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Government censors information, youth fight for the future: misinformation

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.


Few days ago an access to information request, released to Postmedia News, showed that an internal communications document between the Prime Minister’s office and Environment Canada’s Chief Climate Negotiator described youth as misinformed about the UN climate negotiations process. It reads: “[y]outh groups are not well-informed, tend to engage only at the (annual UN climate change summits), mainly through public advocacy activities.”
As an informed and very engaged youth who have been to the last climate negotiation in December 2011, I am left a little perplexed. What is the government based on to say that I, along with many other young people, are misinformed about the climate negotiations process?
Or is it simply based on the fact that we are actually asking for some meaningful climate action which happens to inconvenience the government’s plan? 
Of course such a comment does not come as a surprise. I mean, what is an easier and better way to discredit anyone, especially those of a different opinion, but to say that they are misinformed?
The reality is that we’re not misinformed. If anything, it is this opinion that is misinformed. 
The fact is that our government is taking the globally agreed upon climate science very lightly and is gambling away with our future. By ignoring clear signs of climate change here at home, the government is doing very little to reduce Canada’s Greenhouse Gas emissions. In fact, it is actively supporting the oil and gas industry, which is expected to increase its GHG emissions, by giving companies $1.4 billion a year in subsidies and tax breaks. The Canadian government is also supporting the tar sands as “ethical oil” and lobbying the European Union to prevent them from labelling the tar sands oil as unconventional and therefore more polluting in their Fuel Quality Directive. Moreover, Canada has been playing an obstructive role at those climate summits and blocking international process. To add insult to injury, another report released today shows that Environment Canada was actively discouraging media coverage of UN climate summits. 
Knowing all those facts and that our government is actively preventing transparent reporting of climate negotiations, I am afraid that Canadian youth cannot really risk being misinformed. 
First and foremost, we are on the road to an uncertain future caused by arguably one of the biggest problems facing humanity: climate change that is. Secondly, our government is actively contributing to it and thirdly discouraging reporting of international climate negotiations and limiting the government scientists’ right to speak freely to the media, putting our democracy at risk. 
For those reasons we cannot even risk being misinformed, we have no choice. This might come out as a surprise to our elected officials, but there is a movement of young and (older) Canadians across the country. These are informed, engaged and motivated people who are working with NGOs, universities, students, community leaders to educate themselves and the public about climate change and the dangers of inaction. Unlike, our government, we very well understand the challenges that are facing our planet and our democracy, and we are working together to create a fair and sustainable future for everyone. 

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