EDITORIAL: Give us a real resistance

Because Maclean’s Magazine’s definition isn’t satisfactory

The word ‘resistance’ is not just a word. As with most language, there are substantial connotations that can be attributed to it.

Perhaps one of the most famous resistances took place in Nazi-occupied France in WWII. La Resistance was a collection of grassroots groups that fought against the racism and hatred perpetuated by the Nazis. There were small factions of this movement who could only communicate in underground newspapers out of fear of being oppressed. They risked their lives to fight against something bigger, even though it would have been safer to have stayed hidden in their homes as the Nazis ruled over France.

Currently in the United States, there is another resistance that has formed called the Resistance Party. Their aim, as stated on their website, is to “fight to defend the constitutional rights, democratic norms, and the rule of law of the United States.” The party has formed in response to President Donald Trump, who has continued to infringe upon basic human rights — as seen in his executive order from this summer to separate children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, or his most recent decision to ban a CNN reporter from the White House on the basis of a misleading video.

These men and their actions seem to conform more with the dominant culture and power systems rather than any form of ‘resistance’.

Considering what these resistances have stood and currently stand for, we find it misleading for Maclean’s Magazine to call a group of old, powerful, and white males — many of whom have expressed implicit or explicit homophobic and anti-environmental sentiments, and whose uniting force is that they oppose Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax — a ‘resistance’.

For some context, Maclean’s most recent cover is a photo of five men: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, United Conservative Party of Alberta leader Jason Kenny, Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.  The cover labels these men as “The Resistance,” which leads us to question how these five men connect, if at all, with the traditional view of resistors.

Moe has openly stated he is against abortion and would support a discussion about requiring mandatory parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. Kenny is also a strong social conservative, having stated that parents should have the right to know if their child has joined a Gay-Straight Alliance club. Ford, meanwhile, scrapped the cap-and-trade program — which controls greenhouse gas emissions while providing rebates for people using green technology — in his first 100 days in office, and is repealing the Green Energy Act by canceling hundreds of renewable energy contracts. Ford also drew attention early on in his Premiership when he scrapped the Ontario education curriculum that provided education opportunities on inclusivity, same-sex relationships, masturbation, and gender identity.

They’re not risking their lives — though by resisting common sense environmental policy, they’re certainly risking the lives of generations to come.

Looking at the actions and ideals of the five men depicted as ‘the resistance’, we can perhaps understand where Maclean’s might have been going with their eye-catching hook — these men are resisting environmentalism, social activism, or the more negative term, ‘social justice’. But the publication has failed to get their message across effectively, since these men and their actions seem to conform more with the dominant culture and power systems rather than any form of ‘resistance’.

As Sean Fraser, Liberal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change said in the House of Commons, “The only thing that these men seem to be resisting is progress on social and environmental issues.” They are sticking with the norm, and they’re not having to work too hard at it, either. They’re not risking their lives — though by resisting common sense environmental policy, they’re certainly risking the lives of generations to come. And they also have powerful corporations backing them up.

Suffice to say, Maclean’s use of the term ‘resistance’ is not inaccurate, but it is careless. Given the history of the term resistance, to call what these men are standing for a ‘resistance’ is contradictory, and detracts from the honourable resistances from the past and present that truly stand up against the norm.

Leave a Reply