Tories Try to Hide Health Canada Report That Urges Action on Climate Change

21 Aug ’08

With every passing day, Harper’s government becomes less and less distinguishable from Shrub’s. The latest data point is news that the Tories have tried to hide a Health Canada report that:

calls on decision-makers, governments and stakeholders to step up their efforts to prevent global warming from threatening the nation’s air quality, saying the bad air increased the spread of diseases and caused premature deaths. It also warns that Canadians can expect inevitable and at times severe health-related impacts associated with climate change.

because, of course, our knowing that would be bad.

The Tories’s mendacity lies in their method. First, publication of the report was apparently delayed for over a year (no doubt, once apprised of its contents bureaucrats decided further “study” was required). Then, a Canadian tour to promote the report was cancelled (no doubt, scheduling conflicts). Remarkably, once the report was “ready” it was released quietly, without fanfare. The Tories have had practice using this ploy:

A similar fate befell another major climate-change study released earlier this year by Natural Resources Canada.

After years of research, input from more than 140 experts and $50,000 paid to a public-relations firm to plan its release, Natural Resources posted the study online after 5 p.m. on a Friday with no flourish.

Finally, bizarrely, once the report was released it was not made available online. Why not? “Yesterday, Montreal-based newspaper Le Devoir quoted Health Canada spokesman Paul Spendlove as saying the report is not up for download because of it’s big “size.”” The english version is a 9 meg file, which makes it a trivial download, by any honest standard.

One of the contributors to the report, who’s obviously been in a few knife fights, had some pointed observations:

Mr. Soskolne said the government has a “strange” approach in handling the release of reports and drew a parallel with an environmental assessment he did five years ago for the Azerbaijan government that will finally be released in the coming year.

He said the similarities in the handling of the release of the Health Canada report and that of the report for the former Soviet state gave him “a reason to reflect on the state of the current governance in Canada.”

Ouch. In any event, our Government is a shockingly inept liar. Bad things happen in the dark. Weaselly, juvenile efforts by government to avoid taking responsibility for itself should be assiduously rooted out and exposed. Cue blogosphere.

English version here, French here.

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