You may not be aware that for decades, American right-wing and corporatist groups have been pouring millions into Canadian politics to make it a more conservative and business-friendly place. Apparently that investment is paying off:
Meteorologists are paid to talk expansively about the weather. But in Canada, they have to choose their words a little more carefully.
The government has made it clear that none of the meteorologists on its payroll should be talking about climate change, according to a new report. It’s unclear how long this rule has been in effect, but Environment Canada, the government entity that shares weather and meteorological information publicly, explained its position in a statement to us.
“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,” said Danny Kingsberry, a spokesman for Environment Canada. Some scientists aren’t too happy about it.
“It’s all very scary,” said Dr. Chris Metcalfe, Director of the Institute for Watershed Science at Trent University. “It’s all about controlling the message. In my estimation the government doesn’t want the work of environmentalists running counter to their official policies.”
Environment Canada declined to answer additional questions, but Dr. Metcalfe says the rules around referencing climate change are part of a broader effort by the government to muzzle scientists whose messaging interferes with key industries. He says some of his peers in government are calling it quits rather than abide by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s language police, “Several scientists are choosing to retire over their unhappiness with the present situation,” he says.