maple leaf

Fear, Propaganda, and Human Rights

From May 22, 2008

In the discipline of fear propaganda and false invective, few do it worse than the Conservative Party of Canada. But that doesn't mean they shy away from using it, because so often it works.

Omar Khadr, a child soldier captured in 2002 at age 15, has been held at Guantanamo Bay without trial for the last six years. He is the last citizen of a western country still remaining at the prison, but the Canadian Government refuses to arrange for his return. Senator Romeo Dallaire has fought for Omar Khadr's reintegration, arguing, "The minute you start playing with human rights, with conventions, with civil liberties, in order to say that you're doing it to protect yourself... you are no better than the guy who doesn't believe in them at all."

Conservative MP Jason Kenney, appointed Secretary for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity on January 4th, 2007, was livid that Dallaire would question government policy. But instead of answering Dallaire's argument about child soldiers, Kenney's response was weak on content and heavy on propaganda. His talking point, that Canada must protect itself from 14 year old al-Qaeda down-syndrome suicide bombers, was a response based on fear, and already proven myth months earlier. But some were nevertheless convinced that Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian Peacekeeping hero, was a bad man.

It seems strange that the Secretary for Canadian Identity would apparently place so little value on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, while favouring the tools of fear and propaganda.