NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY



  September 24, 2013

Canada's Government Silences Scientists, Sides With Corporate Interests


Climate scientists were muzzled from speaking to the press, causing an 80 percent decrease in the coverage of environmental stories
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support The Real News because it is one of the very few outlets that informs without the superficial and pretentious claims of objectivity seen in MSM and even so-called public news sources. - Tony
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Yves Engler is a Canadian commentator and author. His most recent book is The Ugly Canadian - Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy, and previously he published The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy and Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority


transcript

Canada's Government Silences Scientists, Sides With Corporate InterestsJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

In 2008, two years into Stephen Harper's administration, scientists working for the federal agency Environment Canada were told they can't speak with the press unless they had approval from higher up. Now it seems to have ramped up even more, with the Canadian government being accused of silencing scientists, especially in regard to the Alberta tar sands, which, as you know, would be the source of oil that would flow through the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

With us to discuss this issue is activist and author Yves Engler.

Welcome back to The Real News, Yves.

YVES ENGLER, AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST, MONTREAL: Thanks for having me.

DESVARIEUX: So Stephen Harper, he himself being from Alberta, home of Canada's oil boom, has long been known as an ally of Canadian fossil fuel industry. Can you speak about the ways in which the government has been trying to silence scientists?

ENGLER: Yeah. I mean, the first thing is is that they are following a very, very strongly pro tar sands or extractivist policy, as some have put forward, in favor of, you know, mining interests, obviously tar sands interests, which is a type of mining. And in alongside that is a hostility to international climate negotiations, pulling out of the Kyoto protocol, but also is a hostility to investigating and, you know, researching some of the changes to our climate, to our environment.

And in 2007, they brought in new rules around Environment Canada researchers', climate researchers' ability to talk to the media specifically. And internal government documents showed that it led to an immediate 80 percent reduction in the amount of media attention that Environment Canada climate researchers had year over year, so a huge drop in media coverage of Environment Canada researchers.

They've more recently cut the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, just completely eliminated this (and this was a body that had done a certain amount of climate research), cut thousands of--money for--thousands of researchers laid off, thousands of scientists, researchers.

And in recent--well, last week there was--there's growing resistance to this, and last week there was major protests in 17 cities across the country under the banner standing up for science that was led by scientists denouncing these cuts, which have received a certain amount of hostility internationally as well.

DESVARIEUX: So let's talk about how this information has affected policy. What kind of change has there been under Stephen Harper in terms of the federal government dismantling environmental restrictions?

ENGLER: Significant change, most importantly with regards to pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, but also in terms of protected lakes, a couple of thousands. In their omnibus budget bill a year ago, they eliminated protections for a couple of thousand lakes across the country by rewriting the rules. They've been lax, you know, with regards to--and this is more of a provincial matter, but lax with regards to the pollution that comes from the tar sands. There's, you know, a company about a month ago came out that there's just leaking pollution into the ground, up in the Alberta tar sands. The company can't figure out where it's coming from, how to stop it.

So there's been a--this is a government that prioritizes corporate profit, very clearly. And one of the things that's an obstacle to corporate profit, of course, is, you know, evidence-based research, you know, around the ecological toll of the different, you know, tar sands, different other mining policies. And the government has made it very clear that it wants to eliminate, as much as possible, one of the hindrances to corporate profit, which is research into the ecological toll of different extractivist projects.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. And, Yves, you mention that there's been public protest going on against the muzzling of scientists. What has the media's response been to all these demonstrations?

ENGLER: Well, the media's response has been--it's been okay. It's actually been somewhat sympathetic relative to the corporate media in general, partly because the other--another side to Conservatives' muzzling of scientists is this extreme information control. And so, you know, they're blocking scientists from, you know, publishing--government-funded scientists from publishing in academic journals and from talking to journalists.

But they're also--at the same time, they're also, you know, further controlling the press gallery at the Canadian press club. And the ministers and the different ministries respond to journalists quite--control information that they give to journalists as well. So there's a certain level of, I guess, sympathy among journalists to the plight of scientists.

And there's, I think, a certain level of international embarrassment. Last Sunday, The New York Times ran an editorial that criticized the muzzling of scientists in Canada, which got a certain amount of play. And there's been a number of international environmental journalists and leading international scientists that have criticized the government's policy.

But, again, so you have a certain level of sympathy, and if you read the papers closely, there is the coverage of what's going on. But there's fairly middle of sort of connecting the dots between this aggressive hostility towards science and the discussion of science and their strongly pro-corporate policy.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. Well, thank you--.

ENGLER: --dominant media bringing those two, connecting those two things together.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Yves.

ENGLER: Thanks for having me.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Let's Make Real News!
Baltimore's Tax System Takes From the Poor to Give to the Rich
The European Revolt Against the Neoliberal EU (1/2)
DNC Protesters Push into Convention Perimeter Demanding Their Voices be Heard
Donald Trump: The Raw and Naked Face of a System That Showers Speculators with Obscene Riches
Bernie Sanders Supporters Booed Debbie Wasserman Schultz Off Convention Stage
Sanders Supporters React to Meeting with Sanders Ahead of his DNC Speech
Green Party Nominee Jill Stein Leads Rally Outside ‪DNC‬
How Progressive is Elizabeth Warren?
Tariq Ali: Brexit and Migration
Turkey's Night of Long Knives
The Laura Flanders Show: Fighting Islamophobia & Education Apartheid
DNC - Protest Rally Day 1
Defeated at Rules Committee, Fight to End Superdelegates Heads to Convention Floor
Will Sanders Delegates Disrupt the DNCC?
People for Bernie Call For Civil Disobedience at the DNC
Protestors Loudly Demand Entry into DNC Rules Hearing
After Trump's Fear and Security Speech, Damage Control at DNC?
Pocomoke's First Black Police Chief Indicted
Trump Policy Will Unravel Traditional Neocons
Trump's Neo-Fascism Appeals to Victims of Obama/Clinton Economics
Many Sanders Delegates Ready to Fight Over VP Pick
Jill Stein: 'The Politics of Fear has Delivered Everything We Were Afraid Of'
Protests Against Republican Party "War on Women"
Talking Turkey, Kurds and ISIS at the RNC
United States of Amnesia and the Economics of the RNC
The Bought-and-Paid-For Climate Denialism of Mike Pence
Activists to Call for a Clean Energy Future at the DNC
Baltimore Cops React to RNC Sheriff David Clarke and Obama's Call for 'Goodwill and Open Hearts'
Robert Scheer: Neofascist Trump or Corporate Hawk Clinton Are No Choice at All

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting