Muzzling

Au nom de la science (French)
Publish Date: 10-DEC-2014 08:50 AM
Irrités par les interventions du gouvernement Harper, les scientifiques fédéraux ont concocté un répulsif inusité: des clauses à insérer dans leur convention collective. Reste à voir si le remède sera homologué. 
 
Public service union using science as a bargaining chip
Publish Date: 08-DEC-2014 08:11 AM
The union representing federal scientists and researchers is in contract negotiations this week, and there's more on the table than salaries and benefits. PIPSC is pushing for a 'scientific integrity' policy, which would include changes to protect scientists' right to speak publicly about their research, without government interference. Debi Daviau, president of PIPSC, joined us with the details. 
 
Pseudo-science in the House? Scientists challenge a bill on Lyme disease
Publish Date: 04-DEC-2014 02:40 PM
This week, infectious disease specialists stood before a Senate committee to voice their concerns about proposed legislation on a national Lyme disease strategy. They say the bill's preamble dismisses accepted evidence and is "anti-science". Brent speaks to Dr. William Bowie who represented the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Canada at the Senate hearing this week, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May who sponsored the private member's bill.  
 
Canadian Unions to Bargain for Scientific Integrity Reform
Publish Date: 03-DEC-2014 10:27 AM
As Canadian government scientists start bargaining for their next contract, they aren’t asking for more sick days or a sizable raise—they’re asking for scientific integrity protections, such as the ability to share their research regardless of the results. To put it simply, Canadian scientists are prioritizing the public interest over their own self-interest. On the table will be the right to speak publicly about their work, collaborate with peers, access scientific literature, and have adequate funding to carry out their responsibilities. The unions are also asking for federal departments to be required to develop enforceable policies that would protect researchers and hold those who manipulate or suppress science accountable. 
 
Scientists push for ‘scientific integrity’ at bargaining table
Publish Date: 02-DEC-2014 10:25 AM
Canada’s federal scientists are going to the bargaining table this week with an unprecedented package of contract changes to promote “scientific integrity” in government, including the right of scientists to speak freely and forbidding political interference in their work. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents more than 15,000 scientists, researchers and engineers, is tabling a negotiating position for managing science in the “public interest” with a list of demands for Treasury Board negotiators that dramatically push the boundaries of traditional collective bargaining in the public service. 
 
Why Canada needs a Parliamentary science officer
Publish Date: 01-DEC-2014 09:56 AM
Beginning with the elimination of Canada’s national science advisor in 2008, the Harper government has used every tool at its disposal to prevent, limit, and restrict public scientists from sharing their research findings with Canadians and policy-makers. Statistics Canada data reveals the Conservatives have slashed over $1-billion in S&T funding and laid off 4000 federal researchers since forming a majority in 2011. Now, an open letter signed by more 800 independent scientists from 32 countries urges the government to restore funding for public science and end the burdensome restrictions on communication and collaboration faced by Canadian scientists. 
 
Federal scientists muzzled by PMO
Publish Date: 28-NOV-2014 08:39 AM
Canada’s federal government wants the public to know that it is promoting the “prudent use” of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. But it doesn’t want the public to know what that means — and it certainly doesn’t want the public to hear what its scientists and veterinarians have to say about what many are calling a “crisis” in modern agriculture and public health. 
 
Scientific community ralliers behind NDP proposal for independent science watchdog
Publish Date: 26-NOV-2014 08:30 AM
Important members of the scientific community are endorsing the NDP’s proposal to create an independent science watchdog with responsibility to curb the muzzling of public scientists and provide Parliament with sound information and expert advice on scientific issues. 
 
Canada and the ‘war on science’
Publish Date: 20-NOV-2014 02:27 PM
It has been claimed that since 2009, Harper’s Conservative government has laid off more than 2,000 federally employed scientists. Numerous programmes devoted to the monitoring of climate change, food inspection, water quality and oil spills have been cancelled. In September, hundreds of scientists in lab coats marched on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in protest, even going so far as to hold a mock funeral to mark “the death of evidence”. 
 
Canada and the ‘war on science
Publish Date: 20-NOV-2014 11:30 AM
Before he entered politics, Stephen Harper trained as an economist. It was perhaps prophetic that the Canadian prime minister decided to enter a field widely known as the “dismal science”: these days, his relationship with those practising most other types of science grows progressively more dismal by the day. It has been claimed that since 2009, Harper’s Conservative government has laid off more than 2,000 federally employed scientists. Numerous programmes devoted to the monitoring of climate change, food inspection, water quality and oil spills have been cancelled. In September, hundreds of scientists in lab coats marched on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in protest, even going so far as to hold a mock funeral to mark “the death of evidence”. 
 
Canada’s Union of Federal Scientists Gets Political, Commits to Campaign Against Harper Government
Publish Date: 11-NOV-2014 09:52 AM
In an absolutely unprecedented move Canada’s Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) announced it will engage in political activity in the lead-up to and during the next federal election. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions,” PIPSC president Debi Daviau said in a press release. “This government has forced non-partisan organizations such as ours to make a very difficult choice: to remain silent or to speak out. We have chosen to speak out,” added Daviau. 
 
