The Politics of Fear

Written by Harold McNeill on November 1st, 2011. Posted in Editorials


Cartoon - Politics of Fear

The Politics of Fear: Much has been written on how fear is used to manipulate, yet few seem to take the time to think about whether their fear is based on real time event (e.g. a man with a gun pointing it at you) or whether the fear is built from images or stories of others (manufactured fear).  Statistics make it clear that infrequent events (e.g. a man with gun, a terrorist attack) will cause more irrational fear than, say, smoking, something which will very likely will lead to serious illness and possible premature death.

February, 2015.  This post is brought forward as the amount of ‘fear mongering’ (mainly on terrorism in the present day) has increased exponentially as the Conservatives get ready for an election.  Today, February 27, six pages of the National Post carried terror related stories. It has been much the same over the past several weeks as preparations were made for introducing a new terror bill.  Several months back when crime legislation was on the agenda, the fear mongering included ‘crime, drugs and sex offenders’. Murdered, missing and abused aboriginal women (an ongoing crime problem) barely rated a mention by the government or the press. More will be said on that in an upcoming post.

First, this earlier post: 

The following excerpts were taken from recent Conservative Party Fundraising letter as reported by Scott Stinson in National Post PoliticsOfFearNovember 1, 2011 (page A6):

What happened (what is happening on our streets)? Far too many parents have been asking me this question year after year. Canadian families deserve to feel safe in their homes. They deserve to feel safe letting their children play in the front yard, or walk to school. But, they second guess themselves: should I let my children go to their friends’ homes?

“We are finding that crimes involving drugs and child sexual exploitation are on the increase, and we need to give our hardworking police the tools to make our streets safer.”

“Our Government is fulfilling our commitment to take action to protect families and hold criminals accountable. But the opposition are in constant attack mode, and we need your contribution to help families feel safer in their homes and communities, and remove criminals from our streets.” (John Walsh, Federal Conservative Party President) (Bold and underlined as printed in the flyer)

In his assessment, Stinson goes on to state:

Not too subtle, that. It’s not quite: ‘We will protect you while the opposition would rather leave you for dead,” but it’s close. That emphasis isn’t mine, by the way. It is a rich irony that the Conservatives are accusing the other parties of being in “constant attack mode.”

harpie fear4

There is a vast difference between presenting reasonable arguments for or against a given subject than using fear in an attempt to have others support your position. If you don’t support the Conservatives you will likely end up murdered or raped or as one Minister put it when promoting new laws relating to sexual offences: “If you are not with us you are with the pedophiles.”

Scare tactics do nothing to make for “safe streets and communities”, in fact they have just the opposite effect. When people begin to believe that perverts, internet prowlers, druggies and murderers are lurking on-line, in every alley and on every street corner citizens will actually feel less safe on their street and in their community. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Unfortunately the tactic is likely to succeed and far to many honest, hardworking folks will donate $50 or $100 to ‘fight the evil empire’ (e.g. Criminals and Opposition Parties).

For a full discussion of why Bill C-10, the  “Safe Streets and Communities Act”, does little to make for safer and communities go to: Crime and Punishment: Ideology Trumps Reason

Take a moment to express your displeasure with any political party that employs scare tactics to influence your behaviour or in an attempt to have you to contribute to their party coffers.

Harold McNeill

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Comments

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read your life account of Pibroch excellent.
    My family mowed to Pibroch in 1942 Dad was grain buyer for Searle Grain Company lived in town for 5 years than mowed one mile East to the farm on the corner of the road from Pibroch and Hwy 44. Bro Don still lives there.I went to school with both you and Louise.

  • DOROTHY MARSHALL

    November 15, 2021 |

    These stories brought back some sweet memories for me. a wonderful trip down memory lane . the photos were great. It has made me miss those days.

  • DOROTHY MARSHALL

    November 15, 2021 |

    Enjoyed your story Harold Dorothy Hartman