13 April 2006

Minister stops book talk by Environment Canada scientist

via CBC Arts:
Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has stopped an Environment Canada scientist from speaking publicly about his own novel.

Mark Tushingham has written a science fiction novel called Hotter than Hell.

It is set in the not-too-distant future when global warming has made many parts of the world too hot to live in and has prompted a war between Canada and the U.S. over water resources.

Tushingham was scheduled to speak in Ottawa about his book and the science underpinning it. But an order from Ambrose's office stopped him.

"He got a directive from the department, cautioning him not to come to this meeting today," said his publisher Elizabeth Margaris of DreamCatcher Publishers in New Brunswick. Margaris had driven from New Brunswick to attend the speech.

"So I guess we're being stifled. This is incredible, I've never heard of such a thing," she told CBC Radio.

A spokesperson for Ambrose said the speech was billed as coming from an Environment Canada scientist and even though his book is a work of fiction, he would appear to be speaking in an official capacity.

Tushingham was ordered to cancel the speech because he didn't follow the proper process, the spokesperson said. He also has cancelled some TV and radio interviews about the book.

Stephen Harper says he was not aware of the details, but his government was elected on a platform that included developing a new plan to deal with climate change.

"And I not only hope, but expect, that all elements of the bureaucracy will be working with us to achieve our objectives," he said.

Harper has been criticized for the tight control he wants to exercise on what Cabinet ministers and civil servants say in public. He also opposes the Kyoto protocol, which could help slow global warming.

via DreamCatcher Publishing Inc:
Hotter Than Hell
by Mark Tushingham

"Mark Tushingham's dark novel of climate change is set in a not-too-distant future world of global warming, where straight up American soldier Major-General Walter J. Eastland is assigned to one of the states worst hit, California.

When desperation for fresh water finally becomes so critical that anarchy erupts throughout the major cities of America, Eastland is mysteriously assigned to scout Canada. The country has long resisted opening its taps of fresh water to its neighbor and ally to the south. Eastland finds both friends and adversaries in Canada. As well, he finds the world's largest supply of fresh water.

Canada's resource causes a crisis in the American-Canadian relationship until the countries are at war. Eastland thinks of himself as civilized and humane but he soon finds that violence can brutalize even the best of us until we find ourselves behaving as brutes. And then neither patriotism, nor all the economic power of the world's superpower, nor all its advanced military technology seems able to save it from itself. for the more brutish we become, the simpler our needs for short-term gains. Tushingham has forecast a disturbing possiblity of climate change which may already be upon us."



Anonymous said...

Wow. I guess someone hit a little close to home. :?

- Peki

Brad said...

Geez, I suppose the legacy Harper is pushing for is the re-introduction of censorship of the arts. Whats next?

Kylark said...

This is what happens when your role as employee supercedes your role as human being.

This whole sick mess works only because everyone agrees to it.

It did cross my mind to wonder why he didn't just speak out anyway. What right does his office have to tell him what to do? So he works as a scientist for the government. That precludes him from speaking publicly about a work of fiction he wrote in his spare time?

I like to think I would've spoken anyway, and worried about "the process" later. But this scientist more than likely has a family to feed, and you can't take those kinds of risks when kids are involved.