In the United States, the Keystone XL pipeline has been the subject of heated debate between environmentalists, scientists, energy interests, and politicians across the ideological spectrum. Has a similar discussion taken place in Canada, where the pipeline originates? It would appear not, if Klinkenborg's characterization of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's control over the level of scientific debate taking place in the country is accurate.
"Over the last few years, the government of Canada — led by Stephen Harper — has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists," he writes. "Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands — source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline."
"There was trouble of this kind here in the George W. Bush years, when scientists were asked to toe the party line on climate policy and endangered species," adds Klinkenborg. "But nothing came close to what is being done in Canada."