Canadian Government Press Releases = “Spin”

“An Environment Canada press release advises that Canada will provide garden hoses to fight forest fires.  The Minister of the Environment pointed out that this program will support Canadian jobs.”

No, you will not find this “Press Release” on the Environment Canada site.  Or any other Government of Canada site. The Press Release is a parody of the numerous press releases that are shovelled out every week by Government Media Relations.

Environment Canada or Natural Resources press releases all extol the wonderful efforts of the Harper Government, such as its encouragement of renewable energy, Canada’s reduction of GHG or the support of other countries fighting climate change.   Almost invariably there is a mention of a dollar figure that is impressive . . . . as long as you don’t compare it with the billions of dollars to repair damages resulting from Climate Change or the billions of dollars required to develop reliable alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.

Other frequent claims in Canadian Government press releases are:

  • the Harper government is balancing the reduction of GHG emissions with the need to support Canada’s economy, or
  • the program will produce jobs across Canada, or
  • the financing of the activity is another example of Canada’s role in the fight against climate change/or maintaining the environment.

The authors of the recent Press Release issued by Environment Canada on 5th Assessment Report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had a problem.  The magnitude of the problem made it impossible to employ a nickel and dime “good news” response.   So Leona Aglukkaq, our new Minister of the Environment, took the “best defense is to attack!” approach.  She said:

“Unlike the previous Liberal government, under whose watch greenhouse gas emissions rose by almost 30 per cent, or the NDP, who want a $21-billion carbon tax, our government is actually reducing greenhouse gases and standing up for Canadian jobs.”

Let’s look at  two of these claims.

“. . . actually reducing greenhouse gases”

The Minister omitted to mention that Canada was far short of reductions committed to by the Harper Government at Copenhagen.

“standing up for Canadian jobs”

The Minister did not explain that many of these Canadian jobs were the result of the exploitation of the tar sands and the construction of pipelines across Canada.  This exploitation well nigh guarantees that Canada will not meet its Copenhagen Commitment.

Regretably, Canadian Government Press Releases are not balanced information – they are essentially one-sided “spin”.

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