My Canadian readers may be familiar with this common phenomenon: I have a few American readers of this blog, and even among them, it is not uncommon to hear frustrated expressions of desire to become Canadian when their politics adds another razor-wire loop to the loopiness that it is. My Canadian readers will also be familiar with the both the feeling of flattery tinged with a small amount of guilt: justified guilt that it is not deserved.
Until now, Environment Canada has been one of most open and accessible departments in the federal government, which the executive committee says is a problem that needs to be remedied.
It says all media queries must now be routed through Ottawa where "media relations will work with individual staff to decide how to best handle the call; this could include: Asking the program expert to respond with approved lines; having media relations respond; referring the call to the minister's office; referring the call to another department," the presentation says.
Gregory Jack, acting director of Environment Canada's ministerial and executive services, says scientists and "subject matter experts" will still be made available to speak to the media "on complex and technical issues." He would not explain how "approved lines" are being written and who is approving them.
This sort of thing will be no surprise to anyone following the saga of the frankly excellent Linda Keen, the Canadian nuclear regulator who stood up to a Canadian government presently dominated by an unadulterated Bushian neocon. (Her total smackdown testimony linked from here.) And by dint of that, these tactics should be highly familiar to American readers, as they were learned from You Know Where.