DeSmog

Energy Lobbyist Dupes London (Ontario) Newspaper

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Galling as it is to be part of the publicity machine for the phony Natural Resources Stewardship Project (think Not Really Science People), I have to congratulate Tom Harris on his recent coup – appearing as a commentator in the London (Ontario) Free Press opposite Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

The newspaper advertised a debate between Harris and May over this question: “Is a new, revenue neutral tax the best way to fight climate change or is artificially increasing the cost of fossil fuels a foolhardy attempt to solve planet’s ills?”

But there are a couple of problems. First, May says she was invited to contribute to a debate with “an economist,” and was only told after the fact that “they couldn’t get anyone” and were using Tom Harris instead.

The “debate” itself was also skewed. May put forth her best arguments, in response to which, Harris argued that CO2 isn’t causing climate change – as if that was somehow relevant, or true.

A determined optimist could look at this situation and take heart. It’s vaguely reassuring that a major Canadian newspaper can’t find a single economist – or even a legitimate scientist – to argue against a revenue neutral carbon tax.

But it is alarming, still, that the readers of the London Free Press might now believe that a legitimate argument yet continues. It is a stark failure in the duties of a newspaper of record that the Free Press failed to inform its readers that their policy expert is actually an energy industry lobbyist. The Toronto Star figured it out and that information is only an internet click away.

Again, though, you have to hand it to Harris. As head hack for the NRSP, an organization which which in its wildest imaginings couldn’t gather up the national legitimacy of the Rhinoceros Party, Harris has now been treated with equal weight as an elected leader of a national political organization. Well done Tom. I only hope that someone at the Free Press has the wit to be humiliated for having been so badly manipulated.

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