Media, media analysis

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For centuries, the political right has opportunistically blamed immigrants for everything from economic slowdowns to lousy weather. The ferocity of these baseless attacks in the 20th century produced tragic results. Yet we are letting it happen again—in the United States, Brazil, Australia, different parts of Europe, and here in Canada. We must confront this vile political discourse wherever we come across it on social media, in classrooms, at public events, and in daily conversations with family and friends. But how can we do it?
Using the internet to become informed about politics today may less resemble cruising an information highway than it does careening down Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road. Staying on course in the popular Nintendo racing game’s frictionless technicolour track takes sustained vigilance, lest carelessness, a fake Item Box, or a Bob-omb pitched your way (see GIF) throw you into the dark.
The pollster Nik Nanos claimed in June that climate change would be “one of the defining battle grounds” this election. “More important than jobs, more important than health care, more important than immigration.” In July, Abacus Data put climate change in third spot behind health care and cost of living, the latter an important issue (with the environment) for the two-thirds of voters from the millennial and gen-X cohorts.
We Albertans are patient and fair minded, but we have had enough of your campaign of defamation and double standards. Today, we begin to stand up for ourselves, for our jobs, for our future. Today we begin to fight back. ~ Premier Jason Kenney on election night, April 16, 2019
REUTERS/Nick Didlick For the last decade, oil and gas industry supporters in media, civil society and government have honed a populist narrative revolving around two core arguments: 1) Fossil fuel development is vital to the national economic interest.
Canada is addicted to oil. Like all addictions, ours is debilitating. It has erased the line between state and private industry (thin as that line is in most countries), stifles our politics, and is holding back local, provincial and national preparations for a world without fossil fuels. Curing our addiction to oil and gas will take time and money, and historic levels of Indigenous–federal–provincial co-operation. But it absolutely has to happen—starting now.
Surveillance capitalism is a large undertaking. A technical one. Sensors in our homes and on our bodies connect to towers and cables running to massive computer centres doing the data processing. A built world meant to collect, command and control our habits, and vested in a few companies.
In 2018, Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly proudly proclaimed that Canada successfully negotiated a cultural exemption in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Harper-era multilateral trade deal rebranded “Comprehensive and Progressive" (CPTPP) by the Trudeau government. In 1987, Flora MacDonald, then Mulroney’s minister of communications, made the same claim at the conclusion of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) negotiations. Neither minister was being entirely honest.
Illustration by Kathleen Fu

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