Environment Minister John Baird's office confirmed Wednesday that representatives from the three opposition parties would not be welcome as part of Canada's official delegation at the United Nations conference.
That's a departure from a long-held government tradition of bringing critics along to major international conferences - opposition MPs participated in the last major UN environmental conference in Nairobi last November, for example.
The Liberals note that while Leader Stephane Dion was the environment minister, he brought Tory critic Bob Mills "to pretty much everything," and arranged for Mills to participate in some meetings with foreign ministers at which Dion wasn't present.
Liberal environment critic David McGuinty calls the move censorship.
"I thought that I had a responsibility as the Official Opposition critic for the environment, who ran to get elected to work in this field - I kind of thought I had a special responsibility to represent millions of Canadians who have a competing point of view."
Said NDP Environment critic Nathan Cullen: "It's so petty. It doesn't speak to a confident government. If they felt good about how they were dealing with climate change, then they wouldn't mind criticism."
Environmental groups have also been told they would not be part of the Canadian delegation.
Normally, I don't endorse embarrassing the federal government abroad, but I do hope the opposition leaders make the trek. The fact that the government is shutting out the opposition and the experts speaks volumes about their flimsy environmental policies, not to mention an admission that Canadians don't support their approach. When you are forced to censor people, ignore people, break from tradition, it is really more a statement on your own failure.
I wonder if one of the opposition websites can set up a fund. For example, "Help Send Nathan Cullen To Bali". My wallet is itching, the world needs to know that this government doesn't speak for Canada on this issue. The majority has made their view well known, if not for parliamentary games, we might actually have something substantive to bring to the table.