No longer with the federal government, ELA biologist Michael Rennie is finally able to speak to media
Publish Date: 10-NOV-2014 09:50 AM
Michael Rennie is enjoying his new found freedom to speak. Professor Rennie is a biologist at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) research station, located in an area encompassing 58 freshwater lakes in Ontario's Kenora District. As It Happens spent months trying to arrange interviews with ELA scientists after Ottawa announced it would no longer fund the internationally acclaimed research facility. 
 
Tony Clement’s Orwellian ‘open government’ plan
Publish Date: 10-NOV-2014 09:48 AM
Seeking to combat his government’s reputation for secrecy, suppression of information and closed-door decision-making, Treasury Board President Tony Clement unveiled an ambitious “action plan on open government” last week. It was so totally disconnected from reality that the initial reaction in the nation’s capital was incredulity. Bitter criticism followed. He pledged to “maximize access to federally funded scientific research,” with no explanation of how this will happen when all 20,000 scientists on the federal payroll are muzzled by his government. 
 
Muzzled scientists : The challenges of reporting on climate change in Canada
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:43 AM
Yesterday, CJFE held an online chat, “The Chill in Canada’s Climate Science” to discuss the growing issue of climate change scientists being muzzled by the Canadian government. Moderated by CJFE’s Executive Director, Tom Henheffer, the event was held as part of the global campaign to end impunity. The two panelists for the discussion were Raveena Aulakh, environment reporter at the Toronto Star and Dr. Tom Duck, a leading atmospheric scientist. The panelists discussed the increase in censorship that scientists working for the federal government now face, and the challenge this poses to informing the Canadian public of crucial scientific matters that affect them, such as risks posed by climate change.  
 
‘Open government’ plan slams door on Access to Information Act reform
Publish Date: 07-NOV-2014 09:36 AM
The Conservative government has rejected calls to reform the Access to Information Act as part of a new openness plan. The final version of the federal blueprint on open government for 2014-16 remains silent on updating the 32-year-old law despite public pleas during several consultations — including a recent round of public feedback on a draft version. The final plan, published Thursday, commits the government to making more information and data — including scientific research, federal spending and archival records — readily available. 
 
Let my fellow scientists speak
Publish Date: 06-NOV-2014 09:32 AM
Six months ago, I was a government scientist. Then, the general consensus among my colleagues was that communications practice was more limiting than is reasonably necessary. Just last month, a letter signed by 800 international scientists echoed this sentiment, urging the Canadian government to “remove excessive and burdensome restrictions and barriers to scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.” I worked with DFO for nearly four years. The difference between organizations in both communications policy and practice couldn’t be greater. Under my current employer, our communications department works hard to promote our research in the media. I and other scientists are frequently sought out to speak about our work or assist reporters looking for comment or insight aligning with our expertise. 
 
International scientists call for Canadian science funding and freedoms to be restored
Publish Date: 30-OCT-2014 09:08 AM
Over 800 scientists worldwide have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling on the federal government to restore funding cut from its science programs and to remove barriers to the ability of Canadian government scientists to collaborate internationally. The letter and list of signatories was released on October 21 by the Cambridge, MA-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which has fought similar cuts and restrictions against U.S. government science, and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents over 15,000 scientists employed in 40 federal departments and agencies. 
 
From the BrainSTEM : Federal science demands democratic reform
Publish Date: 28-OCT-2014 08:59 AM
I’d like to think we live in a country where democracy is valued—a place where all groups are represented equally. Why then, is the Canadian government continuing to overhaul scientific communication policies while cutting the funding for important research programs? Recently, more than 800 scientists from 32 different countries signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper highlighting what they called a rapid decline in both the freedom and the funding allowed to federal scientists. 
 
New report documents federal clmapdown on scientists freedom of expression
Publish Date: 27-OCT-2014 08:57 AM
In February 2012, the scientific journal Nature published an editorial opinion piece, Frozen Out, calling on the Canadian government to reform policies that restrict media access to federal scientists. This followed numerous stories documenting delays and confusion in how different federal departments respond to requests for media interviews on scientific matters. How has the Harper government reacted? A new report, Can Scientists Speak, finds that federal media policies remain far more restrictive than those in the United States, and gives low to failing grades to nearly all 16 departments that employ scientists. 
 
Ottawa’s silencing of scientists should end
Publish Date: 26-OCT-2014 08:46 AM
The Conservative government only undermines itself by restricting the ability of federally employed scientists to communicate freely with the public and the media. It feeds suspicion, suggesting that Canada has something to hide, for example, on such controversial matters as the oil sands – wrongly or rightly. Last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists, an American organization, and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada sent Prime Minister Stephen Harper an open letter strongly recommending that Canada no longer insist that government scientists get the permission of a media relations officer before they speak to journalists. Fifteen thousand or so researchers are said to be affected by such rules. There were 800 signatories – Canadian government researchers themselves did not sign it.