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The Sciences

A War on Science in Canada?

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneySeptember 17, 2010 10:40 PM

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See here. This story sounds strikingly like the Bush administration--only, it's the Canadian Harper government:

“We have new media interview procedures that require pre-approval of certain types of interview requests by the minister’s office,” wrote Judy Samoil, NRCan’s western regional communications manager, in a March 24 email to colleagues.

The policy applies to “high-profile” issues such as “climate change, oilsands” and when “the reporter is with an international or national media organization (such as the CBC or the Canwest paper chain),” she wrote.

Samoil later elaborated, saying “the regional communications managers were advised of this change a couple of weeks ago.”

The documents show the new rules being so broadly applied that one scientist was not permitted to discuss a study in a major research journal without “pre-approval” from political staff in Paradis’ office.

And on it goes. The story quotes top Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver:

“The sad reality is that these guys in Ottawa think federal scientists work for them,” says Weaver. “They don’t, they work for the people of Canada.

“This is science funded by Canada for the public good,” he says. “It is not science funded to produce briefing notes for ministers so they can get elected in the next federal campaign.”

Our northern friends usually have saner politics than ours, I tend to think--but this is not one of those occasions.

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