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.
An image supplied by Alberta-based energy company TransCanada that was featured in Canadian government advertising promoting the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington. Photo courtesy of Natural Resources Canada
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s department and his finance minister have personally approved at least two separate multimillion dollar ad campaigns paid for by taxpayers, say government officials.
Both the Finance and Natural Resources Departments said Friday that they developed the two ad campaigns “in consultation” with Joe Oliver’s office and the Privy Council Office.
One campaign, which concluded in April, promoted the Canadian oil industry in the United States. A separate ad campaign is now telling Canadians that the government is helping families.
Oilsands projects that require high pressure steam injected deep underground were excluded from a list requiring mandatory environmental reviews.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has agreed to correct a murky and secretive review process for industrial projects, says a new audit tabled in the Canadian Parliament on Tuesday.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the National Energy Board and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission all told auditors in the report that they would improve weaknesses identified by the audit, including a lack of transparency, the absence of documented evidence to support decisions on project approvals, and inadequate tools to allow for public and aboriginal participation in reviews.
Federal scientists have expressed concerns about the Energy East’s projects impacts on threatened beluga whales. Fisheries and Oceans Canada said one of its top scientists, Véronique Lesage, was not available for an interview. Photo courtesy of GREMM.
A stunning Quebec Superior Court injunction that temporarily halted exploratory work on a major cross-Canada oilsands pipeline project is raising fresh questions about whether the Canadian government muzzled a top scientist while reviewing the industry proposal.
Parks Canada says the Athabasca Glacier, a major source of water to communities and industry in Western North America, has been shrinking for 125 years and “may almost disappear within three generations.” Strong scientific evidence points to human activity as the cause of climate change, says the federal agency.
LAST UPDATED DECEMBER 9, 2014
Canada is being challenged about its own domestic record in addressing the heat-trapping pollution that contributes to global warming.
Here’s a historical timeline of some of the major climate change policies, statements and related decisions made by Canada since 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was first elected to form a government.
From a pledge to introduce a carbon tax in 2007 to internal debates about climate change science, this timeline covers the promises and the action by the Canadian government in recent years.
Participants in a June 2014 “healing walk” around oilsands facilities, close to Fort McMurray, Alberta, stop near a pond filled with toxic tailings waste.
Who are Health Canada’s experts assessing human health impacts of oilsands development? And why has the federal government never done a comprehensive study of health impacts in the region after more than half a century of industrial development?
These are among the questions I asked Health Canada in early July as part of my research for this oilsands story published this week.
Dr. John O’Connor (centre) speaks about health impacts of oilsands development on a panel with Mikisew Cree member George Poitras (left) and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam (right)
FORT McMURRAY, AB – A new study from the University of Manitoba will soon challenge industry and government claims downplaying environmental health impacts of oilsands development, said the chief of a First Nations community Friday.
“When that report comes out, it’s going to blow the socks off industry and government,” Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation told native and non-native supporters gathered at a campsite for an outdoor weekend retreat near major oilsands projects. “We went ahead and did our own independent studies and we found some very stunning results.”