NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • 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 -   October 3, 14
    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 Network because it gives members an opportunity to make uncensored comments. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    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

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Historic Victory for SYRIZA Greece
    Now in Power, SYRIZA Faces Herculean Task
    American Sniper: Honoring a Fallen Hero or Whitewashing a Murderous Occupation?
    Holder's Move on Civil Forfeiture Only a Dent in Abusive Police Practice
    TRNN Replay: Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    McCain Calls 'Cold Warriors' to School Senate on National Security
    The Saudis - Oil, ISIS and Revolution
    Republican Abortion Ban Could Put Pregnant Women's Lives in Peril
    GOP Leadership's Invitation to Netanyahu a Provocation Aimed at War with Iran
    'We are going to destroy the Greek oligarchy system'
    TRNN Replay: What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Greek Right Fears First Left Government in Greek History
    Pre-Election Posturing Behind Netanyahu's DC Visit
    SYRIZA Heads Towards a Majority in Greece as Elections Approach
    How Obama Can Reduce Carbon Emissions Without Congress
    Feds Won't Pursue Civil Rights Case Against Darren Wilson
    TRNN Replay: American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship is Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism"
    What Triggered AETNA's Pay Raise to $16/hour?
    Climate Change Crisis Buried in the State of the Union
    The Socialist Response to the State of the Union
    The Global African: Top Stories of 2014
    Can the Union Be Strong Amidst Global Recession?
    No Black or White America says Obama
    Does Obama's Support of TPP Contradict His Immigration Policy?
    Israel Kills Hezbollah Leaders Ahead of Elections
    GOP to Obama: North Korea Sanctions Aren't Enough
    The Making of Norman Finkelstein - Reality Asserts Itself (8/8)
    Removing the Social Security Tax Cap Would Benefit Most Workers
    The SYRIZA Challenge in Greece (2/2)
    The SYRIZA Challenge in Greece (1/2)

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