Canadian Government Fires Environment Ministry Scientists and Meteorologists, Hires Oil Lobbyists

burtynsky oil sands image
Image credit Edward Burtynsky on the Alberta Tar Sands

I just love the juxtaposition of these two stories in today's newspapers; in The Star, we learn that the Environment Ministry is cutting 700 Meteorologists, scientists, chemists and engineers, or about 11% of the workforce. "I think it speaks volumes about this government's priority as it relates to the environment," says Bill Pynn of the Union of Environment Workers. According to the Star:

The job losses will badly hurt the ability of the science-based department to do its job on issues such as climate change, monitoring water and air quality and wildlife species. ". [says another union leader:] I just don't think the department can continue to do its science with that magnitude of cuts."

Meanwhile, from the Guardian, we learn that when it comes to lobbyists, they're hiring:

The Canadian government has been accused of an "unprecedented" lobbying effort involving 110 meetings in less than two years in Britain and Europe in a bid to derail new fuel legislation that could hit exports from its tar sands.

Even though no Alberta oil goes to Europe, the Canadians are worried that Americans might demand higher standards.

Darek Urbaniak, extractives campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "It is unprecedented that a government of one of the most developed countries can devise and implement a strategy that involves undermining independent science and deliberate misleading of its international partners. The Canadians are asking for further research and further delays. This tactic is reminiscent of the tobacco industry in its attempt to delay action on health.

So on the one hand, the Canadian government tells the Europeans that there needs to be more science, more research, and then on the other hand, it fires the people who do the science and the research. Makes sense to me.

But hey, it's all ethical oil, so that makes it OK.

More on the oil sands:
Canada's New Environment Minister's Job: Shill The Tar Sands as "Ethical Oil"
What Goes Into (And Comes Out of) A Barrel Of Tar Sands Oil

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Tags: Alberta


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