Saturday, September 04, 2010

Moving On... (Pun Intended)

Upon further reflection, my problem (see previous entry) isn't so much what Avaaz is doing, rather the way in which they are doing it.

Of course agencies based in other countries have a right to comment on Canadian issues, as Canadians have a right to speak to events outside Canada.

This is something else; I do not believe that Avaaz portrayed their petition initiative for what it really is. I believe they have their own agenda and are trying to manipulate Canadians to achieve it.

This is what the petition would read like if portrayed honestly:

 Greetings, Canadian voters,

We are a global advocacy group based in New York City, born from the roots of (itself generously funded by George Soros) and Res Publica.  We feel that you should be upset with your Prime Minister because our prime objective is to defeat him in the next election.

To that end, we attempted to meddle in your last election two years ago. Yes, we stayed within the letter, if not the spirit, of your election law  but our basic message clearly came from outside the country. We ran an initiative to urge Canadians to "vote strategically" by voting for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative Party candidate in their riding (voting area), rather than the candidate of the voter's choice.

Our agenda may be benign: fighting all sorts of evil such as poverty and climate change and Neo-Conservatism but our methods leave something to be desired.

For instance, we hear that a new Cable News Channel is in the works for Canada. The former top aide to PM Harper has quit that job to become VP of Development for Quebecor Media and so could have his hand (and by implication, the PM's hand) in their programming.

We feel that this is the wrong message for Canadians to receive and so we are trying to frighten you into protesting this channel by calling it "Fox News North" and by providing links to all the idiocy going on in the US with Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and the Tea Party.

And since we can't actually TELL you to try to block the channel (that would infringe upon free speech) we further frighten you with unproven allegations of influence peddling on the part of the Prime Minister. Protest that, protest the channel itself, we don't care. Just protest.

For those who object claiming that we are "foreign", we insist that our co-founder is Canadian-born (although he has lived out of the country for years.. sound familiar?), we have hundreds of thousands of Canadian members, an office in Ottawa, and a web address with a .ca extension.

Of course, if you actually try to go to, you get redirected to this address (note, no more .ca) which urges Canadians to sign a petition... TO SAVE THE CBC.

It claims the big bad government "refused loans" to the CBC which will cause it to cut jobs and programming.

So: we want your tax dollars to go to the liberal-leaning network in the form of  loans to cover their "shortfall" but not the conservative-leaning one, even if that would only be for three years and might just provide a little balance, unlike its American counterpart, because we just don't know yet what its programming would be like and since you would be footing part of the bill (for three years, not in perpetuity as with the CBC) you could then muster up a protest movement if we (I mean you) don't like it. Not that it would do any good, because of that pesky "free speech" thing.
The point is: just because I happen to agree with most of their politics, does not make what they are doing ethical.

If a Canadian organization had done the same thing I'd be protesting just as loudly but to think that and George Soros are behind this is beyond scary because they have resources far beyond that of any home grown organization, and motives that may or may not be in Canada's best interests.

Will they even get Sun News Network in New York City? The certainly don't "get" the nuances of Canadian politics. Like how people don't trust Michael Ignatieff (Liberal Party Leader) because of his days of defending the Iraq war and his opinion on torture. Like how Canada will probably dwell in minority parliament limbo for some time to come, until a dynamic Liberal leader comes along. Maybe Bob Rae, more likely Justin Trudeau.

One more thing, as for our elections law, Avaaz isn't alone in running afoul of Provision 331. Michael Moore did so twice, in 2004 and 2008.


Robert Patterson said...

"This is what the petition would read like if portrayed honestly"--I think not.

"The[y] [New Yorkers and presumably citizens of the U.S.] certainly don't "get" the nuances of Canadian politics."--Lordy.

Paulineee said...


Robert Patterson said...


Anonymous said...

This is a pretty amusing post given the majority of your posts are about American issues, celebrities, and politicians, and most of your readers are American.

Paul said...

Must admit, although I'd identify myself as a long way to the left of the spectrum, I dislike being sold an agenda by left wing groups like avaaz. I sign a petition, and before I know it my inbox is full of appeals for immediate activism, or at least money. Always urgent. Always emotional. I pretty much stopped watching TV because the constant wall to wall hard sell got on my nerves. I use ad blocking software to stop the popups and sidebar ads. These guys are selling just as hard. My their teeth must be shiny.

I do have a soft spot for Michael Moore though. He seems to be happy to criticise political bad behaviour, regardless of which party it flows from.

Paulineee said...

I ♥ Michael Moore!