When tribe trumps truth

T

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE -

he shenani­gans by both the B.C. Lib­er­als and the NDP over the Site C dam and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s dou­ble­s­peak on off­shore tax havens are all the ev­i­dence Cana­di­ans should need to not feel su­pe­rior to the Amer­i­can cousins when it comes to re­ject­ing truth and facts in favour of po­lit­i­cal one-up­man­ship.

The Oval Of­fice Oaf be­lieves a re­tired KGB agent who spe­cial­ized in coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, not the heads of the Fed­eral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency and the National Se­cu­ity Agency, never mind Se­nate and House in­ves­ti­ga­tions, that Rus­sia didn’t med­dle in the 2016 U.S. elec­tions. The re­tired KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, is now the pres­i­dent of Rus­sia, while Don­ald Trump hon­estly be­lieves he’s too smart to be ma­nip­u­lated by a guy whose ca­reer was built on skill­ful de­ceit.

The in­con­ve­nient truths about Rus­sia are ei­ther dis­missed out­right or, if claim­ing the Earth is flat and the moon land­ing never hap­pened is a step too far, used to point out how Hil­lary Clinton, who cur­rently holds no elected of­fice any­where, ben­e­fited just as much from for­eign med­dling.

Yet that’s not the worst stench com­ing out of Amer­ica at the mo­ment. That would be the elec­tion next month for U.S. se­na­tor from Alabama. De­spite mul­ti­ple al­le­ga­tions from named women say­ing Roy Moore, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee, sex­u­ally as­saulted them when they were teenagers, many Repub­li­cans are stand­ing by their man. Their re­sponse – well, you know Bill Clinton and other Democrats did it, too.

Ex­cept, of course, Moore did noth­ing wrong.

Sign­ing the high school year­book of one of his ac­cusers and com­ment­ing about how sweet and beau­ti­ful she is when he’s a dis­trict pros­e­cu­tor in his mid-thir­ties proves noth­ing and is com­pletely nor­mal. Right. In other words, the re­main­ing Moore sup­port­ers refuse to ac­cept the brave words of women in their midst but cheer­fully be­lieve ev­ery word of all the Hol­ly­wood women who have come for­ward to right­fully dis­grace Har­vey We­in­stein be­cause he was a Clinton sup­porter who raised mil­lions to help get her elected.

It’s the Washington Post’s fault for break­ing this story and all the other fake news out there.

Ex­cept for the re­port­ing by the Post, the New York Times, CNN and oth­ers about We­in­stein, about the Clinton emails, about how her cam­paign used money and in­flu­ence to make cer­tain Bernie San­ders wouldn’t win the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion last sum­mer.

That’s real news, even though it wasn’t bro­ken by the so-called jour­nal­ists at Fox News or Bre­it­bart.

What poses for re­port­ing in those places is a piece say­ing the Washington Post spent a month in Alabama try­ing to find women with sto­ries about Roy Moore. Of course, the Post did. Spend­ing time, money and ef­fort to get to the truth, wher­ever that may lead, rather than just mak­ing it up, is what jour­nal­ists do.

But let’s not be too smug north of the bor­der. If Rus­sia can tar­get a U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, why can’t it tar­get Cana­dian elec­tions as well?

And the Site C file shows how po­lit­i­cal par­ties on both sides in B.C. are just as eas­ily prone to dis­miss knowl­edge and ex­per­tise for po­lit­i­cal con­ve­nience. As premier, Christy Clark re­fused to let the B.C. Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion study the vi­a­bil­ity of build­ing the Site C dam, even when ev­ery sin­gle one of the com­mis­sion­ers were Lib­eral ap­pointees. Why not de­cide to build it and then come up with rea­sons to do it? Why go through the has­sle of ask­ing smart peo­ple to study the mer­its of spend­ing bil­lions of dol­lars on a pub­lic works project?

John Hor­gan’s NDP is no bet­ter, on both this file and Kinder Mor­gan.

More con­sul­ta­tion needs to be done with area First Na­tions, both Hor­gan and Green leader Andrew Weaver say, gloss­ing over the fact that the courts have al­ready ruled mul­ti­ple times in favour of the gov­ern­ment and that there are al­ready five agree­ments in place with area First Na­tions, in­clud- ing the McLeod Lake In­dian Band north of Prince Ge­orge.

Never mind that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, not the prov­ince, has ju­ris­dic­tion over Kinder Mor­gan and thor­oughly stud­ied the pro­posal to twin the ex­ist­ing pipe­line that runs through the Rock­ies, con­nect­ing Al­berta crude to the port of Van­cou­ver. Never mind that pipe­lines are by far the safest way to ship oil and gas prod­ucts.

Mean­while, Trudeau down­play­ing his con­nec­tions to in­di­vid­u­als run­ning money into off­shore tax havens to avoid pay­ing higher taxes in Canada while in­sist­ing fam­ily doc­tors and other small business en­trepreneurs pay more ex­poses the sham that is the fed­eral Lib­eral pledge to work for the mid­dle class.

Point­ing that out is, of course, a base­less at­tack by the right-wing cor­po­rate me­dia, even though it was the CBC that col­lab­o­rated with an international jour­nal­is­tic ef­fort to dis­close the Par­adise Papers. For­get the facts. For­get the truth. That re­quires think­ing and – gasp! – the abil­ity to change one’s mind and ad­mit be­ing wrong. Best to just ac­cept the wis­dom of the tribe, even when it comes at the ex­pense of dis­cred­it­ing your own gov­ern­ment ex­perts or de­mo­niz­ing sex­ual as­sault vic­tims. De­cency? Com­mon sense? Sold down the same river.

— Ed­i­tor-in-chief Neil God­bout

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