Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Thu, 2012-12-06 12:53Jim Hoggan
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The Web We Weave When We Practice to Deceive

Peter Kent, Environment Minister

We are not muzzling scientists.” - Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister.

I shook my head reading Margaret Munro’s Weekend Vancouver Sun article on freedom of information documents that caught Canada’s Minister of the Environment lying about muzzling scientists.

Kent has repeatedly denied that the government is muzzling scientists. But according to the documents, Kent’s office clearly muzzled Environment Canada researcher David Tarasick, preventing him from speaking to a number of media outlets about an unprecedented hole that appeared in the ozone layer above the Arctic in 2011.

According to Munro, “the documents also say Kent’s office and the Privy Council Office, which reports to the prime minister, decide when and if Environment Canada scientists are allowed to brief the media about anything from wildlife to water quality.”

Why would the Minister of the Environment block public discussion of scientific work that may be important for the health and safety of Canadians and their environment?

Fri, 2012-10-19 11:00Carol Linnitt
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China-Canada Investment "Straitjacket:" Interview with Gus Van Harten Part 3

This is the third and final post in the series China-Canada Investment “Straitjacket:” Exclusive Interview with Gus Van Harten. You can access Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Canada has already begun the short countdown to the day the China-Canada Investment Deal becomes ratified in the House of Commons, although the nation has been granted no opportunity to clarify or discuss the full economic or environmental significance of the agreement - the most significant in Canada's history since NAFTA.
 
Prime Minister Harper, who signed the agreement in Vladivostok in September, is forcing this deal through with such force and brevity it makes the undemocratic Omnibus budget bill C-38 look like a dress rehearsal. 
 
International investment lawyer and trade agreement expert Gus Van Harten has landed center-stage in the controversy as one of the only figures willing and qualified to speak up against the investment agreement. He told DeSmog that Canada's rush to enter into an investment deal of this sort endangers Canadian democracy, threatens Canadian sovereignty and could fracture the government's loyalty to its people. 
 
In this post, the final segment of our interview with Van Harten, he discusses in more detail just how bad this deal is for Canada economically and how much it threatens to corrupt our way of doing business. 
Fri, 2012-01-20 10:41Emma Pullman
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Friends with Benefits: The Harper Government, EthicalOil.org and Sun Media Connection

Just over a week before the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings began, EthicalOil.org and its allies launched a pre-emptive PR offensive on environmental and First Nations groups who oppose the pipeline. Their new website, OurDecision.ca, and ad campaign are an attempt to invalidate opposition to the pipeline by pointing to the small amount of American funding going to some environmental groups, and claiming that pipeline opponents are actually the “puppets” of “foreign interests.”

Sun News was first to promote the campaign, and by the end of the week, numerous papers across Canada were repeating the story. After mentioning last November that “significant American interests” would line up against the pipeline, Stephen Harper eagerly picked up where he left off, touting EthicalOil.org's cause, decrying the foreign influence attempting to “overload” the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Review. By Monday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver had penned a letter to Canadians denouncing the foreign interests trying to “hijack” the review process “to achieve their radical ideological agenda”. The same ominous tone and divisive talking points were parroted over and over by EthicalOil.org, Harper, Oliver and the credulous media, driving an entire week of news coverage.  

The OurDecision.ca campaign was timed to hit national news just as many Canadians were tuning into this issue for the first time, and this frame (“foreign interests” vs. a “Canadian decision”) could have a lasting impact on how people view one of the most important debates in a generation. 

So how did a small industry front group with secretive funding sources manage to have so much impact on the national conversation? Well, it looks like the Harper government, EthicalOil.org, and Sun Media have coordinated with one another to create an echo chamber that turns industry talking points into national news. We'll show how one digital communications company intimately connects EthicalOil.org, the Harper Government and Sun Media.

Fri, 2011-05-27 13:10Emma Pullman
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Documents Reveal Canada's Secret 'Oil Sands Team' in Europe

DeSmog has helped to document the Canadian government’s extensive efforts in Europe to kill climate change legislation targeting the Alberta tar sands. In a major development today, official documents obtained though an Access to Information request by the Dominion newspaper exposed a nefarious “pan-European oil sands advocacy strategy” that is much more coordinated than previously understood. 

According to Martin Lukacs at the Dominion Paper, the Canadian government has carried out a secret plan to boost investment and keep world markets open for Alberta’s filthy tar sands oil. Their strategies include collaboration with major oily allies to aggressively undermine European environmental measures.

