In Canada, Harper Government Is ‘Muzzling’ Scientists

Are you a Canadian reporter with an interest in the environment, particularly the issue of global climate change? Do you want to interview a scientist employed by the government? Then you must obtain clearance from the government for the interview… and chances are very high that you will be denied that clearance. Here is an example:

Andrew Weaver, an environmental scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, described the protocol as “Orwellian”.

The protocol states: “Just as we have one department we should have one voice. Interviews sometimes present surprises to ministers and senior management. Media relations will work with staff on how best to deal with the call (an interview request from a journalist). This should include asking the programme expert to respond with approved lines.”

Professor Weaver said that information is so tightly controlled that the public is “left in the dark”.

“The only information they are given is that which the government wants, which will then allow a supporting of a particular agenda,” he said.

They csll the Harper government “conservative,” and I suppose that is the party name. But there is no rational sense of the word “conservative” that can be applied to this sort of behavior. “Corporatist” comes to my mind; “fascist” also flitted through. But whatever they are, they’re not conservative. A true conservative would not attempt outright suppression of core scientific information on an issue that could determine the fate of his or her nation. Then again, I haven’t seen a true conservative in America recently, either.

Canada stands to be affected by climate change first and worst among North American nations. They have a lot to lose, as does the U.S. And if they keep squelching the dissemination of important research results from respected scientists… they and we are damned surely going to lose it.

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