Tories Disband Expert Group On Climate Change
Date: Thursday, March 15 2007
Mar 14, 2007 07:42 PM
OTTAWA – The Conservative government has eliminated a section of Environment Canada that played a key role in shaping climate-change policies now being announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, The Canadian Press has learned.
Frustrated bureaucrats said the move is an example of the government's zeal to wrest control from public servants over an increasingly politicized issue.
A memo sent to Environment Canada officials this month announced a new organizational structure for the department – and it no longer includes the Climate Change Policy Directorate.
The memo came just as the prime minister embarked on a national tour to announce a series of green initiatives that were largely prepared by the division now being dismantled.
The directorate consisted of a handful of experts responsible for implementing new policy, co-ordinating climate-change efforts among different government departments, and analyzing their potential impact.
Government spokespeople cast the change as a simple structural move aimed at greater efficiency.
"The work (on climate change) has not stopped. It has continued and is ongoing," said departmental spokesman Mark Colpitts.
"The number of people working on the file has not decreased."
But a pair of Environment Canada bureaucrats said they don't even know who's responsible for climate change policy anymore.
They said the now-defunct directorate was specifically in charge of overseeing all new climate-change policy, and that its 10 employees are being reassigned to various quarters.
"Even the people working here say, 'Who's really accountable for making climate change policy anymore?' They don't even know," said one bureaucrat who requested anonymity.
"Right now we don't know who's accountable."
[Editor's note: Rural also submitted a much longer article, at this URL:
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on March 16, 2007]