I like it when people talk about climate change. I even like it when they speak against climate change – as long as they bring arguments and act rationally. People shouldn’t be forbidden from talking about these kind of things, one way or another – everybody should be encouraged to look at the scientific facts, and emit opinions based on them – not half baked media outlets. However, Canada’s government doesn’t think that way.
Weather forecasters employed by the Canadian Meteorological Service have been banned from publicly discussing climate change. Basically, the government limited them to short term weather forecast and doesn’t allow them to speak about wider causes.
“Environment Canada scientists speak to their area of expertise,” spokesman Mark Johnson told investigative journalist Mike De Souza. “For example, our Weather Preparedness Meteorologists are experts in their field of severe weather and speak to this subject. Questions about climate change or long-term trends would be directed to a climatologist or other applicable authority.” The Meteorological Service of Canada is a division of Environment Canada.
This is pretty strange if you ask me. Of course, it does make sense in a way to stick to your guns, but then again, presenting the weather is only one piece of the puzzle – in order to really understand things, we have to look at the broader picture; and this is Canada we’re talking about, so it makes things really different. ‘How so?’, you might ask.
Well, since 2006, shortly after Stephen Harper’s election as Prime Minister, Canada has implemented many anti-science measures to support the Conservatives’ agenda. First of all, they shut down many research facilities, especially those focusing on climate change. Then, they backed out of the Kyoto protocol, but that’s not even the kicker: in Canada, researchers aren’t allowed to talk about their studies until they get political clearance! This is clearly non-democratic, and no matter how you look at it, it’s clearly a full fledged war on science!
In a survey by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada 86% of respondents said that if a government policy had the potential to harm public health and safety or the environment they “could not share their concerns with the public or media or public without censure or retaliation.” What an amazing government, right? It’s like they want to keep Canadians uninformed, to manipulate them better…
Now, they are focusing in on climate change even more, through meteorology:
“With meteorology we are in a somewhat unique position in that our availability to the media is relatively unrestricted.”
Half of all media inquiries to Environment Canada relate to weather events – as big storms or heavy snows often take place in Canada, and the media is usually all over it. When a big storm is brewing journalists want to talk to an expert fast, and usually don’t even need to wait for the approval of a government official – talk about special treatment!
But now, while forecasters can talk about what is likely to happen, and what has already happened, they cannot discuss why this is happening; and just like any other censorship, the boundaries of what can and can’t be talked are just unclear enough for the government to decide on its own what can, and can’t be talked about. For example, weather forecasters aren’t allowed to talk about rising trends in global temperatures, but it’s not clear if they can discuss historic limits (like the 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere).
It sayd on Wikipedia that Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy – but this doesn’t sound especially democratic, or constitutional to me.