“It is unacceptable that the Canadian public sits back and allows access to the science they’re funding to be denied them,” said Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist.

Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist

Canadian media coverage of climate change has fallen by 80 percent

By Stephen Leahy

VANCOUVER, Canada, Feb 21, 2012 (IPS)

Amid revelations of a well-funded U.S. organisation’s plans to deliberately distort climate science, scientists and journalists at a major scientific conference called on the Canadian government to stop its muzzling of scientists.

For the past four years, the Canadian government has been denying timely access to government scientists even when their findings are published in leading scientific journals, said scientists and journalists in a special session of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science meeting here in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“The Canadian public doesn’t know as much as they could about science and climate change,” said Margaret Munro, who is a science writer for Postmedia News, based in Vancouver.

“The more controversial the story, the less likely you are to talk to the scientists,” Munro told IPS.

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4 thoughts on “

  1. Um, how can the goverrnment stop scientists from talking to the public? Any journalist can simply call them anytime and talk to any scientist they want to, and same for scientists. Perhaps it might be a bit unsafe to do so from work, it could damage their career, but that would not stop anyone from speaking up outside of work. All they need to do is use a pseudonym or withhold their name if they are concerned about it. I use a pseudonym for the same reasons, I’d be fired if they knew I was a climate skeptic.

    This notion that scientists are muzzled is absolute BS. If they want to talk, they can just talk.

    This sounds more like politics, something that Andrew Weaver was supposed to be above. I think he gave his himself away with this one.

    • Actually its very easy to stop govt scientists from talking to the public. Threaten to fire them or cut their funding. And that happens. When I call a govt scientist they say they are under orders not to talk to media without permission.

      Using a pseudonym is risky and ridiculous since the public is paying for their research why doesn’t the public get to know what they are doing?

      • That’s a good question, I have no idea.

        I have assume from all of this that governments in the past have allowed scientists to speak freely to journalists about any subject they wanted. Perhaps the Tories noticed the kind of trouble previous governments have gotten into by allowing that. Or perhaps the truth is that they have never been allowed to speak freely before, perhaps its just that the public are questioning it this time around, I don’t know.

        What I do know is that science today is very political so it makes complete sense for public employees to remain quiet. They are bureaucrats like any other, they are supposed to remain silent.

        Why would we expect them to blab about what they are doing when other bureaucrats aren’t expected to?

      • It’s not hard to find out the truth of this. Ask any Cdn jurno – the Tories put the policy in place. Science is fact-based not political. But there are those who distort science for their own political objectives. Govt scientists are not bureaucrats. They do research. You are trying very hard to justify this undemocratic policy …and by extension absolve the Tories. That’s political.

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