User talk:Tom Harris

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tom, I reverted your unexplained deletion from the Friends of Science page of the inclusion of Tim Ball. The protocol at SourceWatch is that if you make substantive deletions from a page that you post a brief explanatory note to the talk page (accessed by clicking the 'discussion' tab). Tim Ball is listed on the FOS webpage and I can see no reason for the deletion of the link. --Bob Burton 03:31, 26 October 2006 (EDT)


You state that you are no longer "Director of Operations of the Ottowa office of the High Park Group (HPG)". I'd like to clarify whather a) has your position title changed but you still work for HPG; in which case it would be good to update the page with your current title; or b) you no longer work for HPG; in which case it would be appropriate to mention when you worked with HPG until and on which client accounts. I look forward to your response. With thanks --Bob Burton 04:55, 7 November 2006 (EST)

--- Tom, I would draw your attention to

Section 1.6 of SourceWatch policy

Groups/individuals posting articles on themselves

We don't encourage individuals and groups to create SW articles about themselves or people or organizations with which they are affiliated, and we encourage people to register under their own names when editing articles already on SW about themselves or their groups. We also encourage people who edit articles about themselves or people or organizations with which they are affiliated to exercise restraint and to defer to other contributors with regard to editing choices that are matters of interpretation rather than fact. When disputes arise over interpretation, such individuals should try to address them with comments on the talk page rather than the article space itself. Users who are overly aggressive in deleting relevant facts from articles about themselves or others may be blocked from contributing to or editing the site.

It would be preferable if you refrained from editing both your page and that of the NRSP. If you have points you specifically wish to address I would encourage you to post them to the talk page. --Bob Burton 05:12, 7 November 2006 (EST)

Re confidentiality Agreement


I noticed that one of the sections you deleted earlier, without any explanation as per SourceWatch policy which I have drawn to your attention previously, related to the mention that you declined to disclose the funders of the NRSP due to a confidentiality agreement.

I wonder if you could explain a little more about the reference in the Vancouver Sun article which stated that you have "a confidentiality agreement doesn't allow him to say whether energy companies are funding his group." [1]

Can you explain: a) who this confidentiality agreement is between; b) when it was negotiated; and c) why you think it is appropriate for a non-profit group to have secret corporate donors?

With thanks, --Bob Burton 05:43, 7 November 2006 (EST)

Letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun

Here is what I sent as a letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun to correct his remarks - this addresses some of your question about that article. I didn't expect them to publish of course but it had to be done for the record (and to use in cases like this):

From: Tom Harris [2] Sent: October 16, 2006 8:23 PM To: '' Cc: many other media Subject: Regarding October 16 Vancouver Sun piece - "Climate-change "skeptics hopeful Harper accepts their view"

To the editor (Vancouver Sun):

Concerning the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, Peter O'Neal wrote that I "said a confidentiality agreement doesn't allow him to say whether energy companies are funding his group."

In fact, I never referenced any category of potential supporters, including "energy companies", in communications with O'Neil. I also made no reference to "a confidentiality agreement" as no such document exists.

It is normal for non-profit entities like NRSP to protect the privacy of supporters by not publicizing contributions. I explained to O'Neal that an exception to this policy is "NRSP Patrons", high profile Canadians who, besides contributing generously, allow their support to be highlighted. I told O'Neal our Patrons' identities, their contribution levels, and included Web links to these Toronto-based philanthropists.

O'Neal e-mailed back, "If I write anything, I will write: "Harris refused to say if oil and gas companies are providing some of the funding for his new group.""

Explaining that this was an unnecessarily leading statement, I suggested a correction. O'Neal did not respond.

When I tried to explain NRSP's science communications objectives, O'Neil cut me off indicating he wasn't interested. Contrary to O'Neal's assertion, reveals our real objective is to "inform Canadians about responsible, science-based environmental stewardship."


Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. Executive Director Natural Resources Stewardship Project P.O. Box 23013 Ottawa, Ontario K2A 4E2


Can I clarify what your current relationship with the High Park Group (HPG) is?

--Bob Burton 02:33, 17 November 2006 (EST)

Why are clear errors being left on SourceWatch concerning NRSP and corrections being deleted?

1 - You (Mr. Bob Burton) asked me about the reported NRSP funders confidentiality agreement - I responded that it does not exist, giving thorough details. Yet you leave up the incorrection information about the supposed agreement - why would you do this?

2 - Next I corrected many of the mistakes currently on SourceWatch concerning our organization, and provided details that were either missing from the post or incorrect, providing contact information for sources to corroberate my remarks.

