Expunging Liberal phrases

Embassy Magazine outs the Harper government’s effort to strip foreign policy documents of vestigial Liberal language:

DFAIT insiders tell Embassy that since the Conservative government took power in 2006, political staffers have directed rank and file Foreign Affairs bureaucrats to stop using policy language created by the former Liberal government.

“There are phrases you are not supposed to use,” said one Canadian diplomat, on condition of anonymity. “Anything that smacks of the previous government is totally verboten.

“There is this tendency, almost like a knee-jerk reaction, to discount or ignore or change whatever it is the Liberals did and let’s put a new Conservative face on it,” he added. “There’s a whole range of words and expressions that are being depopulated out of the documents, and are replaced with ones that are more to the [Conservatives'] liking.”

Chief among the forbidden phrases, multiple DFAIT insiders have told Embassy, are “human security,” “public diplomacy” and “good governance.” Preferred key words include “human rights,” the “rule of law,” and “democracy” or “democratic development.”

Susan Delacourt weighs in.

I’ve no time for these Reform Party thugs, but on the whole, I prefer “human rights,” “rule of law,” and “democracy” to “human security,” “public diplomacy” and “good governance.”


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