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Eco-terrorists and pedophiles -- Welcome to the new Canada!

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According to our Conservative Government, members of other Canadian political parties are pedophiles and environmentalists and terrorists ... welcome to the new Canada.

As unbelievable as it sounds, Public Safety Canada listed environmentalists among other "issue-based domestic extremists" that could pose a threat to Canadians.

Public Security Minister Vic Toews announced this week a new domestic counter-terrorism strategy which listed a number of groups who will be the focus of increased domestic security surveillance -- in effect extending the reach and impunity of domestic security already working within Canada.

Canada's new counter-terrorism strategy lists environmentalism next to white supremacy as an "issue-based" terrorist threat.

Unfortunately, environmentalists were not the only "trouble-makers" to make the government's hit-list this week -- in a stubborn assessment of the government's on-line privacy bill, the minister referred to anyone who would not support the government legislation as having ties to child abuse.

Mr. Towes created a furor Monday when he declared in the Commons, responding to questioning from an MP regarding the provisions of the on-line privacy bill, "He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

Member of the Opposition in Parliament, Charlie Angus, summed it up this way, "The Conservatives have hit the ultimate low. They are accusing anyone who stands up for the principle of due process and the right of a citizen to privacy as being supportive of child pornography. What a sick distortion of the facts."

It is most unsettling to see our government resort to such base name-calling to label anyone who does not support their legislation.

It is even more unsettling to consider that our current majority government simultaneously will not address issues that are basic priorities for a majority of Canadians.

What is not a sick distortion of the facts, and may be most dis-heartening of all to Canadians is this government's actual record on the environment, both domestically and in terms of international co-operation.

As far back as the appointment of this government's first environment minister, the under-prepared Rona Ambrose, and the global embarrassment Canada experienced at the Nairobi and Copenhagen climate conferences -- we witnessed Conservative members of the unelected Senate kill the Climate Change Accountability Act without even considering or debating the bill.

I shudder to think what disparaging moniker Vic Toews would have come up with to label those senators who killed that bill, had the legislation been introduced by the Conservatives.

The problem is, then as now, that the bill was not introduced by our current government and nothing friendly or helpful to the environment ever seems to be.

Add the ongoing degradation of Canada's own lands in the Tar Sands to the absolute refutation of global environmental partnership when we weaseled out of our signed commitment to the Kyoto Accord and you have a country that is on the outside looking in at the global community. Remember how the voting for the UN Security Council seat turned out?

And we haven't even begun to be held accountable as Canadians for the environmental damage our mining companies have created in other countries.

So while the name-calling involved with the on-line privacy bill may have more grab as a headline of the day, the long-term effects of this government's relationship to the environment will linger long after this government is gone.

Maybe that is why so many, a majority of Canadians in fact, have recognized our relationship with the environment as such a critical issue and do get so "fired up" about it. But does that make us terrorists? Hardly.

Former Green Party Communications Director and current Executive Director of the Sierra Club Canada, John Bennett, summed it up this way, "The only real environmental terrorists are in the Federal Cabinet."







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