The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact:, +44 7940739950, +44 1382523989

Canada Successfully Destroys Parody Websites

Climate Policy Remains Deplorable


The government of Canada has used strong-arm tactics to shut down two parody
websites criticizing Canada's poor environmental policy, taking down 4500 other
websites in the process.

The two websites, "" and "", are
"directly connected to a hoax which misleads people into believing that
the Government of Canada will take certain actions in relation to environmental
matters," wrote Mike Landreville from Environment Canada in an email to
the German Internet Service Provider (ISP) Serverloft. "We trust you
appreciate the importance of avoiding confusion among the public concerning
Canadian governmental affairs and that you will assist us in preventing this
hoax from spreading further."

In a remarkable overstepping of bounds, Landreville also asked the ISP to
"make every effort to prevent any further attempts concerning other
environment-related domains (enviro, ec-gc, etc.) originating from your

In response to Environment Canada's request, Serverloft immediately turned
off a whole block of IP addresses, knocking out more than 4500 websites that
had nothing to do with the parody sites or the activists who created them.
Serverloft was shown no warrant, and never called the web hosting company about
the shutdown.

"We are sorry to see that the Canadian government will not 'take
certain actions' that could help stave off catastrophic climate change,"
said Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men, one of the groups that performed the "sophisticated hoax" two weeks ago that involved the fake
. "And we are also sorry to see that they don't care so much for
free speech."

"Surely the Canadian government has better things to do than shut down
thousands of websites, beg the US for photo opps, and berate NGOs for things they haven't
" said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men. "They could instead figure
out reasonable ways of responding to their growing legion of critics."

The websites that Canada shut down were part of an elaborate "identity correction" carried out by anonymous
Canadian activists, the Climate Debt Agents of Action Aid, and
The Yes Men. They used press releases and fake websites to announce that Canada
would adopt science-based emission targets - reducing emissions by 40% over
1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050 - and would pay the countries most impacted
by climate change a proportional amount of the $600 billion total recommended
by the United Nations to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They even used a
replica of the UN conference center podium to show "Uganda"
reacting with glee to the plan
, before seeing their "tragic
hopes" dashed.

Canada had prepared for just such an eventuality by creating a so-called "Climate Change War Room," a
special office tasked with delivering rapid-response messaging to any negative
media coverage around Canada's role at the Copenhagen climate change
negotiations. Despite these efforts, last week's flurry of
parody announcements, which the prime minister's office called a "childish
prank," received enormous media attention across Canada and caused at
least two embarrassing media
for Canadian high officials.

Canada has been heavily criticized for its increasingly deplorable climate policy, and
this year in Copenhagen was awarded the "Colossal Fossil" prize for worst
behavior in the COP-15 negotiations. The group giving the award, the Climate
Action Network, is a global coalition of more than 500 organizations working on
climate change.

Ever since 1996, the Yes Men have used humor and trickery to highlight the corporate takeover of society, the neoliberal delusion that allows it, the corporate Democrats' responsibility for our current situation, and so on. And while we're all about "building awareness," we do realize that's not all there is, and that it's only ongoing campaigns that really make change.