Canadian Environmentalists: Tree Hugging Terrorists or Just Concerned Citizens?

Super Evil Tree, Shawnimals LLC,

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.

Terrorists aren’t the only serious threat facing Canadians. Whatever your political stripes, the fact remains that the reckless destabilization of our world’s climate will bring about grave consequences for all of us.

For months now, Prime Minister Harper and Conservative cabinet ministers have been parroting Sun News and Ethical Oil’s efforts to paint environmental organizations as American shills, front groups paid for by ominous “foreign special interests” with their dollars set on “hijacking a Canadian process” to “kill jobs.”

So it’s hard to view this latest slight as disconnected from the Federal government’s escalating attacks on citizens and civic organizations with legitimate concerns over the environmental impacts of proposed oil sands developments.

The quote also happens to align remarkably well with Department of Foreign Affairs documents obtained by the Climate Action Network and Greenpeace that detail the Federal government’s joint-PR strategy with the Alberta oil industry - a plan to “turn up the volume” on their promotion of oil sands developments that pits them and their “like-minded allies” against “adversaries” like Canadian “environmental NGOs” and “aboriginal groups.”

Minister Toews insists that the government does not intend to target “legitimate dissent,” but who decides what counts as legitimate?

Minister Joe Oliver made it clear
that he considers any opposition to oil sands developments a radical attempt to undermine the Canadian economy set squarely against the interest of Canadians - irrespective of opinions the public itself might hold about its interests.

Whatever their intention, ratcheting up the rhetoric with gross mischaracterizations can’t but fan the flames of ever less productive political polarization. The Federal government’s attempts to discredit environmental non-profits poses a very real threat to our ability to come together as a nation to tackle tough problems.

What we really need is for our leaders to tone down the invective and settle in for some sensible, respectful public conversations about the many issues Canadians care about.

Photo: Super Evil Tree by Shawnimals


Of course, the real radicals are on Parliament Hill and in the coporate boardrooms promulgating the status quo of fossil fuel dependency, carcinogens in the Athabasca river and increasing atmospheric C02. But it’s the old McCarthy-istic strategy of whipping up public hysteria against anyone who disagrees with the agenda of those in power. Instead of the ‘red scare’ of the 1950s, we now have the ‘green scare’.


I think they have to attack the green groups simply because they are the only ones able to mount any sort of organized opposition.

And we know how Conservatives deal with opposition… (elbows up, ramming speed)

I mean.. if you think about it once the decision is made, individual voices will be meaningless.

“We’re taking your land and putting an oil pipe across it. “But but but…”

“Sorry about the oil spill, but we won’t be cleaning it up till next year.” “But but but…”

“I’m sorry that you think your water tastes bad this year, but we don’t believe you.” “But but but…”

All the above silly examples are quite real and serious issues for those affected. I wonder how powerless they must feel.  How would you feel to loose all that you know and love?

Speaking of foreign capital hijacking our regulator industry… umm… are ‘any’ of the oil companies Canadian?  How about that Frazer institute?  Canadian?  You must be joking.

I think the latest conservative cop out is that those foreigners are doing this to provide us with jobs…   (yeah right… they are in it to give us jobs.)

Did you see this latest bad decision? Again the Harper Conservatives are cutting off research that might get in the way of expanding the tar sands and building the destructive Northern Gateway pipeline:

I believe the atrocious decision to close PEARL and cut other funding is driven by their extreme rightwing ideology, where they want the government out of doing scientific research so they can leave it to the oil companies to do whatever research will make money.

While I don’t disagree with your opinion… you have to be careful about mixing government and charity funding.  It gets, well, political.  I kinda defend the government’s right to get all political about it.  (Even though I don’t agree with them.)

Personally, I’m more concerned about cutting scientific research from the likes of Environment Canada.  I feel that the way they are driving the economy to the brink with excessive spending, is just another means to drive the other control lever of cutting funding.

PS… You from Cow Town too?

Environmental terrorism does exist - - but I think it’s pretty obvious that this was mentioned for politicla reasons, not as a list of the handful of biggest threats to national security. 

The worst part is, I voted for these jokers. Politics sucks. 

The ELF isn’t a ‘terrorist’ group. They’ve never killed or even injured anyone. One would have to use Orwellian doublespeak to stretch the word ‘terrorism’ to make it apply to vandalism.

Earth Hour is March 31st. I decided to make earth hour into earth month and then decided to make it two months, March and April. I started Feb 28th. The only electricity I am using in my house is to power the refridgerator and to keep the house at 12 C. No lights, computer (I am sending this from a friends place), TV, stove, microwave, washer, dryer or hot water heater. I will also not drive for these two months. Who can join me in this?