The Sixth Estate Weekly Flack Awards are a regular series dedicated to recognizing the silliest and the worst in the generally pathetic field of government communications. These awards recognize absurd errors, bizarre subjects, unnecessary excitement over trivial programs, and preposterous quote-mining.
This week there were strong entrants in all categories. For instance, in the unnecessary excitement category, there was Pierre Poilievre and Rona Ambrose announcing to what they dreamed was an interested national audience that they would be attending the official renaming of one of the government’s many buildings in Ottawa. However, this week there could be only one winner: Minister Joe Oliver’s bizarre, paranoid “open letter” addressed, oddly, to nobody, in which he vents his spleen over the growing list of people who want to comment at the pipeline hearings.
Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.
These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources. Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work. It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.
There is, says the Learned Minister, a grand conspiracy of foreigners and liberals dedicated to stopping the pipeline. There is, of course, such a conspiracy — though not a secret one. In his absurd move to shut down pipeline hearings on the grounds that mere open discussion is a threat to Canadian democracy, Oliver managed to do what many would have said was impossible: make himself look worse than the hippies the news loves to point and laugh at.
Although the Flack Awards are a humorous series, please don’t miss the serious undertones here. When the government of Canada says that public hearings are dangerous to Canadian “interests,” it’s time to re-evaluate our interests… or re-evaluate our government.Tweet