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Ontario Premier Doug Ford denies issuing directive to stop staff using the term ‘climate change’

Ontario Premier Doug Ford denies issuing directive to stop staff using the term ‘climate change’
Leaked emails asking civil servants to stop using the term “climate change” on social media have landed Doug Ford in hot water as Ontario reels from a spike in forest fires. The premier’s office calls the emails “false.”

Emails published on the Toronto-based blogTO show messages sent by Ontario Parks Social Media Coordinator Anne MacLachlan and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Director of Communications Services Lisa Sarracini. The two emails appear to be directing staffers that, as “per Premier’s Office direction, we are not allowed to mention climate change in social media content at this time.”

BlogTO claims that “at least two” staffers confirmed the emails were authentic. However, the premier’s office now says that it “has never given direction to anyone in the government not to use the term climate change on social media. To say otherwise is 100 per cent false.”

According to Global News Canada, three of Ontario’s top bureaucrats confirmed that the government has now launched an official investigation into the leak to rectify any inaccuracies.

The publication of the emails sparked a wave of fury aimed at the Ontario premier’s office after the spate of forest fires that rocked the province over summer. One angry user challenged the premier to visit their “fire-ravaged towns if he wants reality check.” The province has seen a staggering 1,118 fires as of August 21, a 72-percent increase in fires compared to the average over the last decade.

One Twitter user simply dubbed Ford “another mini-Trump.” Ford, a leader with very little political experience who frequently attacks the media, has previously been compared to the controversial US president.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna tweeted that Ford’s government is “muzzling” staff with the social media ban. McKenna previously clashed with the premier after Ford axed the ‘cap and trade’ carbon emission initiative, which was replaced with no other initiative to reduce climate change.

“After Ontarians & Cdns have experienced extreme weather linked to climate change – extreme heat, forest fires, flooding – the Ontario gov’t appears to be muzzling @OntarioParks by banning words ‘climate change,’” she wrote.

Green Party leader Mike Schreiner wrote to Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips asking him to clarify the climate change ban. Phillips responded with a letter that used the term no less than four times.

“I assure you, we very much understand the challenges that climate change presents to our environment,” Phillips said in his letter, adding that the emails were “a mistake.”

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