Canada Doublespeak Watch: Kent, environmentalists & “money laundering”

By: Obert Madondo The Canadian Progressive | Mar 7, 2013:

#IdleNoMore Parliament Hill Protest Jan 11 2013 Pic #18

The Harper Government is increasingly using doublespeak to stifle the democratic conversation on the issues of our time, including: the Alberta tar sands. It’s quite possible that this government has studied Joseph Goebbels.

First, let’s take a look at the one where Stephen Harper’s environment Minister, Peter Kent, bizarrely accused environmental groups of “money laundering”. Minister Kent made the following accusations during the April 28, 2012, episode of the CBC Radio’s The House program, while responding to environmental charities’ legitimate concern that the Conservatives were trying to silence them:

Some groups with charitable status have been going well beyond the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) guidelines for what is acceptable practice as a charitable agency. And there has also been concern that some Canadian charitable agencies have been used to launder off-shore foreign funds

Kent repeated the accusation when the program’s host, Evan Solomon, asked him to elaborate:

Whether you call it money laundering or a financial shell game or three-card monty, it is inappropriate under those organizations’ charitable status

So, what the heck is doublespeak? It’s language that’s consciously designed and employed to manipulate.

“Like any other tool, language can be abused, used not to build but to destroy, not to communicate but to confuse, not to clarify but to obscure, not to lead but to mislead,” says William Lutz⁠, professor of English at Rutgers University.  “Double-speak is language designed to evade responsibility, make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive. Basically, it’s language that pretends to communicate, but really doesn’t. It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to.”

Sounds familiar?

As I blogged earlier, Stephen Harper’s Canada is reminiscent of Orwell’s Nightmarish “1984″ World.  1984, Canada has become, says Allan Gregg, a prominent commentator and former strategist for the Progressive Conservatives under Brian Mulroney.

A few examples of unique doublespeak words and phrases you may already have heard from the Conservatives recently:

  • Ethical Oil: for Canada’s dirty tar sands oil
  • Oilsands: instead of tar sands
  • Canadian/national interest(s): instead of corporate interest (s) or for the benefit of the rich
  • An Act to Enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism (sub-title “ Safe Streets and Communities Act”): the draconian omnibus crime Bill C-10
  • Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act: Bill C-18, which dismantled the iconic Canadian Wheat Board
  • Threat to national security: recent CSIS/RCMP designation of environmental activists. See: Canada’s Environmental Activists “Threat To National Security”: Harper Government
  • Extremists
  • Domestic terrorists
  • Canada’s Economic Action Plan
  • MacKay says his department ‘incorrectly coded’ a funding request that’s now raising eyebrows

Got an example of a doublespeak quote from a public official? Drop me a quip email via: or this secure Contact Form.

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