AIMS opin­ion needs con­text

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Any­time I am read­ing an ed­i­to­rial piece and the au­thor refers to those of a dif­fer­ent opin­ion as rad­i­cals and ex­trem­ists it makes me stop and ques­tion just whose in­ter­ests the writer is serv­ing.

In his opin­ion piece “Rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal ide­ol­ogy” ap­pear­ing in the July 21 edi­tion of The Guardian Mr. Navarro- Ge­nie uses the words rad­i­cal or ex­trem­ist (ex­treme) at least eight times in his short opin­ion piece. This hardly seems like a rea­soned and bal­anced ap­proach to take, de­spite the au­thor’s as­ser­tions that we should learn from “mis­takes made else­where” and set “a dif­fer­ent tone for energy de­vel­op­ment” in the east. By this I am as­sum­ing that he means that the public de­bate and sub­se­quent pol­icy de­vel­op­ment in the east should be less po­lar­ized and di­vi­sive than it is in the USA.

The At­lantic In­sti­tute for Mar­ket Stud­ies is a rather in­scrutable sound­ing name; in­deed, it would be dif­fi­cult to tell any­thing about the group’s ide­o­log­i­cal lean­ings based on the name. Un­for­tu­nately, I be­lieve that this can lead many read­ers to as­sume that the or­ga­ni­za­tion is not only non-par­ti­san, but also un­bi­ased in its pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions. AIMS is a so­cial and eco­nomic pol­icy think-tank with a fo­cus on is­sues of im­por­tance to At­lantic Cana­di­ans. It also has a very clear pro-in­dus­try fo­cus; many of its board mem­bers rep­re­sent the energy in­dus­try, and it is funded through do­na­tions from large cor­po­ra­tions. A quick Wiki check shows that the or­ga­ni­za­tion has of­ten been re­ferred to as the At­lantic ver­sion of the Fron­tier Cen­tre for Public Pol­icy, and that they gen­er­ally sup­port a “profree-mar­ket anti-reg­u­la­tion stance”.

In the fu­ture, I be­lieve that any guest opin­ions or ed­i­to­ri­als ap­pear­ing in The Guardian where the au­thor is rep­re­sent­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion should in­clude a “tagline” that gives the opin­ion piece some con­text. This is es­pe­cially crit­i­cal when the or­ga­ni­za­tion is not widely known. Per­son­ally, af­ter learn­ing of AIMS in­dus­try fo­cus I am more likely to ques­tion the writer’s as­ser­tion that “Canada’s en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards and con­ser­va­tion poli­cies are the envy of many coun­tries” and do my own re­search on this claim. Richelle Greathouse Suf­folk

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