AIMS opinion needs context

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Anytime I am reading an editorial piece and the author refers to those of a different opinion as radicals and extremists it makes me stop and question just whose interests the writer is serving.

In his opinion piece “Radical environmental ideology” appearing in the July 21 edition of The Guardian Mr. Navarro- Genie uses the words radical or extremist (extreme) at least eight times in his short opinion piece. This hardly seems like a reasoned and balanced approach to take, despite the author’s assertions that we should learn from “mistakes made elsewhere” and set “a different tone for energy development” in the east. By this I am assuming that he means that the public debate and subsequent policy development in the east should be less polarized and divisive than it is in the USA.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is a rather inscrutable sounding name; indeed, it would be difficult to tell anything about the group’s ideological leanings based on the name. Unfortunately, I believe that this can lead many readers to assume that the organization is not only non-partisan, but also unbiased in its policy recommendations. AIMS is a social and economic policy think-tank with a focus on issues of importance to Atlantic Canadians. It also has a very clear pro-industry focus; many of its board members represent the energy industry, and it is funded through donations from large corporations. A quick Wiki check shows that the organization has often been referred to as the Atlantic version of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, and that they generally support a “pro-free-market anti-regulation stance”.

In the future, I believe that any guest opinions or editorials appearing in The Guardian where the author is representing an organization should include a “tag-line” that gives the opinion piece some context. This is especially critical when the organization is not widely known. Personally, after learning of AIMS industry focus I am more likely to question the writer’s assertion that “Canada’s environmental standards and conservation policies are the envy of many countries” and do my own research on this claim.

Richelle Greathouse


Organizations: Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Geographic location: USA, The Guardian, Canada

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