Common Sense Canadian

Harper govt muzzles Arctic scientists from discussing polar ice melt

PostedAugust 25, 2014 by in Canada

Melting sea ice a help and hindrance to Arctic drilling

Read this Aug. 18 Postmedia story from Margaret Munro on the chill Canada’s Arctic scientists have felt when trying to discuss record polar ice melt with the public.

Federal scientists who keep a close eye on the Arctic ice would like to routinely brief Canadians about extraordinary events unfolding in the North.

But newly released federal documents show the Harper government has been thwarting their efforts.

In 2012, as the Arctic ice hit the lowest point ever recorded, scientists at the Canadian Ice Service were keen to tell Canadians about the stunning ice loss.

“Less ice doesn’t mean less danger. In fact the opposite is true and there is greater need for ice information,” Leah Braithwaite, the service’s chief of applied science said in an August 2012 memo to Norman Naylor, a strategic communications adviser at Environment Canada.

Braithwaite and her colleagues — aware of the national and international interest in the shrinking polar ice — wanted to hold a “strictly factual” technical briefing for the media to inform Canadians how the ice had disappeared from not only the Northwest Passage but many normally ice-choked parts of the Arctic.

The briefing never happened. Nine levels of approval — from the director of the ice service up to the environment minister’s office — were needed for the “communication plan,” according to the documents released to Postmedia News under the Access to Information Act.

“Ministerial services” — the sixth layer — cancelled the briefing, the documents say. And the ice service scientists ended up watching as the Canadian media and public got most of their information from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), where scientists were quick to give interviews, hold briefings and issue press releases as the ice shattered records as it melted from Baffin Island to the Beaufort Sea.

Environment Canada did not immediately respond to written questions sent on Monday about the cancelled briefing. The Privy Council Office (PCO) said any response would come from Environment Canada.

Observers say the case is further evidence of the way the Conservative government is silencing scientists.

“It’s suppression through bureaucracy,” said Katie Gibbs, executive director of Evidence for Democracy (E4D), an Ottawa-based non-profit pushing for open communication of government science.



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Common Sense Canadian



    Harper needs to be kicked out period… now remember this people when voting time comes


    Arctic sea ice has been CLIMBING itself out of a hole. For FOUR STRAGHT YEARS now, Arctic sea ice has been larger than the year before.

    Arctic sea ice actually got busted up by CYCLONES, and then icebergs were EXPORTED out of the Arctic, where they melted in contact with warmer waters, like the Gulf Stream, and the Pacific. People think the Arctic sea ice is just melting up there at the poles… some of it does, but that doesn’t really explain what happened. After the icebergs get blown out of the arctic, the open sea begins to vent heat, 100 times more than when the ice was covering the sea. That makes clouds, and most of the time, up there in the arctic, clouds prevent ice from forming. That is kinda the opposite, as, for the rest of the planet (minus the poles), clouds tend to COOL the earth by reflecting sunlight. Ice has a difficult time forming, as the sea is rough, and breaks up the ice. Once the ice forms, it calms the sea, reduces cloud cover, and makes it easier to form more ice… so once conditions set up to make more ice, lots more ice is formed, and that is what has happened – the ice is (finally) gaining.


    Mr Harper’s bizzare agenda of controling everything that every facet of govt does or says.

    Its frightening.

    I used to vote Conservative but they lost me at the last election becasue of his roughshod style of leadershipand they dont have a hope in hell of getting my vote back any time soon.
    And , trust me, I’m quite conservative in my outlook but when I see his dictatorial style of leadership……forget my vote.
    And if a conservative like me is thinking that way……Harper is toast in the next election


    Harper is cut from the same cloth as the jerk of a PM in Australia who has just canned the entire solar energy power generation industry in favour of the coal industry losing thousands of jobs in the process and also opening up hundreds of thousands of hectares of heretage protected old growth forrest for logging. You will never gues which side of politics he comes from.

      David Kelln

      The present Australian PM has very close connections to Harper and has mentioned how often his advice and guidance have been appreciated. Harper is kind of his mentor. They had a visit together not too long ago. I wonder if they have oil sands in Australia.


    Sure Bill
    A good site to visit which gives a number of interesting articles to read on the subject of global warming, that has not been supported by government paid scientists (who will lose their jobs if they report otherwise): you can start with:
    If you focus on what the mainstream wants you to believe you only have their version. Trick is to research on your own and make your own mind up based upon the evidence that you have seen. I for one think the internet provides a critical thinker with enough doubt to question the mainstream. Water levels have not risen, temperatures have only increased within a degree as it has for 12 thousand years….oh and we should all be taxed for it. There are many on line articles suggesting our earth has been cooling since late 90’s and we are returning to a mini ice age. Lots of good stuff to provoke thinking Bill…cheers


    It is more likely that government political agenda on global warming has been refuted by contrary statistics…that arctic ice melt is reversing and is building in volume.


    So much for freedom of SPEECH.

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