Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 16, 2012.
Credits: (REUTERS/Chris Wattie )
Stephen Harper's Conservative government was blasted for 'muzzling' Canada's scientists at a major science meeting being held in Vancouver, B.C.
According to the website commondreams.org, a series of speakers at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) told the meeting that climate, environmental and health research that calls government policy into question is routinely suppressed.
Prof. Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria is quoted as saying that "the only information [the media] are given is that which the government wants, which will then allow a supporting of a particular agenda."
In an article on the BBC News' website, Prof. Thomas Pedersen, a senior scientist at the university, said he believed there was a political motive in some cases.
"The Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) is keen to keep control of the message, I think to ensure that the government won't be embarrassed by scientific findings of its scientists that run counter to sound environmental stewardship," Pedersen is quoted as saying.
But a spokeswoman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada denied any micromanaging of the message.
"The Department works daily to ensure it provides the public with timely, accurate, objective and complete information about our policies, programmes, services and initiatives, in accordance with the Federal Government's Communications Policy," she told BBC News. "In 2011, Fisheries and Oceans publicly issued 286 science advisory reports documenting our research on Canada's fisheries; our scientists respond to approximately 380 science-based media calls every year."