, were elected democratically to represent their ridings, and they are all legitimate members of Parliament. No government can operate legitimately without the confidence of the House - and that includes MPs of all political stripes.

Pigeonholing and vilifying a given party with catchy insults merely cheapens the overall political discourse and lends succor to those who stand to gain from the disgust and disengagement of concerned citizens.

Finally, the rank hypocrisy of the Conservatives went on full display when, after decrying the Liberals for agreeing to cooperate with the NDP and the Bloc, the Harper government responded to the resurgence of the Liberals in national polls by a carefully crafted campaign to ... cooperate with the NDP and the Bloc and avoid losing a confidence motion.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By z jones (registered) | Posted May 26, 2009 at 19:18:59

Really, do you expect any better from the Speculator?

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By Don't listen to weasel words (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2009 at 19:34:07

I just read an article in which those who are activists in the community for change maybe deemed as criminals. The powers that be, are manipulating hate laws, to suit their purpose, which of course is ridiculous.

I mean really why should people just believe or agree with what a mainstream editor's opinions maybe.

There was a time when the people could rely on the mainstream media as being objective but in today's world, I do not believe it so anymore. The editors are controlled by a corporate entity, thus they follow what message the corporation wants and not what their true individual feelings may be.

The more the system tries to divide people, the more the people should resist and join together in a common cause to create unity, co-hesiveness, to understand each others views and concerns, to work together for the betterment of all.

Anyways in the last federal election, the person that was running for the conservatives in my area kept saying "Mr Harper says", and not once did this person have a free thought of their own.

The one person running in my area who was from a "fringe" party seem to me that they would of been the best fighter for the people of this city, this person was a breathe of fresh air, in terms of standing up for those, the workers, across this city who are struggling and have lost jobs. Their words were the reality for many in this city and not the dribble that came from like someone who ran for the liberals, who was more focused on themselves and not the people, the workers that struggle.

Those that do not want reform for EI, are not the ones that have not lost jobs, that have been denied access to EI and forced onto welfare. Understand this people, if you cannot get access to EI and are forced onto welfare and lets say you get an chance for an interview say in Burlington or Oakville for a job, you will probably most likely not have the bus fare to get there because the amounts received on welfare do not even cover shelter, never mind food or transporatation, you will have either or both the welfare worker or the employment councillor telling you to walk. This is the reality for people in this city struggling to find work where these workers who have position of authority, abuse and violate people's basic human rights.

There must be change, when people can no longer live a life with dignity and compassion, due to circumstances beyond one's control.

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By Chris Angel (registered) | Posted May 30, 2009 at 21:32:32

I think that cuts both ways. Would you say the same thing Ryan if some conservative was being viliified or dismissed as a racist sexist homophobic neo nazi with the IQ of an amoeba and a double widetrailer full of unregistered automatic weapons?

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