Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Price Of Power

The prime directive of any good journalist should be the people's right to know. But consider the saga of Peter Kent. Lawrence Martin writes that Kent, a member of The Canadian Broadcasters Hall of Fame, has been in the forefront of those who make sure Canadian scientists don't talk to journalists:

The latest example of such muzzling concerns David Tarasick a researcher in Kent's ministry who is the co-author of a study on the ozone whole over the Arctic. Tarasick had offered to discuss his findings with the press:

It’s the type of story that Kent once pursued avidly for the CBC. But Kent’s office, as revealed by emails recently obtained by Postmedia, brought out the big muzzle and clamped it on Tarasick’s jaw.

When the issue first arose early in the year, Kent denied issuing any gag order. “We are not muzzling scientists,” he told the House of Commons. It was just, he said, a case where circumstances did not allow Tarasick to give interviews.

The emails contradict this version of events. They reveal officials in Kent’s department thought it would be fine to go ahead with the interviews. But Kent and the Prime Minister’s Office wanted their own propaganda spin on the ozone report — and so they silenced the scientist.

A man who used to enthusiastically chase stories on global warming bowed to the Prime Minister's Office and refused to let journalists know about the latest Canadian research on the environment. After all, the citizens of this country paid for that research. More than that, a functioning democracy needs information:

You’d think that, if one Conservative minister had the courage to stand up and say, “Wait a minute prime minister, this is not the way a democracy works, this is not the way freedom of speech works,” it would be Peter Kent. You’d think he’d be asking the question: “What are we afraid of? What is wrong with airing different views on the subject? If we disagree with Tarasick, we can say so.”

Kent was uniquely placed to do precisely that. But he didn't. Such is the price of power.

This entry is cross posted at Eradicating Ecocide.


Lorne said...

As you say, Owen, such is the price of power. The ease with which people surrender their integrity upon entering public life surely is an indictment of those who aspire to power.

Would it were not so.

Owen Gray said...

One wonders if they missed reading Marlowe's Dr. Fuastus, Lorne. Unfortunately, its an old story.

the salamander said...

Its quite possible that a single Minister will bring this government down. Peter Kent being a fine example.. and Keith Ashfield and Peter Mackay neck and neck. What is not clear is exactly how intertwined Joe Oliver is in driving the various machinations, secrecy, obstruction.. muzzling, policy and legislation on behalf of petroleum interests. Its also not clear which of them is the most dangerous, destructive, disloyal or toxic to Canada.

No mistake, the PMO and Natural Resources are driving the subvert - crush the environment bulldozer. Collusion via related Ministries like Environment are clearly visible. Kent's refusal to adhere to court rulings re caribou habitat can only be due to how that would conflict with tar sand expansion and operations. Fisheries and Oceans are doing the 'good german' routine as they look to enable VLCC bitumen and natural gas tankers into Kitimaat.. and cutting down Coast Guard presence.

There's your new holy disgusting anti environment trinity under the petro god of the west. The damage from just one single Minister that is willing to agree to and support, nay, champion the destructive dictates of Stephen Harper.. is shocking. The efforts of three malignant ministries is catastrophic to our environment.

I think about the cancellation of the Experimental Lakes Area to 'save money'.. then watch how the same government exceeds its advertising and propaganda budget by 10 times the annual cost of the research center. Cancel world renowned research - for sanctimonious, pompous media froth.. of course.. that's good government? One ad mentions how 'our government has dictated - led the charge for double hull oil tankers. sheer nonsense.

Mr. Kent needs to be 'visualized' for average Canadians for what he's become, not who he was. He's become a political toady, unable or simply unwilling to defend the environment his Ministry is charged with protecting. His legacy? Remembered as a hypocrite-sellout-zombie.. perhaps for his strategy to poison and shoot wolves, attack environmental laws, obstruct naturalists and biologists. No doubt he'll be rewarded with a seat in the Senate.. yet despised by a majority of Canadians.

Owen Gray said...

What's remarkable, salamander, is how these folks -- Kent, Oliver, Ashfield and Mackay -- sleep at night.

One would think that, ever since they joined Stephen Harper's party, they've not known a good night's sleep.

Anonymous said...

You know what happened to anyone opposing, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. Harper the dictator, isn't to be crossed either. No-one like any of them, ever lose sleep. They are sociopaths with no conscious. Human lives mean very little, to evil crews such as they are.

Do you think Hitler's henchmen lost any sleep for their murderous crimes? Not on your Nelly. Dictators always have that sort of element to do their dirty work for them. Harper is no different.

There were sudden "resignations" out of Elections Canada. The media are propaganda machines for the government. Canada's top Scientists suddenly vanished. The Arctic Research Station gone, where we don't know? Harper has reneged and lied, on every word he ever said

ICC's Chief Prosecutor, found Harper guilty of, blocking and stonewalling the investigation, on the torture of the detainees. ICC left it up to the RCMP to pursue, Harper's war crimes and crimes against humanity. Seems the RCMP failed again, as usual. They most certainly back away from politicians crimes. Especially Harper's and Gordon Campbell's crimes. Campbell thieved and corruptly sold the BC railroad. The RCMP flatly refused to investigate Campbell's blatant crimes.

Only good, decent people lose sleep, if they hurt others. None of that evil crew of Harper's and Campbell's ever lose sleep. They thrive on evil and corruption. All sociopaths do.

Owen Gray said...

These folks don't appear to have consciences, Anon. That doesn't mean, however, that -- at sometime in the future -- they'll not have to face the consequences of what they've done.

e.a.f. said...

The crew stevie slime keeps around him, he chose with care. Peter Kent is no different. When you look at stevie slime's first bench, I make sure it is after lunch so I don't bring up breakfast. They lie, cheat, do whatever it is necessary to hold on to their positions. I would suggest Harper has a unique talent, finding people who actually have weak principles & exploits it.

Peter Kent was a reporter & a good one, but he is even a better politician who knows how to take care of himself.

Not one of stevie slime's minister stood up to him because if they do, there goes their lifestyle. They don't care, its all about them, as individuals. Not one will do anything to bring stevie slime down, because if they do, they will have less than they did when they joined him.

They all stood by while "stephen treason" sold Canada to the Chinese government. You think they would care if they stiffled a scientist. Its the Chinese government way. If they permitted the scientist to speak about his research it might up set China. Pollution contributes to the problems & China is busy polluting the world with its coal fired factories. The coal they buy in Canada. Its really very simply, follow the money & see whose money might be impacted if the scientist spoke. Politics make for strange bedfellows & they all look like a bunch of low class whores.

Owen Gray said...

Deep Throat's advice to Woodward and Bernstein was good advice -- in any time and place, e.a.f.

The truth is revealed when you follow the money.