Muzzling of scientists subject of ‘unique’ probe by Canada’s information watchdog
Wide-ranging investigation, which will look into six different federal departments, is to review incidents in which the media was thwarted when trying to speak to Canadian government scientists about their work.
Canada’s information commissioner is launching an investigation into the “muzzling” of government scientists, a wide-reaching probe that will cover six different federal departments.
The University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre and the non-partisan Democracy Watch had asked Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault to examine “systematic efforts by the government of Canada to obstruct the right of the media — and through them, the Canadian public — to timely access to government scientists.”
Their request specifically named Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Legault’s office wrote last Friday to approve the investigation under the Access to Information Act — and to add another department to the complaint, the Treasury Board Secretariat.
“It’s clear that this will be a systemic investigation, which makes it very unique and important,” said Chris Tollefson, executive director of the law centre.
The bulk of complaints sent before the federal information commissioner relate to individual record requests, Tollefson added.
Probes framed as broadly as this are much rarer.
The original request was accompanied by a 128-page report written by law student Clayton Greenwood detailing numerous incidents when the media has been thwarted when trying to speak to Canadian government scientists about their work.
The above is only an excerpt from an article at The Star By: Kate Allen Science, Technology World, Published on Mon Apr 01 2013.
To read the full article go to http://tiny.cc/zedvuw
Related here on this blog https://saltyme.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/muzzling-of-federal-scientists-called-a-threat-to-democracy/