Ever wonder why the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is such an international pariah on climate change? Maybe its because they don’t believe in science.
A former minister and current member of Harper’s government penned a letter this week lauding Canada for its inaction on reducing carbon emissions because he believes climate science is hooey.
Maxime Bernier, Canada’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs stated in the French language daily La Presse:
“Every week that goes by confirms the wisdom of our government’s modest position…There is, in fact, no scientific consensus. What’s certain is that it would be irresponsible to spend billions of dollars to impose unnecessarily stringent regulations to resolve a problem whose gravity we still are not certain about. The alarmism that often characterized this issue is no longer at stake. Canada is right to be cautious.”
Bernier went on to opine that the sun might be responsible for temperature changes and that the Earth might actually be cooling.
Anyone doubting that Bernier’s sentiments are not shared by his boss Stephen Harper has not spent much time in Canada lately. Harper’s government has been described as having “tightest message control of any first-world industrialized government” and is renowned for vetting all communications to the media, including letters to the editor.
The Prime Ministers Office now inserts itself into freedom of information requests, stretching the limits of legality in an effort to control the flow of information to public. If Bernier said it publicly, Harper wanted it out there.
Harper himself described the Kyoto process as “a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.” Last year he appointed two climate “skeptics” to high profile scientific bodies in a move described as dreadful by members of the scientific community.
“What would the public think if we appointed outspoken proponents of the fallacy ‘smoking doesn’t cause cancer’ as members of the boards funding medical and, in particular, cancer research?” asked climatologist Andrew Weaver at the time.
The Harper government has flirted with stone-age sentiments several times before. Last year, Canada’s science minister would not confirm whether or not he believed in evolution:
“I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.
The dumbing down of public office by Stephen Harper has regularly embarrassed Canada on the world stage and this latest incident seems part of a pattern.
Bernier himself was forced to resign as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2008 when it was revealed that he left classified NATO documents at the home of his girlfriend Julie Couillard, who was linked to the Hells Angels. The scandal only came to light when Couillard returned the documents to a government office five weeks later.
Bernier had earlier enraged diplomats the world over by musing to the media that the Afghan governor of volatile Kandahar province should be replaced. A notorious prison escape by 1,000 Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects in Kandahar weeks later was widely suspected as an inside job and linked to Bernier’s indiscreet comments.
For the record Bernier is no scientist, holding a bachelors degree in economics and law. But his personal judgment seems to be impeccable…