Will media turn up the heat?

(Canscene) — May 3, World Press Freedom Day was scheduled to be celebrated at the National Press Club in Ottawa less than a month after Canada’s environment minister forbade Mark Tushingham, environmental scientist with the ministry to speak to club members on his new novel.

Hotter Than Hell

Speculation is rife as to the reason: the prospect of Tushingham speaking up for the Kyoto Accord the Tories are preparing to dump; the fact that his novel, set in the future, depicts a water deprived U.S. invading Canada — maybe we’ll never know.

Hotter than Hell
The novel is titled Hotter Than Hell and it’s published by Dreamcatcher Publishing of N.B. Whether controversy turns it into a best seller will depend on how the media react to this latest manifestation of Tory efforts to muzzle them, not by government fiat but by controlling sources of information: cabinet ministers, caucus members and ministry staffs.

One notes, too that in introducing his Accountability Act, already under the cloud of the Emerson and Fortier appointments, Prime Minister Harper paid short shrift to improving access to information.

Already the Writers Union of Canada has voiced official protest on behalf of Tushingham. It is to be hoped that the Parliamentary media corps also exerts some time and energy to make the title Hotter Than Hell appropriate to these times.

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