01/22/2013 12:49 EST

Peter Kent Labels Reporter 'Environmental Activist' In Letter (TWITTER)


Environment Minister Peter Kent called a reporter who wrote a story he disagreed with an "environmental activist" in a recent letter to editors at Postmedia.

Kent's missive, highlighted in a report from iPolitics on Monday, called out the news agency's national political correspondent Mike De Souza over a story he wrote on the cost of the Harper government's new fuel efficiency standards.

In the letter, which was published in the Windsor Star, Kent wrote that "Mr. De Souza, like most environmental activists, believes that a carbon tax is the only answer to combat climate change."

The spectre of a carbon tax has been the Conservative's No. 1 talking point over the last year. The Tories have relentlessly hammered the NDP on this point, despite the fact that the party never proposed such a tax.

In fact, as Aaron Wherry of Maclean's points out, the NDP actually proposed a cap-and-trade system, the same type of system touted in the 2008 Conservative platform which Kent ran on when he was first elected to Parliament.

The Windsor Star later posted a correction to Kent's letter.

A letter to the editor from Environment Minister Peter Kent Jan. 4, 2013, implied that Postmedia News reporter Mike De Souza was an environmental activist who supports a carbon tax. In fact, in his job as a news reporter, Mr. De Souza does not take positions on government policies, nor is he aligned with, or a member of, any environmental activist group.

A look at De Souza's LinkedIn profile shows that he has worked for Postmedia (and its previous iteration Canwest) since 2006. Before that, he worked at the Montreal Gazette and at CJAD Radio in Quebec City. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Concordia university.

In his Twitter bio, De Souza states that he covers the energy and environment beats.

A look at his recent stories shows De Souza's often gives a critical perspective on the government's environmental policies. However, last time we checked, keeping the government honest was pretty high up there on the list of things journalists are supposed to do.

Many on Twitter have been quick to point out that Kent, an award-winning journalist in his own right, seems to have forgotten what being a reporter is all about. See more of their comments in the slideshow below.