Canadian government is ‘muzzling its scientists’

Government experts tracked a new ozone hole, but were not allowed to give interviews

The Canadian government has been accused of “muzzling” its scientists.

Speakers at a major science meeting being held in Canada said communication of vital research on health and environment issues is being suppressed.

But one Canadian government department approached by the BBC said it held the communication of science as a priority.

Prof Thomas Pedersen, a senior scientist at the University of Victoria, said he believed there was a political motive in some cases.

“The Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) is keen to keep control of the message, I think to ensure that the government won’t be embarrassed by scientific findings of its scientists that run counter to sound environmental stewardship,” he said.

“I suspect the federal government would prefer that its scientists don’t discuss research that points out just how serious the climate change challenge is.”

The Canadian government recently withdrew from the Kyoto protocol to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The allegation of “muzzling” came up at a session of the AAAS meeting to discuss the impact of a media protocol introduced by the Conservative government shortly after it was elected in 2008.

The protocol requires that all interview requests for scientists employed by the government must first be cleared by officials. A decision as to whether to allow the interview can take several days, which can prevent government scientists commenting on breaking news stories.

Sources say that requests are often refused and when interviews are granted, government media relations officials can and do ask for written questions to be submitted in advance and elect to sit in on the interview.

‘Orwellian’ approach

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

Canada isn’t alone in this. It has become the ‘norm’ around the world.

Governments have decided to keep the people in the dark and only feed them on a ‘want to know’ basis to protect their flawed governments.

 

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