This week Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent has made repeated allegations that environmental groups are “laundering money”. This is a serious charge because according to the federal government’s own website: Money laundering is the process used to disguise the source of money or assets derived from criminal activity.

This is beyond anything in my experience and is absolutely irresponsible. A cabinet minister is going around spouting serious allegations without proof and the media is repeating them without doing anything to investigate the validity of his statements.

This is McCarthyism. Period. Back in the late 40s and early 50s Senator Joe McCarthy made a career out of unfounded accusations of communism against innocent people who he didn’t like (back then the media also scrambled to report the unfounded accusations). Careers and lives were destroyed — remember, people were being told Communist bombs could fall on them any day!

The whole point of this kind of campaign is to create an atmosphere of fear and apprehension for the targets (me and you), but more importantly for the general public –thereby justifying all sorts of government trampling on human rights.

There are no impeding bombs today, but fear of unemployment and recession is a good replacement and “radicals,” “foreign interests” and “money launderers” are great replacements for communists. Mix them together and you get a justification for a 400 page federal budget containing 150 pages of changes to environmental laws and protections!

So what is the defense? In the 50s it was: duck and cover, testify or go to jail. But how do you hide from climate change or an oil spill? How do you keep your children safe?

I chose to fight fire with fire (or rhetoric with rhetoric). Peter Kent is big fat liar. If he has evidence of “money laundering” as defined by his own government, I’ll apologize and donate $100 to his favorite environmental charity. Until he has evidence he should do the honourable thing: Shut his mouth because he’s a big fat liar!

John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
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