Be wary of the prime minister’s rhetoric

Be wary of the prime minister's rhetoric There are three words being bandied about by Conservative politicians that are really bugging me. First and foremost is "terrorist." Bill C-51 could make it possible to attach that label to citizens practicing the

There are three words being bandied about by Conservative politicians that are really bugging me.

First and foremost is “terrorist.” Bill C-51 could make it possible to attach that label to citizens practicing their constitutional right to demonstrate. Where’s the “terror” in that?

Terror is felt when death and destruction happen on a large scale, in an unexpected way, to unsuspecting people. Even a person convicted of murder is not called a terrorist. Why would a Conservative politician accuse a person peacefully carrying a sign, even if they are blocking a road, of terrorism?

Which leads me to my second pet-peeve word -“fear-mongering.”

When a political figure refers to activists as terrorists, part of the motivation for doing so is to suggest that the public should be afraid of demonstrators – to see them as crazy and bad.

The Conservatives are not afraid of demonstrators, so when they, nevertheless, attempt to incite fear among Canadians, they are the ones who are, in fact, fear-mongering.

And here’s a key difference. Activists warning about climate change, for instance, are afraid themselves of what will become of our planet. They are honestly sharing their fear. That’s not fear-mongering.

The third word that is being used badly is “family.” What? Family is a great word.

It is, but not the way Harper’s Conservatives use it. They talk all the time about taking care of families. But all they’re saying is that people with children may be able to keep a little more money at tax time.

That’s all well and good. But what about the families of missing and murdered aboriginal women? What about the families of the men of Middle Eastern origin being held in Canadian prisons without being charged? What about the Yukon family recently deported to Mexico despite the youngest son being a Canadian citizen and needing special medical care? Harper doesn’t care about those families apparently.

Which means he’s just using words like “terrorist,” “fear-mongering,” and “family” to sway emotions, to try and get votes.

Responsible citizens need to listen beyond the words to the intended meanings underneath.

Dianne Homan

Whitehorse

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