Yes Men-like spoof enrages Canadian PM’s staff
For eager environmentalists, the press release must have seemed too good to be true: the Canadian government, until now offering a pathetic greenhouse gas emissions cut of just three per cent from 1990 levels, was now going to meet the most aggressive European target of 40 per cent.
But instantly upon its release, reporters in this sprawling press centre (seating for 2,000, not counting television, radio and wire-service journalists) starting wagging their heads: this was just not believable from the current Canadian government.
The next development, however, had everyone marvelling. The conservative and usually reliable Wall Street Journal had taken the bait, reporting “Canada Announces Major Shift at COP15 Climate Summit.” Except that was a spoof, too, although a particularly fabulous one. You could click back and forth on the links, from the story to the home page and to other pages, without ever realizing that you weren’t on a legitimate news site. It was only when you tried to Google the same story that thing revealed themselves as less than met the eye. But while reporters were giggling and environmentalists were imagining how grand it would be if this were actually true, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s press attache Dimitri Soudas was accusing Stephen Guilbaut of the Quebecois environmental group Equiterre of being behind the send-up.
Guilbaut, one of the most seasoned and credible members of the Canadian Climate Action Network was outraged, or seemed to be when he arrived at a scheduled press conference with a much-delayed Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice. But in the face of his demand for an apology, Soudas pretty much accused him of being unCanadian for having the temerity to criticize the Canadian governments humiliating - internationally embarrassing - proposals.
TV coverage is available here from CBC