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October 28, 2017 4:14 am

Harper government – Biggest peddler of hype now claims to be victim of it

Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 3:44 AM

By Peter Ewart


Bob Zimmer, Conservative MP for Prince George – Peace River, complains in a recent 250 News article that most of the criticism of the anti-terror Bill C-51 is just “hype.” 

That is a most interesting statement to make considering that some of the fiercest critics include former Supreme Court justices, 4 former Prime Ministers, the Canadian Bar Association (with over 30,000 members), leading constitutional law experts, the editorial boards of major establishment newspapers, the federal government’s own Privacy Commissioner, and many other prominent Canadians from all walks of life.

Conservatives don’t like to admit it, but they are also getting lots of flak from their own supporters regarding Bill C-51.

All that aside, what does the word “hype” mean? Perhaps, after defining it, we can determine who is most guilty of peddling it. According to the dictionary, it means: the marketing or promotion of a product “using exaggerated or intensive publicity.” By that definition, however, couldn’t the Conservative government itself be considered the biggest trumpeter and promoter of hype?

For example, how about Steven Blaney, Conservative Public Safety minister, invoking the Nazi threat in a statement and claiming that Bill C-51 is necessary to prevent another “Holocaust” in Canada (1)? Really, Mr. Blaney?

Or how about the Conservative government and RCMP publications justifying anti-terror legislation by equating environmental and First Nations protests with “extremism” (2) and labelling them as “anti-Canadian” (3)?

And then there are the statements of MP Bob Zimmer himself. In a recent op-ed that he claims to have written, he argues that “jihadi terrorism is one of the most dangerous enemies our world has ever faced,” and ominously warns that it threatens us in “our cities” and “our neighborhoods” (4).

But Zimmer’s statements contradict other Canadian and U.S. government sources. For example, a Statistics Canada report quite clearly states that “according to police-reported data, terrorism-related incidents remain extremely rare in Canada” (5). Indeed, in recent years, the U.S government itself calculates that the number of terrorist-related incidents in the U.S. (and in North America) have actually been in sharp decline since the 1960s and 70s (6).

Yet, by way of comparison, could jihadi terrorism still be, as Zimmer claims, “one of the most dangerous enemies our world has ever faced”? Let’s compare it to the threat of Nazism and fascism in the Second World War which would certainly meet that definition.   An estimated 65 million people died in that terrible conflict, along with 45,000 Canadian soldiers.

How do those massive figures rack up to Jihadi terrorism? As Globe & Mail columnist Lawrence Martin notes, “In the last decade or two [in Canada], you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of deaths from terrorism”(7). Yes, there were the tragic deaths of a Canadian soldier and a reservist in the Fall of 2014, but in most years, no one is killed or even injured.

Indeed, far more people die in North America from lightning strikes, or slipping in the bathtub, or having their television sets fall on them than from terrorism. In the ten years between 2001-10 in the U.S., over 100,000 people have been killed in gun homicides alone and more than 400,000 in motor vehicle accidents (8)(9).

No, Mr. Zimmer, despite all your government’s rhetoric, it is not 1939, and Stephen Harper is definitely not Winston Churchill.

Quit using hype and playing the fear card to undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians. Then, just maybe, you wouldn’t be getting so many complaints from your constituents.

Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca

  • “’Holocaust did not begin in the gas chamber, it began with words’: Minister in defence of new anti-terrorism bill.” National Post. March 10, 2015.
  • McCarthy, Shawn. “Ottawa’s new anti-terror strategy lists eco-extremists as threats.” Globe & Mail. Feb. 20, 2012.
  • “Critical infrastructure intelligence assessment: Criminal threats to the petroleum industry.” Report. Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Jan. 24, 2014.
  • Zimmer, Bob. “Bob Zimmer addresses Bill C-51 concerns.” Energetic City.ca. May 13, 2015.
  • Perreault, Samuel. “Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2012.” Statistics Canada.
  • Report. National consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism. Department of Homeland Security. December 2012.
  • Martin, Lawrence. “Mulcair is right to question the politics of terror.” Globe & Mail. Jan. 20, 2015.
  • Washington’s Blog. “The terrorism statistics every American needs to hear.” Global research. Feb. 21, 2015.
  • Bailey, Ronald. “How scared of terrorism should you be?” Reason.com. Sept. 6, 2011.


Considering all the “hype” regarding Bill C-51,(and the impending election) would it not be wise for the Canadian govt (not the Harper regime) to post this as a question on the ballot rather than ramrodding this down the countries throat. I will keep my opinions of this Bill to myself, but in light of the controversy regarding it, maybe..just maybe the govt should leave this to the people who elected them. This is NOT going to stop terrorism in one swipe of the pen. Allow the People of Canada decide the fate of this, not the self guided “representatives” of the people.

Agree with @watchdog ….. ask the question on a ballot at the election.
It’s simple to do at an election at no extra cost.
Let the people of Canada decide if we want this …. not a handful of fascist Harper cronies!

Fortunately for both of you, you do get that opportunity. Two parties in the next federal election voted in favour of Bill 51 in the house and one voted against it and has promised to repeal it if elected.

