Media relations officials and diplomats discuss how to release as little information as possible about the Canadian government’s relationship with ALEC.
Getting access to records about government decisions and policies has long played a key role in the work of many journalists around the world. It will also be a key element for me in the weeks, months and years to come.
So to end off 2014, here are a few examples of some of my recent experiences with government efforts to either release or hide information.
The words “climate change” are sometimes hard to find in the Harper government’s published material.
OTTAWA-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is describing fresh allegations of muzzling as “absolutely ridiculous.”
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq rejected criticism from opposition New Democratic Party MP Megan Leslie who said the government “will stop at nothing to hide the consequences of climate change.”
While one American-based climate change skeptic walked away with a $541 soapstone carving, Talisman Energy and other donors to “research” funds at the University of Calgary received tax receipts as a result of a public relations campaign to cast doubt on global warming science, newly released records have revealed.
The revelations from hundreds of pages of invoices and accounting documents from an internal audit come as the university and Talisman, an Alberta-based energy company, move to distance themselves from the sophisticated international marketing and lobbying effort to discredit scientific evidence linking human activity to climate change.
Published by Postmedia News on Wednesday Sep 14 2011
OTTAWA – A pair of “research” accounts at the University of Calgary, funded mainly by the oil and gas industry, were used for a sophisticated international political campaign that involved high-priced consultants, lobbying, wining, dining, and travel with the goal of casting doubt on climate change science, newly-released accounting records have revealed.
The records showed that the strategy was crafted by professional firms, in collaboration with well-known climate change skeptics in Canada and abroad, allowing donors to earn tax receipts by channeling their money through the university.
Talisman Energy kick-started U of C climate skeptic fund
Published by Postmedia News on Tuesday September 13, 2011
OTTAWA – A major Alberta-based oil and gas company helped to kick-start an elaborate public relations project designed to cast doubt on scientific evidence linking human activity to global warming with a $175,000 donation in 2004 channelled through the University of Calgary, a newly-released letter has revealed.
The donation from Talisman Energy was the largest single contribution to a pair of trust accounts at the university that received $507,975 in donations to produce a video and engage in public relations, advertising and lobbying activities against the Kyoto Protocol and government measures to restrict fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Talisman is pleased to be a part of this exciting project and wish you success in the production of the video,” said the letter, dated Nov. 4, 2004, to university account administrator Chantal-Lee Watt, that accompanied a $175, 000 cheque. Continue reading →
OTTAWA – While it has aggressively slammed environmental groups for using foreign dollars to finance a small portion of their budgets, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is being tight-lipped about revelations that climate change skeptics in Canada are getting money from an American think-tank with corporate funding.
Newly released documents have revealed three Canadians were part of a network of academics receiving monthly payments from the Chicago-based Heartland Institute as part of its advocacy work to cast doubt on scientific evidence linking human activity to global warming observed in recent decades.
Two of the three Canadians mentioned in the internal records have confirmed they were getting paid by the Heartland Institute.
OTTAWA – Some of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s newly-appointed senators are emerging as global-warming skeptics in the wake of aggressive government positions to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, slam environmentalists and downplay potential damage caused by Canadian oil and gas exploration.
“I felt like it is kind of an insult to be a denier for a long time,” said Sen. Bert Brown, last month at a parliamentary committee studying energy policies. “It feels pretty good this morning.”
Brown made the comments as the committee heard from four well-known academics who don’t believe humans are playing a major role in warming the planet. The session took place three days after Harper’s government confirmed it would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only legally-binding agreement that requires countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.