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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Contemporary Canadian propaganda

Being a writer who has long studied Ukraine, including during the dark period under communism, I couldn't help but think that this CTV article is a classic example of the agitprop type of propaganda that was de rigeur in the old Soviet Union.

[A] study, based on an analysis of pollution data filed by companies to Environment Canada, found that Alberta businesses led the provinces in GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions... The oil-rich province was well ahead of second-place Ontario ...

Interestingly, and not surprisingly,

The survey was put together by two Toronto-based conservation groups...

After a shopping list of industrial sins and sinners the article wraps it up with a less than subtle attempt at manipulating hasty readers into inferring that the government alone is responsible for GHG emissions and that the current ruling party isn't doing anything about it.

The Conservative government has essentially abandoned the Kyoto Protocol target for Canada ...

It appears that balance is no longer a requirement in the western press. There certainly is little in this article, which appears to have adopted and adapted the pseudo-religious spin so typical of old soviet agitprop.

The study is presented as gospel, and Alberta's big bad industry as the devil's playground, all as evidence supporting the a priori belief that greenhouse gas emissions are a) the sole cause of global warming and b) produced primarily by industry.

If studied by serious scientists and industry leaders to find practical, positive and methodical applications to reduce industrial GHG emissions, this survey could be enormously useful. But typically, it has instead become yet another political football for partisan hacks in the mainstream media.

Sure, the article is effective at demonizing the ruling political party and proselytizing the position that Kyoto is the saviour that will deliver us from GHG emissions and furthermore that the fault lies with industry (rather than, say, people who drive gas guzzlers, fly around in jets, eat too much beef, live wastefully, etc.).

But at what cost success? In the end, the article will quite probably only escalate western alienation and further polarize Canadians politically. Meanwhile, the study will likely end up as little more than grist for political jockeying, and the baby will (again) have been tossed out with the bathwater.

Way to build a nation, eh? Going backwards instead of forward. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

We all enjoy our current lifestyle too much to change our wasteful ways.

Pawlina said...

Yeah, I think there was a poll done recently to that effect. The affluent were the most "concerned" about global warming, but the least inclined to give up their gas-guzzling SUVs, etc.

There's a lot of hypocrisy in the green movement... which may be why it's increasingly being likened to a fundamentalist religious sect.

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