Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Did Harper Suppress DND's Climate Change Warning?

A study prepared by Canada's Department of National Defence sounds the alarm on climate change.  The report concludes that energy shortages coupled with the rapidly spreading freshwater crisis and compounded by the impacts of climate change have put the world on the road to war that could be on us within fifteen years.

The study isn't remarkable for its findings.   They're quite similar to the conclusions of earlier reports released by the British Ministry of Defence and the Pentagon.   What is remarkable about the DND study is what it might say about the Harper government and about the NDP and Liberal opposition.

First off, the Department of National Defence didn't "release" this report.  It was pried out of them by PostMedia via an Access to Information demand.   PostMedia?  Really?

This report may be the most critical information to come through our civil and armed services in decades and we learn about it, almost by narrow chance, through a PostMedia Access to Information demand.   Which begs just a whole lot of questions, like:

-  What was the Harper government doing with this report?
-  When did the Harper government receive this report?
-  Why did the Harper government not release this report to the Canadian public?
-  What instructions did the Harper government give to the Department of National Defence in the     
    context of circulation or distribution of this report?

Those are just a few questions - for starters.  And there are as many questions for Layton and Rae.

-  What did you know about the existence of this report and its conclusions?
-  If you didn't know of it, why not?
-  If PostMedia can get its hands on this report why couldn't the NDP or Liberals?
-  What, if anything, do you intend to do to hold the Harper government accountable for keeping this
    report under wraps?
-  What measures do you intend to demand the Harper government take in response to this study?

This report envisions the very possible outbreak of major war within the ridiculously brief span of just fifteen years.   This doesn't have to be a "come as you are" predicament, the sort of thing we faced during the height of the Cold War.  We are going to be facing a gamut of threats and challenges, at least some of which we can meet with reasonable success if we begin preparing for them now.   The longer we wait, the worse become our prospects.

As the report's authors note in conclusion, our path depends on policy decisions made by governments today.   Will Layton and Rae finally stand up for our country and our people or will they ignore this warning as they've ignored all the warnings before.


Steve said...

They have all been promised a place in the bunker.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ah, "The Bunker." Many years ago, in the early 70s, I was briefly apprehended for wandering onto the site of the Diefenbunker. When I was at the CBC I met a local radio guy who was assigned to be taken to the bunker to broadcast the "kiss your arse goodbye" message to the plebs in the event of nuclear attack.

I believe that I still have in my attic or crawlspace a reel of 16mm film of the Diefenbunker in all its glory.

That said, I don't envy them their "place". By now I think the bunker would be a pretty horrible refuge.

Anonymous said...

Did Harper suppress the report? Not likely, DND is supposed to keep their defense studies quiet. The only ones which escape to the public domain are the ones they want the public to hear about. They are usually the ones which will make the public sit up and notice that Canada actually has a Department of National Defense, and hopefully tell their representatives to direct more money their way. If you think it was a secret report which somehow got out, you fell for it. Suckah!

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, you are the one at odds with reality. Did I say it was a secret report? No, you came up with that out of the dark recesses of your little mind. What I said is that it was disclosed only under compulsion of an Access to Information demand. You should take a moment to explore that legislation and how it operates. Your childlike naivety limits the usefulness of your commentary.

LMA said...

The more fossil fuels we burn, the worse are our prospects. Canadians, however, are concerned about economic prosperity above all else, or so it seems these days, and our leaders know it. Perhaps we will be shamed by the rest of the world into realizing that we are part of the problem, not the solution, as long as we base our economic growth on the development of the Tar Sands. There is a repost of Bill McKibben's excellent article "If Brazil Has To Guard Its' Rainforest, Why Does Canada/U.S. Get To Burn Its' Tar Sands?" on What exactly are we celebrating this Canada Day anyway?

crf said...

I'm not surprised that it was a Mike DeSouza story. He has been the best reporter in Canada on the intersection of government with science and climate change for many years now.