Monday, September 13, 2010

Harper Government Censoring Canadian Scientists

Story via Slashdot, via the Vancouver Sun

This very disturbing story was printed today in the Vancouver Sun and picked up by Slashdot online:

"The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age. Natural Resources Canada scientists were told this spring they need 'pre-approval' from Minister Christian Paradis' office to speak with journalists. Their 'media lines' also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation. The documents say the 'new' rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply not only to contentious issues, including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago. They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River."

This kind of tight control over scientific research damages collegial relationships and cast a very poor light on the current Conservative government. Coming from a university with a heavy focus on research and contributing to larger bodies of knowledge this kind of 'government editing' seems ridiculous at best and outright censorship at worst.

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