Yes Men prank Canada | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Yes Men prank Canada

21st-century merry pranskters giving environmentalists a fleeting glimpse of what should be

They had me going for a couple minutes.

I got a press release this morning that was supposedly from Environment Canada, but it was a fake. It was convincing in its tone, but its content was too good to be true.

The press release announced a new Canadian climate agenda with reductions targets of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050. What really shocked me was the commitment of five percent of GDP going to aid developing countries’ climate change prevention and adaptation initiatives by 2030. As if. We’ve never even come close to meeting our 0.7 percent commitment.

The new plan was supposedly in response to a walkout on talks by all of the G77 countries, representing much of the developing world. They want a second round of legally binding greenhouse gas emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol. Some of the heavily industrialized countries prefer a whole new deal because the USA is not part of Kyoto. The talks are back on but still no word of any resolution on this issue.

The fake news release came as a brief beam of hope to environmentalists. It had a link to, a beautiful mimic of the real Environment Canada website:, only with considerably more inspiring content.

Word out of Copenhagen is that this is the work of the Yes Men, the notorious pranksters on a mission of “impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them.” This prank matches their MO. One of their first and most famous stunts was creating a fake, “corrected” World Trade Organization website to portray the organization for what it really is: an institutional tool of economic exploitation.

The Yes Men have also pulled off fake news releases, and even a fake issue of the New York Times last year that had the headlines and stories everyone wishes were real, like Nation Sets its Sights on Building a Sane Economy.

If the Yes Men are indeed the culprits, the fake Environment Canada release is the group’s first official slag on Canada—-and it’s about time. Mark MacKinnon, the Globe & Mail’s East Asia Correspondent, tweeted that he is now “officially embarrassed by Canada at Copenhagen.” He says we've “replaced the Bushies as the punch line.”

Jim Prentice was quick to correct his fake self. The fake Prentice was quoted as saying, “We believe all people will benefit from an equitable climate deal that truly energizes the world economy.” It was the first time I’d ever agreed with the man.

But the real Prentice countered with his usual disregard for irritancies like the poor and the environment. He described the hoax with the same word he might describe those irritancies, if he was honest. He called it “undesirable.”

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