Orwell's Ghosts Loose in the Federal Bureaucracy

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There was a rumour, about a month ago, that the feds had decreed that allOrwell's 1984 references to Kyoto should be removed from publicly accessible websites “effective immediately” – presumably to conform to the federal Conservatives’ hostile new approach to Kyoto and the political preference to cozy up instead to the do-nothing crowd in the Asia Pacfic Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

Although the source of the rumour was “usually reliable,” the notion seemed entirely too Orwellian.

But now we have this: The feds’ own climate change site once offered a verbose, but realistic analysis of the problem and a high-minded, but unconvincing account of what the government was doing about it (see the full text, appended at the bottom).

Now it says merely:

The Government of Canada is committed to the development and implementation of a Made-in-Canada plan for reducing greenhouse gases and ensuring clean air, water, land and energy for Canadians. The Made-in-Canada approach will be effective, realistic and focus on achieving sustained reductions in emissions in Canada while ensuring a strong economy. The Government will develop solutions that have clear environmental benefits to Canada and improve our ability to market new technologies around the world.

Never mind removing a reference to Kyoto; the words “climate change” have been expunged from everything except the website title. It might be worth checking back in a week or two to see if the (melting) iceberg in the picture is actually getting bigger.

Here is the original text in its entirety:

Climate change is one of the most significant environmental challenges the world has ever faced. We are already seeing the effects of climate change in Canada. The potential impacts on our health, economy and environment require us to take action. With the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the Government of Canada has made climate change a national priority, and is working closely with Canadians and the global community to meet this challenge.Within the federal government, climate change is co-managed by the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources. Other key players in this nationwide effort include several federal government departments, the provincial/territorial Ministers of Energy and Environment, municipalities, as well as scientists, industry, the business community and individual Canadians.The Government of Canada’s commitment to climate change action since Budget 2000 totals $3.7 billion. This is in addition to a number of other measures that are designed to complement our actions on climate change. The achievement of our climate change objectives will become part of the way the Government of Canada does business. Our investments in infrastructure, in technology, in science, and in regional development will all be considered in terms of their impact on reaching our climate change targets.Understanding climate change means that the Government of Canada and all of its partners can address this issue in a way that will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, more liveable cities, a cleaner environment and increased competitiveness. Environment Canada‘s Climate Change Web site is committed to providing you with the most up-to date resources, information, ideas and approaches to protect our climate so that you too can be part of the solution.

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