communications

Fri, 2013-07-05 09:24Indra Das
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Harper Government 'Extrapolated' Public Reaction Before Cutting Millions From Environment Canada Budget

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Instead of consulting with the Canadian public before cutting millions in green spending at Environment Canada, the Harper government consulted with communications strategists who helped gauge potential public reactions to the budget cuts.

Mike De Souza writes for Postmedia News, that according to “internal briefing documents” released through access to information legislation, the “Harper government included communications strategists in closed-door discussions that led to an estimated $60 million in cuts at Environment Canada in the 2012 federal budget.”

“Strategists from the communication branch were involved in Environment Canada's deliberations on its contribution to the deficit action reduction plan from the beginning,” said the records, which were labelled “secret advice to the minister.” The briefing documents, containing up to 500 pages, were prepared for Environment Canada Deputy Minister Bob Hamilton, after he replaced Paul Boothe in summer 2012.

Thu, 2013-02-14 11:43Carol Linnitt
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Science Silenced: US Scientist Caught in Canadian Muzzle

What a difference a decade makes - especially when it comes to government-directed communications policies regarding science, and especially when you're in Canada. 

In 2003 a Canadian-American research collaboration, involving scientists from US universities and Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), began in the Eastern Arctic to track oceanic conditions and ice flow in the Nares Strait.

Wed, 2013-02-13 09:14Guest
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There's Something Fishy with New DFO Communications Policy

This article was written by Michael Harris and originally published on iPolitics.

The iPolitics story by Michael Harris published on February 7th, 2013 is untrue. There have been no changes to the Department’s publication policy.”

These words landed on my computer screen like a mortar shell after I wrote a piece outlining disturbing changes to DFO’s publication policy.

The statement, issued by DFO communications staffer Melanie Carkner, went on to list all the ways the department disseminates information — none of which were at issue in my column.

Fri, 2013-01-25 05:00Carol Linnitt
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Canadian Scientists Must Speak Out Despite Consequence, Says Andrew Weaver

If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver. 

And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.

“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”
 
Sat, 2013-01-19 07:00Jim Hoggan
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Communicating for Change: Anthony Leiserowitz on Climate Change Psychology

When it comes to climate change, Yale's Anthony Leiserowitz says, “you almost couldn't design a problem that is a worse fit with our underlying psychology”; an insight that is all too apparent. 

In spite of the dramatic increase in extreme weather events and growing scientific concern, climate change is seldom mentioned by politicians, business leaders or the news media in Canada and the US. While public concern is on the rise, public pressure to fix the problem is flagging. 

In this recent interview, Bill Moyers asks Leiserowitz to explain the state of public opinion surrounding climate change and what might be done to improve climate change communications.

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