DFO is censoring federal scientists with research rules, critics say


Angry scientists and academics are accusing the Stephen Harper government of muzzling and censoring its scientists to the point that research cannot be published, even when there is collaboration with international researchers, unless it matches government policy.

Under revised Fisheries and Oceans Canada rules, scientists working in its central and Arctic region cannot be involved in publishing research until a DFO division administrator has reviewed it “for any concerns/impacts to DFO policy.”

That amounts to censoring scientific findings, says Jim Turk, Canadian Association of University Teachers executive director.

“The federal government wants to control what scientists do and what they find and how it’s reported. They want to suppress findings that can be seen as being against their political objectives,” Turk said.

A letter written to Harper Thursday on behalf of the 68,000 CAUT members expresses “deep dismay and anger at your government’s attack on the independence, integrity and academic freedom of scientific researchers.”

The latest changes run contrary to the spirit of free scientific inquiry and smack of political censorship, the letter says.

It is part of a pattern that has seen the Harper government reduce media access to scientists and cut funding and programs, Turk said.

University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said the changes put DFO research reviews into the hands of Ottawa bureaucrats instead of scientists.

Written By: Judith Lavoie
continue to source article at timescolonist.com


  1. Anytime I see the phrase “put research into the hands of bureaucrats instead of scientists”…. I shudder.

  2. In reply to #1 by prettygoodformonkeys:

    I’m embarrassed and angry on behalf of my country.

    Don’t be, it’s not unique to Canada. Just about ALL western politicians are blithering idiots in matters of science and religion.

  3. Anger is good! We require a conjoined effort and public uprising to force the abdication of this mindless corporate dictator running Canada. The system already protects a tyrant like Harper against prosecution and assassination would send the wrong message to the rest of the world. We are proud Canadians and require a Canadian solution toward securing our sovereignty, environment and personal freedoms from the ravages of a greedy tyrant who supports the destructive whims of corporate dominance for personal profit. We need to reach out to suppressed prisoners of conscience within the political system and public service (science, military, police) to speak out against Harper tyranny in support of the public good. Adolph Harper needs to be challenged and removed from office post haste. Where is the government opposition and media circus in times of blatant political abuse of constitutional, civil and human rights? It’s time to rise from our complacency and save the country we love from the death grip of Harper corporate tyranny.

  4. Harpers minion and Canada’s minister of science, Gary Goodyear (I am ashamed to say he is my Member of Parliament) thinks the earth is 6000 years old….yes…our Science Minister is a young earth creationist. It is disgraceful…if what this horrible government is doing were not so serious it would be laughable.

  5. A lot of Canadians find the Harper government an embarrassment. Censoring scientists is just one example of how the Harper government suppresses anything it doesn’t like.

    Can’t wait for the next election.

  6. A lengthy report was recently submitted to our Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, on behalf of Democracy Watch and the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria.

    It expounds on specific cases of censorship that our government scientists have had to contend with as a result of the Conservative government’s policies. I recommend that people read at least the first few sections — it’s both disconcerting and informative.

    You can find it at this link.

  7. The way I see it, every country is really run by a minority, and people should come to terms with this (the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have it). All that’s been accomplished so far is to install a more benevolent ruler (or ruling minority) that will throw a few more crumbs to the rest of us.

    In the meantime: Here in Canada we have a governing party (Consevatives) that are so bad they make the other parties look good. So, how do we dump them? Is it too early to talk about voting strategies to make sure that happens in the next federal election?

  8. “I though Canadians were better than this.”

    As a Canadian, I can delude myself with the following – LOL:
    Harper and the cons were elected with a minority of votes (although that often happens), due to the fact that there are 5 parties running, which splits the vote.
    Now that I think of it, where are all those people who claimed to plug their noses while voting for Harper/conservatives the first time they were elected to a minorty government?

  9. We’ve had this kind of manipulative nonsense from politicians in the UK as well; as if religion wasn’t enough!

    Power corrupts. It’s sad, but no leaders can be trusted implicitly I’m afraid. We must think for ourselves or face the consequences.

Leave a Reply