The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age.And hey, haven't we seen this movie before? Yes, we have, with the muzzling of scientists by the Bush administration in a very similar fashion. From a piece 60 Minutes did in 2006 with renowned NASA scientist and climate change expert James Hansen, the similarities are apparent:
Natural Resources Canada scientists were told this spring they need “pre-approval” from Minister Christian Paradis’ office to speak with national and international journalists. Their “media lines” also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation.
"In my more than three decades in the government I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," says Hansen.
Restrictions like an e-mail Hansen's institute received from NASA in 2004. "… there is a new review process … ," the e-mail read. "The White House (is) now reviewing all climate related press releases," it continued.
Dozens of federal agencies report science but much of it is edited at the White House before it is sent to Congress and the public. It appears climate science is edited with a heavy hand. Drafts of climate reports were co-written by Rick Piltz for the federal Climate Change Science Program. But Piltz says his work was edited by the White House to make global warming seem less threatening.These Harper folks are so unoriginal. They're a few years behind the Bush administration in importing the tactics north but they do seem to manage to get around to it.