In January, during the week before Canada’s federal hearing on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, the Harper government and Ethical Oil Institute launched an unprecedented attack on environmental organizations opposed to the pipeline and accelerated expansion of the tar sands. Resurrecting Cold War-style ‘terrorist’ rhetoric, conservative politicians like Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver referred to prominent environmental organizations as “radical groups” threatening “to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda” while using “funding from foreign special interests groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”
The Canadian Federal government’s new counter-terrorism strategy has been ruffling feathers in the environmental community since it was released by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews on February 9.
The report says that the Federal government will be vigilant against domestic extremism “based on grievances – real or perceived – revolving around the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism.”
Admittedly, Blake Bromely and Syed Hussan are right to complain that the media coverage has been swamped with the report’s single mention of environmentalism, largely overshadowing concerns around the document’s actual emphasis: the threat of “violent Islamist extremism.”
However, the characterization of the environmental grievances of Canadian citizens as extremist and somehow akin to the violent, hate-based ‘white supremacist’ ideology is not something that Canadians can or should take lightly.