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“In stark contrast to its cuddly international image, Canada is the dirty old man of the climate world.”
I had long viewed Canada as America's sane neighbor but their current Prime Minister Stephen Harper has put a screeching halt to that.  Nothing illustrates the horrendous and radical change as starkly as Harper's muzzling and censorship of Canada's scientists, especially on the issue of tar sands.
It began badly enough in 2008 when scientists working for Environment Canada, the federal agency, were told to refer all queries to departmental communications officers. Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands — source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Journalists find themselves unable to reach government scientists; the scientists themselves have organized public protests.
In 2007, Harper was awarded the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) "Code of Silence Award" for his "white-knuckled death grip on public information". "If journalists can't get basic information from the federal government, Canadians can't hold the government accountable. The prime minister's office has repeatedly demonstrated contempt for the public's right to know," [CAJ President] Welch said. "Harper pledged to run a government that was open, transparent and accountable, but his track record to-date has been abysmal."
There is plenty going on in Canadian politics right now that has their media's attention, including three senators involved in a money scandal that is increasingly being tied to Harper.  Here in the USA, the problems with the rollout of Obamacare have taken attention away from Harper's relentless push for the Keystone XL pipeline.  His statement that he "won't take no for an answer" got little coverage.  

Meanwhile, Harper's censorship continues unabated and has even extended to Europe.  Here's the article that prompted me to write this diary, with an excerpt that seems mind-boggling to me:

Censored In Canada, Artist Brings Her Anti-Tar Sands Message To The U.S.
Excerpt: According to James, in 2011 her 20-city European art show was cancelled as a direct result of behind-the-scenes government interference by high-level bureaucrats, including the Deputy Director of Climate Change, Jeremy Wallace, a Canadian Ambassador, Scott Heatherington, and a Senior Trade Commissioner in Berlin, Thomas Marr. According to the internal government documents, James was censored because her art was “advocating a message that was contrary to the government’s policies on climate change.

Originally posted to Eyesbright on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 05:12 PM PST.

Also republished by Canadian Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Want a tar-sands Walnetto? THUNK! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Remediator
  •  In British Columbia we have (6+ / 0-)

    a Minister of Natural Gas (& Housing). The Globe & Mail calls him "Minister of everything." He is ex-RCMP I guess that background will serve him well when the protests begin.

    Rich Coleman, Minster of Natural Gas Development & Housing

    Today I heard former CONSERVATIVE Prime Minister Joe Clark speak on Canada's position on climate change. He said that Canada is going to be known as a climate chaos denier on the world stage. That was in response to a question about Canada's opting out of the Kyoto accord. So the Harper government is not even Conservative, they are corporate stooges.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:12:03 PM PST

  •  Harper won with less than 40% -- (10+ / 0-)

    it is a real dilemma for us Canadians. The center and left vote is split too many ways and it is very hard to guess who to vote for when most people mostly want 'not Harper'.

    I am Canadian and this article is dead on -- on climate change we are the worst country on the planet.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:20:27 PM PST

    •  I weep for my country and I will be demonstrating (8+ / 0-)

      on Saturday at 1 pm PDT in Victoria BC against the Harper government and its destruction of our environment.

      To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:06:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have lots of relatives in Canada (5+ / 0-)

      I'm aghast, as are they, at Harper and his cronies and how blatant they are in all their actions.  Harper seems to know he can get away with whatever he wants to do, whatever lie he wants to tell, regardless of how bad it is for Canada and its people.  I never would have dreamed I'd see Canadians put up with the corruption, the censorship, the lies, etc., ad nauseam.

      I'm reminded of how many of us in America half-jokingly said we'd move to Canada if Bush got elected / re-elected.  It strikes me as incredibly sad that we can no longer look to Canada as a land of sanity.

      They don't win until we quit fighting!

      by Eyesbright on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:53:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Keep your judgment in context. (0+ / 0-)

        If the US had Canada's electoral system, you would have Prime Minister John Boehner. If you also had our multiparty system (which is likely in a parliamentary system) you would have Prime Minister John Boehner with an ~80% majority in Parliament.

        Harper is bad, I'll grant you. But don't act like we're somehow worse than the US. The strength of the Canadian Conservative party is due in no small part to the influence of Republicans next door - American-style right-wing Christianity leaks across the border along with a whole lot of money and talking points. And even despite that, we still manage to keep them out of power most of the time. You'd never be able to do the same. You would have the Permanent Republican Majority.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 08:20:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only Canadians voted for Harper and his cronies (0+ / 0-)

          Your defensiveness seems misplaced in a factual diary about Canadian censorship, with multiple cites that prove the point beyond doubt.

          Additionally, you do yourself no favors when you invent scenarios based on a fantasy about things that don't exist, loaded with virtually impossible "ifs."  

          I'll add, too, that your statement "we still manage to keep them [conservatives] out of power most of the time" seems a little much when Harper has been Prime Minister since 2006.  Granted, we could discuss the definition of "most of the time" but that would be an utter waste of time when the issue is the reality of Harper's relentless censorship of scientific fact.

          They don't win until we quit fighting!

          by Eyesbright on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 10:51:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, global citizen

      I would really like to see us move to instant runoff voting. I think it's almost necessary for a parliamentary system. Unfortunately, I haven't a clue how we would actually get there.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 08:06:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Check out this map (0+ / 0-)

    of Global Forest Change.
    (Maybe someone can post a screen grab?)

    Canada's loss is pretty serious.

    We have to win. Our world is gone if we don't.

  •  Trudeau has waffled, but even he supports (0+ / 0-)

    more tar sand development. He's currently trying to triangulate his position on this, between oil and environmental interests.

    The industry is so embedded in Canadian politics, economy, and recent history, it's going to be tough to extirpate, in my view. Too many heads in the fossil-fuel-rich sand.

    The media censorship certainly doesn't help. And boy do I cringe every time one of those non-stop Oil and Gas Canada TV spots comes on.

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