NDP environment critic Meghan Leslie understands how indebted the Harper government is to George Orwell. Rather than reading 1984 as a warning against tyranny, the Harperites have adopted the novel as a how to manual. Their messaging is thoroughly imbued with the principles of Newspeak. Those principles are particularly apparent when it comes to environmental policy. Leslie invites her readers to consider Harperian definitions for the following terms:
In the Conservative world, “responsible” means expedited. Gut environmental assessment laws, exempt pipeline projects from the Species at Risk law and Navigable Waters protection, and from fisheries habitat protection laws, and you’re a general in the Conservative War of 2012 — the war on the environment.
“Consultation” means talking to a hand-picked group of friends who share your agenda, and perhaps posting a document on a website to solicit comments — with no disclosure of what the comments were and, likely, little consideration of them. No need to give any reason for the decision you were going to make all along, either.
“Open and transparent” means holding a record number of committee meetings behind closed doors, requiring the Parliamentary Budget Officer to take you to court to get basic information on departmental spending, and erasing pesky words like “environment” from websites that contradict your new reality.
“Accountable” means proroguing Parliament when your government is found in contempt for hiding documents from Parliament.
Orwell warned that those who called themselves socialists were not really socialists, just as the party which calls itself Conservative isn't really conservative. He understood that people like Stephen Harper really didn't have a philosophy. But they did -- and do -- have an objective. “If you want a picture of the future," O'Brien told Winston, "imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
This entry is cross posted at Eradicating Ecocide.