Muzzling scientists in Canada on AAAS agenda

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For years, UCS has tracked the censorship of government scientists in the U.S., and we have sometimes heard anecdotal complaints about similar problems north of the border. At a session this morning at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, a packed room heard from UCS Senior Scientist Francesca Grifo about the state of play in the U.S., while other speakers addressed a growing concern about the treatment of scientists under Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

You can access a recorded webcast here.

“We believe that muzzling scientists who work for the public good threatens the safety of all Canadians, undermines our democracy and our country’s ability to meet its full potential,” says Gary Corbett, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, a union representing 23,000 Canadian government scientists, in a press release.

A UCS report from 2008 found that government scientists in the United States face significant barriers to talking with the press. The Obama administration has made some strides to address this problem. For example, in December, NOAA gave its scientists the ability to talk to the press without asking first for permission.

On Wednesday, Dr. Grifo was on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show As it Happens talking about this issue.

Learn more about other UCS presentations and events at this year’s AAAS meeting here.

Posted in: Scientific Integrity

About the author: Michael Halpern is an expert on political interference in science and solutions to reduce suppression, manipulation, and distortion of government science. See Michael's full bio.

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