By Elizabeth Willoughby on
The Yes Men, an activist group that brings attention to people and organizations through parody and impersonation, created fake Canadian government websites last month, misleading readers into thinking that Canada would be making positive changes to its dismal environmental policy at the Copenhagen climate change negotiations.
Canada’s new goal claimed a 40% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, and a quote from the Environment Minister: “Canada is taking the long view on the world economy. Nobody benefits from a world in peril. Contributing to the development of other nations and taking full responsibilities for our emissions is simple Canadian good sense.”
It was a hoax. In response, the Canadian government asked the websites’ internet service provider to shut the sites down, as well as any other environment-related domains. Without being provided with a warrant, the server complied and shut down 4500 websites when only two had any relation to the prank. Then, the Prime Minister’s staff had to declare the sites’ statements to be false while Canada’s real targets are largely seen as unsatisfactory.
Canada was also awarded its seventh “Fossil of the Day” by a body of 400 NGOs for negotiating in bad faith at Copenhagen and blocking progress.
Yes Man character Mike Bonanno said, “We are sorry to see that the Canadian government will not take certain actions that could help stave off catastrophic climate change.”
“And we are also sorry to see that they don’t care so much for free speech,” said Andy Bichlbaum, another Yes Man character.
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