Sat, 2011-04-09 04:45Jim Hoggan
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Canadian Leadership Has Failed To Honor Its Commitment To Curb Climate Pollution, It’s Time For Action

An Environment Canada report recently published in Geophysical Research Letters confirms that Canada’s lack of action on climate change is likely going to mean an inevitable 2 degrees Celsius of warming projected by 2100.  The report, entitled Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases, suggests that Canada must “ramp down to zero [carbon emissions] immediately” to avoid a 2 degree Celsius rise in worldwide temperature.

That will be nearly impossible, since current Canadian leadership still has no climate policy in place to deliver on such an uncompromising action plan. The Vancouver Sun notes some of the consequences of inaction: “Allowing temperatures to climb more than 2 C could wipe out thousands of species, melt Arctic ice and trigger a rise in sea level of several metres.”

Environment Canada’s latest study confirms that Stephen Harper and other leaders have not honored their international commitments to avoid the dangerous climate disruption that will ensue with 2 degrees C or more of rising temperatures. Unfortunately, the Harper government remains a master at climate change inaction.  



Wed, 2010-10-20 13:51Brendan DeMelle
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Oil Industry And Canadian Govt Team Up To Attack European Fuel Standards That Could Limit Alberta Tar Sands Development

The Tyee has an excellent piece exploring the joint lobbying efforts of the Canadian government and the oil industry to attack European climate legislation that would set a precedent that could eventually impact the development of Alberta’s dirty tar sands.  

While very little of Alberta’s tar sands oil is currently exported to Europe (nearly all goes to the U.S.), the entrenched tar sands defenders in Canadian government and the oil companies who stand to profit from tar sands development are concerned that Europe’s efforts to favor low-carbon fuel sources could influence other countries that also need to find ways to reduce global warming emissions - say the U.S. for instance.

That could spell disaster for the Alberta tar sands profiteers, since the tar sands are known to have a far greater carbon footprint than conventional oil, and certainly more than rapidly-growing alternative fuels. 

Wed, 2009-04-08 11:16Mitchell Anderson
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Canada's Prime Minister Installs Tar Sands Exec as "Clean Energy" Envoy to US

The Harper Government just sent a clear signal of the real agenda for the so-called “clean energy dialogue” with US government.

Under intense questioning from opposition politicians, Ottawa finally fessed up that former tar sands executive Charlie Fisher will represent Canada in these high level negotiations with Obama Administration.

Long-time observers of Canada’s already pathetic record on climate change were understandably apoplectic.

Appointing Charlie Fischer sends a clear signal that this is about promoting the tar sands, period,” said Stephen Hazell, executive director of Sierra Club Canada.

The government of Canada seems to be coming at this whole clean energy dialogue from the perspective of how can they get special exemptions for the tar sands industry so that, when a cap-and-trade system is implemented, the tar sands aren’t affected.”

Until last December, Fisher was the president and chief executive officer of Calgary-based oil giant Nexen, which has a huge stake in the continued expansion in the Alberta tar sands.

Just last December they ponyed up an additional $735-million in a property that has about 2 billion barrels of extractable crude locked up in tarry bitumen. The company also owns 7% of tar sands giant Syncrude.

If Fisher’s recent leadership of a major oil sands player is not enough to completely compromise his involvement in “clean energy” negotiations with the US, he also had (and may still have) a hefty personal stake in the tar sands.

As of December, Fischer owned over 500,000 common shares in Nexen, then worth about $9.5 million, as well as options on three million more shares. Since he is no longer required to report these trades, the public no longer knows what his personal involvement is.

Oh yeah, he was also a registered lobbyist up until January of this year.

In one of the better straight lines in modern Canadian political history, the Harper government deadpanned: “Every step will be taken to ensure the integrity of the working groups are maintained.”

Wed, 2008-09-24 13:32Mitchell Anderson
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Hyperbole and The Myth of the Fiscal Conservative


The Liberals released their 76-page platform this week, including the proposed carbon tax, to predictable ridicule from the Conservatives.

Prime Minister Harper ranted against the idea of taxing carbon as “crazy”, “insane”, and something that would “screw everyone across the country” and “wreck” the economy. The Tory leader went on to trash the Liberal plan as “a work of political and economic incompetence”.

Wow Stephen. Calm down.
Tue, 2007-10-09 10:36Bill Miller
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Growth has already pushed Earth past tipping point, new study says

A soon-to-be-released UN report says runaway economic growth has pushed greenhouse-gas emissions to dangerous levels much faster than previously estimated, and instead of reaching the threshold within a decade, new research indicates it was actually crossed two years ago. The findings will highlight the perils of giving economic growth priority over efforts to curtail global warming.

Mon, 2007-10-01 09:54Bill Miller
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Canada’s CEOs urge 'aggressive' action on global warming

An organization of Canadian chief executives says climate change is the “most pressing and daunting” issue the world faces today and business must do its share to fight the problem. The cost will be great, they say, and government intervention will be needed.

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