We've all heard stories about the Bush administration censoring government scientists, any conclusions ultimately vetted and edited by a former oil executive before release. Today, comes news that the Conservatives are once again imitating the disturbing practices of their American cousins. This is unbelievable:
Environment Canada has "muzzled" its scientists, ordering them to refer all media queries to Ottawa where communications officers will help them respond with "approved lines."
The new policy, which went into force in recent weeks and sent a chill through the department research divisions, is designed to control the department's media message and ensure there are no "surprises" for Environment Minister John Baird and senior management when they open the newspaper or turn on the television, according to documents obtained by Canwest News Service.
"Just as we have ‘one department, one website' we should have ‘one department, one voice,' " says a PowerPoint presentation from Environment Canada's executive management committee that's been sent to department staff.
The reality, says insiders, is the policy is blocking communication and infuriating scientists. Researchers have been told to refer all media queries to Ottawa. The media office then asks reporters to submit their questions in writing. Sources say researchers are then asked to respond in writing to the media office, which then sends the answers to senior management for approval. If a researcher is eventually cleared to do an interview, he or she is instructed to stick to the "approved lines."
Partisans will decide if scientific inquiry has value, based on their preferred talking points. Let that reality roll around your head for awhile, the implications are absolutely staggering. We have to get these backward assholes out of government, they are rotting our system from the inside, discreetly but systematically.