The federal information commissioner has agreed to launch an investigation into policies and practices that appear to be muzzling government scientists. |
The office of Suzanne Legault is responding to a detailed complaint lodged by the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and the ethics advocacy group Democracy Watch.
Their lengthy report filed last month laid out repeated examples of taxpayer-funded science being suppressed or limited to pre-packaged media lines across six different government departments and agencies.
In a letter to the complainants, the commissioner concluded she has the mandate to investigate government policies, practices or guidelines that impede access to information.
Legault says that includes government practices that restrict or prohibit government scientists from speaking with the media and the Canadian public.
The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been accused of silencing scientists on number of subjects, particularly environmental science, since the Conservatives came to power in 2006.
Sauce: Information watchdog to investigate
One of the things that has disturbed me the most about the conservatives is their claimed devotion to free access to information and transparency...and then to make decisions behind closed doors, without (or with inadequate) consultation, and adding the interference of the Prime Minister's Office which now needs to authorize almost every statement to the public from anything even remotely governmental.
I have a hunch this is going to get passed off by the Tories like they did with the budget watchdog; "We don't have to report cuts because we have to report on what we SPEND, not what we DON'T spend." And no, I didn't make that last up.