3 - You (Mr. Bob Burton) respond by removing all of my corrections, even reverting to the misleading remarks described in #1 above.

4 - I send you (Mr. Bob Burton) a polite personal e-mail (excerpts included below) asking for your personal guidance as to which of my edits you are displeased with and provide more details to you asking how I can correct the site when statements which are incorrect or misleading appear on the site, while remaining within your house rules.

5 - You (Mr. Bob Burton) respond to me personally by e-mail, "I'll respond a little later on today."

6 - I try an experiment to see whether or not even small innocuous corrections will be left on the NRSP page, unaltered - I correct one, simple mistake, the one about our supporters being in several countries (our supporters are all in Canada). Even that small and innocuous correction is not accepted without edit which now makes the statement incomplete.

7 - Over a day later, you (Mr. Bob Burton) have yet to respond to my questions and instead ask me another question.

I don't see the point in continuing to answer your questions or make corrections to the site if you allow provably false and misleading material to remain on the site and allow so many links from a PR firm (de Smog Blog is run by one of Canada's largest PR companies, although I am unable to find that you have included an entry in SourceWatch on them) who are paid to take a strong stance in the debate. Are you not neutral on issues such as climate change? It does seem unusual that you would allow 8 of the 10 external links listed to all be from the same big PR firm, if you are neutral.

Here are the relevent excerpts from the unaddressed e-mail I sent Mr. Bob Burton:

From: Tom Harris [3] Sent: November 16, 2006 7:10 PM To: '' Subject: request for your guidance, please Importance: High

Dear Bob,

Could you please explain what in the below entries I have made is unacceptable to SourceWatch ...

Anyways, I am hoping you can give me guidance on what in the following is unacceptable to Sourcewatch, please:

[note: I am mostly including below the corrections/edits that have yet to be made]

NRSP states that it has scientific advisors in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany and Sweden. [4]

NRSP's Genealogy

NRSP has no direct connection with the Calgary-based group of climate change sceptics the "Friends of Science" [5] (FOS). Dr. Tim Ball, now the Chairman of the NRSP, resigned his position with FOS in early October, although this change has yet to be refected on the FOS Web site - check with FOS for confirmation if desired. FOS and NRSP differ considerably in their purpose and goals in that NRSP has a far more general focus, climate change science being only its first campaign. Future campaigns will focus on air, land and water polution as well as water policy in general. NRSP is viewed by some as a reincarnation of the FOS but in fact is entirely independent.

The NRSP project is led by Executive Director, Tom Harris, who, in November 2002, while in the employ of the PR firm APCO Worldwide, organized a press conference titled "International Climate Experts Speak Out Against Climate Change Myths." [6]. The press conference was sponsored by ten entities which were announced to reporters at the time and included two Toronto-based Order of Canada recipients, Dr. Gerald Hatch and Dr. Jerry Heffernan, as well as industrial interests in the lime and energy sectors, Talisman Energy and Imperial Oil being among the latter. As can be confirmed by contacting FOS, this press conference had no connection with "Friends of Science," which was founded considerably earlier. However, three of the eight scientists that appeared at the press conference (see list below) were, either now or in the past linked to the FOS.



Financial support comes from Canadians from all walks of life and from all parts of Canada (no funding has yet been solicited from outside of Canada). With the exception of "NRSP Public Patrons", Dr. Hatch and Dr. Heffernan (named above in conjunction with their support of the 2002 news conference), all contributions to NRSP are kept confidential to protect the privacy of supporters. This is necessary given the nature of the issues we address and the fact that most people do not want to be harrassed by lobbyists for support of our activities.

External Links

"Climate-change 'skeptics' hopeful Harper accepts their view," CanWest News Service (The Vancouver Sun), October 16, 2006.

This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.


Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (thermofluids) Executive Director Natural Resources Stewardship Project P.O. Box 23013 Ottawa, Ontario K2A 4E2 Web:

See NRSP Page

Tom, I posted some comments and queries on the NRSP page at

I look forward to your response, cheers --Bob Burton 15:16, 20 November 2006 (EST)

SW: will address your points if you can answer this ...

In my e-mail to Mr. Burton I asked him why he allowed so many links from de Smog Blog when they admit to being a project of one of Canada's major PR firms and are paid by clients to take a strong stance in the debate. If Sourcewatch is neutral in the climate change debate and not working with de Smog Blog et al, then one is left to wonder why the prominence is given to that side (8 of the 10 external links listed) and the fact that neither de Smog Blog, the big PR firm running it or their funders are listed as entries on Sourcewatch.

This is an important point that, left unaddress makes one wonder whether you are are indeed actively working with one side in the debate which would render any further discussion pointless of course.