In war, first disrupt communications …

We got the word last night. The federal government won't be funding the Canadian Environmental Network (CEN) any more. The network consists of 600 groups from coast to coast to coast.

The news came about the same time Heritage Minister James Moore tweeted the announcement of his new War of 1812 iPhone App - part of a $29 million program to celebrate a 200 year old war.

CEN is a coordinating body that doesn't take stands. It just helps environmental organizations network and facilitates communication with the federal government. It’s the very definition of non-partisan. 

Don't be fooled. This isn't about austerity. It's vindictive petty politics - part of a systematic campaign by right-wing extremists to marginalize voices of the environment.

We recently experienced the same thing from Wind Concerns Ontario, thought by many to be a Conservative front group. Its leader just quit after failing to defeat the Green Energy Act in Ontario. He attacked and attempted to discredit anyone who dared question his unscientific claims about wind energy.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent is a little (I said a little) more subtle. He claims laying-off scientists, killing research and environmental programs, and now cutting funding to the CEN, is just “streamlining”. Streamlining is what they did to steam engines in the 1930s to make them look modern.

What does Kent gain by preventing mostly small environment groups from talking to each other? Not much. It certainly won’t silence Sierra Club Canada or any of its allies. But it will make communicating and networking a little harder.

Disrupting communications is always the first thing you do when you go to war. Is that what this is really about?

If it is, watch out Mr. Kent. Warriors of the rainbow always find a way to win.

John Bennett
Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada

Sign the Petition to reinstate funding to the Canadian Environmental Network


Toronto Star Coverage, October 25, 2011

CBC News Coverage, October 15, 2011

The Hill Times Coverage, October 14, 2011


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