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here’s how it works…

December 9, 2016

Kinder Morgan protest, Vancouver


in the big town of Bancroft (rural eastern Ontario, pop 3000), which is, in fact, my hometown, a semi-retired environmental scientist organized a Kinder Morgan protest vigil a couple of weeks ago.

About 25 people – mostly women – came out to stand in the snow and the cold with her; …here in Bancroft, 3000 miles away from Kinder Morgan, standing vigil in a town, I might add, that supports pipelines. It rained pretty steadily all evening. I stayed home, lit a cozy fire, and played romper room with my girlfriend.

Good for them.

Of that 25 people, two were Ontario Provincial Police Officers sent here from Smith Falls to monitor the vigil. Smith Falls is where some sort of anti-terrorist monitoring office is headquartered. It’s hard to say what it’s actually called. I’m sure they have an official name, but it’s not on their webpage. Smith Fall’s, according to Google Maps, is about 200kms from here.

They told the environmental scientist who they were, and where they had come from. They told her they were here to monitor her activities. They also mentioned that they were also monitoring the non-profit environmental website she was affiliated with (, that this was how they got her name, and they told her that they were watching’s activities as well.

We all thought this a bit much when she related the story to us – a total waste of taxpayers’ money, and we agreed that it sounded alot like the surveillance over-reach talked about in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.


This past week, when our Prime Minister Mr. Shiny Pony® approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline (and another pipeline as well), she was again contacted by the Smith Falls police office, and asked what “her intentions” were, now that the pipeline had been approved?

They called her at home. (She lives alone.)

She told this story to me here in the cafe. We were now a bit more horrified at the open attempt at benign intimidation. She wondered if she’d be put on a no-fly list? Would her taxes be audited?

What would be the next protocol in this game of casual intimidation?

As I am now a local op-ed writer for our local newspaper, I took the story to my boss who got back to me saying that: 1) the newspaper would want permission from the OPP to run the story; and, 2) that the newspaper can’t afford to take on the OPP without it – they don’t have the legal resources. (The newspaper has since confirmed that they do not need any police permission for any story they decide to print.)

This, my friends, is exactly how the neo-fascism virus is beginning to bloom in Canada.

It creeps in quietly, when we’re all watching the hockey game, eating donuts at Tim’s.

The Banality of Evil is what Hannah Arendt once called it. Color between the lines and no one gets hurt. Think outside the box, and you will be watched.

This, my friends, is also exactly how much freedom-of-the-press we are currently “privileged with” in Canada.

The big national newspaper – owned by one of the wealthiest families in Canada – triumphs the Kinder Morgan decision as a realistic political compromise that is guaranteed to make jobs and win votes.

Should you disagree, if the scientists disagree with the decision (oh, and they do!), if perhaps adding an additional 1.3 million barrels of oil to daily world production may not, in fact, be the best decision for the planet, and if you want to voice that disagreement, then the police will monitor you, and quietly and politely (for now) let you know that they are watching you and all of your friends.

That’s the capitalist way, isn’t it?

cheers and holiday merriment,

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2016 10:37 am

    Reblogged this on C.M.M.A and commented:
    The evil face of Facism in Canada

  2. Douglas Smith permalink
    December 20, 2016 1:43 pm

    Sorry, being over here in Haliburton, that I missed the parade!

    You are certainly not alone in suffering abuse on the part of officials who supposedly are employed to protect us. If anything, police misbehaviour will become more frequent and intrusive in future years as political and economic crises multiply across the nation. We should never forget that the authorities attempt to threaten us only because they themselves feel threatened..

    Most simply, acts of verbal intimidation can be dealt with by a polite refusal to cooperate. At the next level one can in part turn the tables by requesting the cop’s identification, copying the information down laboriously, then requesting the name and rank of his/her supervisor, likewise copying that down. Following that, one can legitimately request the name and address in full of their home detachment, explaining that that is for the purpose of subsequent correspondence. Also inquire what legislation or statute justifies their actions. In other words, try to waste as much of their time in being interrogative as they are wasting yours.

    It is advisable to rehearse this tactic before putting it into play, because the cops are counting on your initial fluster and consternation to ensure compliance with their obnoxious and un-Canadian behaviour.

  3. Peggy Wildsmith permalink
    December 20, 2016 1:57 pm

    Well said. Thank you for writing this. I especially like yet another descriptive name for our boy toy PM. Prime Minister Shiny Pony. But in all seriousness. This is a timely and very worthwhile read for all Canadian. Thank you.

  4. Deborah OConnor permalink
    December 20, 2016 9:26 pm

    Funny, I appreciated the article very much but had one objection: the description of our Prime Minister as a shiny pony. When I hear that phrase I automatically discount the value of whatever is being communicated.

    That aside, I am sharing this far and wide because it is a real threat to our freedom in Canada.

    • S.J. Hines permalink*
      December 21, 2016 11:45 am

      ha,that’s funny – the Toronto Star just yesterday called him Prime Minister Gibberish.

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