Nov. 17, 2020

Politicians live off propaganda

Several subscribers have sent me references to the Canadian military engaging in propaganda, specifically respecting a story about grey wolves allegedly roaming in Nova Scotia.

Briefly:
A letter from the Nova Scotia government sent out to residents to warn about a pack of wolves on the loose in the province was forged by Canadian military personnel as part of a propaganda training mission that went off the rails. OTTAWA CITIZEN

I fail to see why anyone is upset. Propaganda has been a standard component of both the military and political toolboxes for centuries. Generations don’t know that Canada fought the Cold War with words, not bullets. Propaganda was part of the Korean war and in overdrive during the Vietnam and Afghanistan conflicts. Politicians use propaganda to focus public attention and promote the policies they decide on.

We are drowning in government propaganda. The last federal budget was released on March 19, 2019. Downloaded as a PDF, it is 464 pages long.

Less than 20 per cent of the material is relevant to income, expenditures, and future spending; the rest is propaganda to make us like the government’s efforts and plans. BUDGET

The 7/24 COVID propaganda barrage intends to condition us to the idea that we have a severe problem on our hands and governments are doing as well as can be expected. Perhaps if they had not told us they would keep us safe from the novel coronavirus strain nine months ago and failed to do so, they would not be in the current panic. Politicians use propaganda to divert us from their errors and failures.

It is disconcerting that most provinces put their chief medical officer front and centre to deliver the latest bad news. Provincial medical officers have no authority to issue regulations on business closures or quarantine. The regulations have to be approved by the provincial Ministers of Health and Cabinet.

Provincial health officers have no means of measuring the economic effect of regulations they recommend. That is the duty of the Health Minister and his or her Cabinet colleagues.
Quarantine is an exclusive federal jurisdiction and responsibility. Our Prime Minister is hiding behind layers of provincial politicians and health officials pretending he is above it all rather than a leader missing in action.

The Prime Minister’s charade of chiding premiers for not doing enough to implement the coronavirus response he is orchestrating is despicable. He cannot escape responsibility for the failure of his COVID-19 strategy to work.

In every election, federal, provincial and civic, public relations people employed by political parties fire up their propaganda machines. They use the art of lying to us with just enough plausibility that we will give them the benefit of the doubt.

They appeal to our emotions, promising things we would like to see but cannot afford. After the election, reality prevents fulfilment, but we fall for a similar set of promises four years later. As long as we fail to hold governments accountable, we will continue to get poor governance.