Muzzling scientists in Canada: an interview with Gordon McBean

Yesterday on CBC Radio Michael Enright interviewed Gordon McBean about federal policies regarding how Canada’s scientists disseminate research findings. The interview can be listened to here (18 minutes).

Gordon McBean is a professor of Geography and Political Science at Western University, policy chair at the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a former Assistant Deputy Minister at Environment Canada and, though this certainly will never be on any other introduction, one of the readers on my PhD examination committee.

Here are some of the background notes on the interview from CBC’s website.

“Last summer, a rare but telling event occurred, when scientists left their labs to vent their frustration on Parliament Hill.  They marched in a mock funeral procession, mourning “The Death of Evidence.” More and more, Canadian scientists employed by the federal government say they are being muzzled by Ottawa. They are being told when, if, and how to speak to the public about their research.

For journalists, the ability to speak directly to researchers is essential to correctly convey complex ideas to the public. The federal government rejects the accusation that it is muzzling scientists.

Now the Information Commissioner of Canada has been asked to investigate. The request was made by the Environment Law Clinic at the University of Victoria last week. It alleges the government is systemically obstructing the right of the public and the media to speak to government scientists.” READ MORE HERE


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