Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has stopped an Environment Canada scientist from speaking publicly about his own novel.
Mark Tushingham has written a science fiction novel called Hotter than Hell.
It is set in the not-too-distant future when global warming has made many parts of the world too hot to live in and has prompted a war between Canada and the U.S. over water resources.
Tushingham was scheduled to speak in Ottawa about his book and the science underpinning it. But an order from Ambrose's office stopped him.
"He got a directive from the department, cautioning him not to come to this meeting today," said his publisher Elizabeth Margaris of DreamCatcher Publishers in New Brunswick. Margaris had driven from New Brunswick to attend the speech.
"So I guess we're being stifled. This is incredible, I've never heard of such a thing," she told CBC Radio.
A spokesperson for Ambrose said the speech was billed as coming from an Environment Canada scientist and even though his book is a work of fiction, he would appear to be speaking in an official capacity.
Tushingham was ordered to cancel the speech because he didn't follow the proper process, the spokesperson said. He also has cancelled some TV and radio interviews about the book.
Stephen Harper says he was not aware of the details, but his government was elected on a platform that included developing a new plan to deal with climate change.
"And I not only hope, but expect, that all elements of the bureaucracy will be working with us to achieve our objectives," he said.
Harper has been criticized for the tight control he wants to exercise on what Cabinet ministers and civil servants say in public. He also opposes the Kyoto protocol, which could help slow global warming.