BIG NEWS: Canada's Information Commissioner will be investigating the Harper Government over reports that it has been muzzling its scientists.
It is now two weeks since the federal government removed Environment Canada's logo from weather.gc.ca. Most of the commentaries so far have missed the point. The changes were not made primarily to give more space for Conservative Action Plan ads (although they do), but were more likely intended to further marginalize Environment Canada so that it will be even easier to dismantle.
Environment Secretary Michelle Rempel has been defending the Harper government against charges that it is muzzling scientists. She does not deny the allegations, but instead makes a variety of spurious assertions while claiming to be "optimistic" about the investigation's outcome.
Here is another case of muzzling by the Harper government that the Information Commissioner can add to her investigation. In February, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) introduced a new policy allowing its managers to suppress scientific publishing. DFO's US-based collaborators rejected the policy outright as an "affront". DFO scientists, naturally, couldn't comment.
Another case of muzzling at Environment Canada has emerged. Retired water scientist Marley Waiser has come forward to say she was muzzled in 2011 in the aftermath of her discovery of chemical pollutants in Regina's Wascana Creek. The reason? Officials "didn't want to upset the City of Regina".