The following is from a radio show called Royal City Rag, run by Jan Hall. The show is on CFRU 93.3 fm, 7-9am on Saturdays. Jan has invited to her show numerous people involved in the issue of the HCBP, and has been writing about it as well. Jan’s analysis is appreciated because it recognizes the sliminess of the City’s handling of this, and how the City’s media relations strategy seems to be to try and divide and conquer – to link in the minds of the general public the occupation with scary criminal activity, so as to alienate us from broader public support.
Also worth viewing is Jan’s link to Mayor Farbridge’s August 14 speech at the Rotary Club (also available here: rotary-guelph-august-14), where she asks those in attendance to ” join the City in speaking out against those individuals and organizations that resort to intimidation to get their way and silence different points of view.”
It really is shameful that this is the same person who authorized a $5 million lawsuit and hyped-up criminal charges against some of the occupiers. Talk about intimidation….
Intimidation And The Hanlon Creek Business Park, Who’s Fooling Who?
Jan Andrea Hall
In recent weeks we’ve talked about the City of Guelph’s ongoing public relations campaign against the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP) occupants.
The Guelph Mercury, in a recent editorial, has finally challenged the City of Guelph over the hyperbole they have been using, (see the September 3 press release) in what some would say, is a deliberate attempt by the City to demonize the occupation and alienate the activists from the general population of Guelph.
This makes a change from just taking a news release, dressing it up a little and turning it around as news.
The Mercury calls the City out for using phrases like ‘holding the city hostage’ , pointing out in the process that the occupation of the HCBP was a political act by a group of environmental activists frustrated by the City’s lack of dialogue with opponents of the project. Quite rightly they demand clarification.
Its also interesting to note that Guelph Police rushed out a press release on Friday afternoon about intimidation of a relative of someone working with the city on the Hanlon Creek project. The group accused of the intimidation apparently called themselves “Friends of the Hanlon Creek” although there is no proof offered that these individuals have anything to do with the recent occupation.
You may ask why, with the description of the perpetrators that was undoubtedly provided by the witness, including documentary evidence (a written warning he was given), the police didn’t go straight out and arrest the culprits?
Or was that not the intent of the press release?
Perhaps as the Mercury and local media reported this incident immediately, the goal had been achieved?
Interestingly, Karen Farbridge had this to say when she addressed the Guelph Rotary Club on August 14.
“Increasingly I am hearing people say they feel fearful and intimidated by what they see and hear. We cannot allow intimidation to take root in our community.
Even the perception of intimidation destroys community and compromises our ability to work together. Our community is being held hostage. The lawlessness must end.
I would ask you to join the City in speaking out against those individuals and organizations that resort to intimidation to get their way and silence different points of view…”
I hope I’m not the only one that shuddered when they read that.
You can read the whole text of what she had to say, here.
Notice the words intimidation and holding the city hostage?
What a coincidence that almost three weeks before the September 3 press release the Mayor is using the very same words.
Who’s fooling who, A small group of environmental activists with a blog or the City with a large communications staff, and, I’m sure, hired help to manage the public relations campaign?
Of course, the Mayor may also intend to include other organizations that have concerns about this development as currently envisaged.
Intimidation. Who’s fooling who?
Jan Andrea Hall