JAR­GON WATCH

[from Latin vir­tus + signum: virtue + sign] “What I want to see out of Canada is less of the virtue sig­nalling type of ap­proach...” (Erin O’toole, Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada MP, Septem­ber 3, 2017

BC Business Magazine - - Contents -

Sig­nals of virtue

The Ox­ford Dic­tionary says virtue sig­nalling is “the ac­tion or prac­tice of pub­licly ex­press­ing opin­ion or sen­ti­ments in­tended to demon­strate one's good char­ac­ter or the mo­ral cor­rect­ness of one's po­si­tion.” The phrase virtue sig­nalling gained steam with a 2015 Spec­ta­tor ar­ti­cle that ob­served: “One of the cru­cial as­pects of virtue sig­nalling is that it does not re­quire ac­tu­ally do­ing any­thing vir­tu­ous.” Erin O'toole char­ac­ter­ized the Lib­eral govern­ment's plan to in­clude gen­der, In­dige­nous and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues in the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment ne­go­ti­a­tions as virtue sig­nalling and “the cen­tre­pieces of Justin Trudeau's im­age build­ing.”

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