Straight Talk
EDITORIAL - Time to dial down the rhetoric on Idle No More

An Aboriginal protester expresses displeasure with the Prime Minister during a demonstration outside the offices of the Winnipeg Sun in Winnipeg, MB Saturday Jan. 12, 2013.



Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you probably know the Idle No More protesters have a hate on for several pieces of federal legislation.

Bill C-45, an omnibus bill which they contend weakens environmental protection for waterways, has borne the brunt of the protesters' ire, but they've also taken aim at a slew of other laws, including omnibus Bill C-38, the Indian Act, the First Nations Elections Act and the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

Sadly, there's one law which seems to have escaped the protesters' attention: Godwin's Law.

Godwin's Law has nothing to do with First Nations issues. It's an axiom that states in any discussion, the first person to compare the other to Adolf Hitler has immediately lost the argument.

Well, if that's the case, then the Idle No More protesters have already lost the debate.

At scores of protests across the country, signs have been seen comparing Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Hitler. One of those signs - at a small rally outside the Winnipeg Sun last weekend - even referenced "Stephen Hitler and the IllumiNazis," thus hitting the daily double of harebrained analogies.

For the record, Adolf Hitler was the Nazi madman who plunged the world into six years of war and was responsible for the mass murder of six million European Jews. Stephen Harper is our 22nd Prime Minister, democratically chosen by the people of Canada in three successive federal elections.

Now that we've got that straight ...

The Hitler comparison is by no means the only example of over-the-top rhetoric emanating from the Idle No More movement. They've threatened to shut down highways, rail lines and the entire economy. They've defaced a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Kingston. Closer to home, they've threatened to beat up a female editor at the Winnipeg Sun and they've urinated on copies of the newspaper for the benefit of YouTube viewers. Classy.

That's the problem with grassroots movements. Once you ramp up the rhetoric, supporters think they have carte blanche to do stupid things. And when that happens, your message gets lost.

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