Hey Bob Zimmer; your government’s controversial anti-terror bill is plummeting in public opinion polls. A lot of reputable organizations and experts have gone on record; concerned Bill C-51 is too vague and too broad, and that it will erode civil liberties and result in unintended consequences. In response to this, your government had a choice between one of two courses of action:

1. Acknowledge their concerns and work speedily to improve the bill; or
2. Claim there is a “widespread misinformation” campaign of “conspiracy theories” at work and that your critics have not bothered to “read the bill”.

Having read your response yesterday to Peter Ewart’s opinion editorial, we now realize which course of action your government decided to take!

Bill C-51 is the kind of thing that I expect from the Reform Party (aka PCs). The federal Liberals support for this bill came as a surprise and shows how far the party has fallen.

Peter seems to think violent eco-terrorism is okay. At least that is the way I read it.

Why are the left so violent?

seamutt , you read it that way because you are a harperette . I guess it’s no wonder he will not do the election debaits with other party leaders in attendants . The fear and cowardess in this man of yours is limitless . Leading from the rear of the closet . What a man .

The biggest peddler of hype are those who constantly criticize the Government under the guise of being concerned about human rights, when in fact their end game is to change out the Government and replace it with a left leaning socialistic Government.

These people spend all their time finding fault with the Government and rarely if ever find anything good to say. This whole process is politics, and of course is one reason why we have opposition parties. The problem is the opposition parties of most Governments know that what they say, and how they say it, it merely an act buffoonery that they are required to go through because it is their job. Once out of opposition and into Government they change their tune.

Those outside of Government ie; some left leaning newspapers, and other organizations that feel threatened by a Conservative Government that might cut their budgets criticize for different reasons. In the end most if not all is politics, politics, politics.

To suggest that statistically terrorism in Canada or the USA is not a serious threat, when 90% or more of the information is not available to the public is misleading.

It would be like telling the Japanese during the second world war that the chances of a hydrogen bomb being dropped on them was non existent because it has never happened before, there is nothing to indicate that it would happen, and statistically it is not a threat.

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki of course one would have to change their tune.

Don’t for a New York minute think that terrorism is not a threat to the USA or Canada. It is. Has been for sometime, and will be for a long time into the future. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that Canadians are being protected as much as possible .

Palopu you forgot to mention another group who is undermining our government, the large environmental organizations who are having they’re charitable status reviewed by the government and are having proven their status as authentic and legitimate, they are as well setting up large smoke screens to order to deflect the topic away from themselves. I think our system and government is being attacked on many fronts.

Peter says

Or how about the Conservative government and RCMP publications justifying anti-terror legislation by equating environmental and First Nations protests with “extremism” (2) and labelling them as “anti-Canadian” (3)?

Did he miss the FN protests back East where 6 cop cars were burnt? or Oka, Caladonia, etc? These would qualify as extreme would they not?

“Don’t for a New York minute think that terrorism is not a threat to the USA or Canada. It is. Has been for sometime, and will be for a long time into the future. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that Canadians are being protected as much as possible”


So Palopu, where do you draw the line? At what point would you think that a government has gone too far in the name of safety and citizen protection?

Wait, I’ve got it. A gun registry?

Gun registry? Who got rid of that.

Ataloss name calling, that all you have? Looks like I won.

Furtree exactly.

The Gun Registry was nothing more than a Liberal ploy to get some votes. Problem is once they brought it in, it took 19 years to get it out. The Gun Registry had nothing to do with international terrorism, and was in fact the reaction to a single person, who was out of control. Its pretty hard to control these types of things.

If you want to talk about individual freedoms, and restrictive legislation look at the **Riot Act** which was read in Prince Rupert BC and Vancouver, BC, and of course the **War Measures Act** which was used by Pierre Trudeau. Under the Riot Act if you do not comply with the act within a specified time frame you can be shot. Under the War Measures Act you can be arrested without cause and held in jail.

So here we have a couple of pieces of legislation that allows the Government under certain circumstances to shot and jail their citizens, however no one seems to concern themselves with these laws. Rather they try to make up a phony **freedom of expression case** against Harper.

Its a pretty sad state of affairs when all we can do is whine and complain, because our Government of choice did not get elected.

“The Gun Registry was nothing more than a Liberal ploy to get some votes . . . and was in fact the reaction to a single person, who was out of control. Its pretty hard to control these types of things.”


Once could argue that you just described C-51, with the obvious differences being you would have to substitute “Anti-Terror legislation” for “Gun Registry” and “Conservative” for “Liberal”. How ironic.

I see the humour in your point NMG and of course we can make any kind of argument that we choose.

Bill C-51 is no where near the worst thing the Conservatives/Harper have wreaked upon the Canadian public, but if this becomes the hue and cry that the citizens finally rally around to keep Harper and the Liberals from gaining a majority, I’m totally fine with it.

Harper and his neo liberals campaigned, and won in my opinion, on transparency and bringing an end to corruption that plagued the previous Liberal government. Now, in my opinion, Harper and his conservatives have become the most corrupt, and secretive government in my lifetime. I think that man is dangerous to the interests of democracy and peace and I would like to see him retire from politics permanently.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Benjamin Franklin, 1755

That’s as true today as it was over 250 years ago.

Sine examples please?

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