Harper Government Muzzling Scientists


mentalfloss
No Party Affiliation
#1



Muzzling scientists wrong


Taxpayers paid for Kristi Miller's important research on why West Coast salmon stocks have been crashing. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, for which she works, wanted the information made public. There is great public concern about the future of salmon.

And when Science, a leading research journal, published the findings in January, it notified 7,400 journalists worldwide and advised them how to seek interviews with Miller, who leads a $6-million salmon-genetics project at the federal Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo.

Then the Privy Council Office in Ottawa - the top bureaucrats - stepped in and muzzled Miller, Postmedia News reported this week. She was ordered not to talk to journalists or speak publicly about her team's research.

Those in control in Ottawa also ordered the Fisheries Department not to issue a news release about the study, saying that it "was not very good, focused on salmon dying and not on the new science aspect." (The research identified a genetic marker associated with increased death rates for Fraser sockeye and "raises the possibility" that a viral infection might be to blame.)

The gag order remains in effect more than six months later.

The official excuse, that Miller must be silenced because the Cohen Commission is examining Fraser River sockeye declines, is transparently stupid. Scientists' public discussion of their work won't affect a judicial inquiry. In any case, Miller is expected to testify next month.

And the silencing fits with a Harper government pattern of muzzling scientists previously able to speak freely about their work. Scientists are now required to obtain permission from political staffers before speaking. If they are allowed to speak, they must stick to "media lines" approved by strategists and ministers' aides. The result has been a great reduction in public information from federally employed scientists researching climate change, food safety, fisheries and other issues.

The public is best served by a free flow of such information. The government's attempt to silence scientists suggests it is not interested in allowing the facts to get in the way of its ideology in making decisions.
Last edited by mentalfloss; Jul 28th, 2011 at 10:34 AM..
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
+3
#2  Top Rated Post
That Kristi Miller might be a real smart scientist, but man she looks like a dog.
 
wulfie68
No Party Affiliation
#3
If she was working for the gov't, then unless she signed agreements to the contrary, the gov't owns her work and controls her ability to speak publicly about her findings. I don't necessarily advocate "muzzling scientists" but part of accepting funding or working for an organization is that you live by at least some (if not all) the conditions they place upon you. Sometimes that means abiding by non-disclosure agreements that you may not always agree with, but in the end, it is your decision to work for the organization.
 
Tonington
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68View Post

If she was working for the gov't, then unless she signed agreements to the contrary, the gov't owns her work and controls her ability to speak publicly about her findings.

Who is the government accountable to? All research funded by public money should be open source, including both the published papers and the expert opinions, as a condition of the grant. We are paying them, not the MP's or Privy Council. The research they produce is for Canadian benefit.

This research was truly groundbreaking. Epidemiologists will be scurrying now to figure out what pathogen is involved. Papers will be published. More than that, if it is a virus then that changes management strategies wildly. Why pour resources into strategies which will have very little fruitful gains?
 
Nuggler
#5
Probably all them scientits didn't go to church last week. Goodbye funding, says Fundie.

Heck it's only VIRUSESSS, AN FISH, EH. Who needs research when Stevo has his hand firmly on the Dutch Tiller or somesuch.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
+1
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by NugglerView Post

Probably all them scientits didn't go to church last week. Goodbye funding, says Fundie.

Heck it's only VIRUSESSS, AN FISH, EH. Who needs research when Stevo has his hand firmly on the Dutch Tiller or somesuch.

Man, you are one angry left wing zealot.
 
relic
Free Thinker
#7
Steve doesn't believe in science,he believes in power for him and his.I used to be apolitical ,now I think you righties are fn retarded,the kind of folks that would cut off your nose to spite your face.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

That Kristi Miller might be a real smart scientist, but man she looks like a dog.

Now,now!

I'm sure she has a great sense of humour and a winning personality.
 
Tonington
#9
Another good article on the subject here, from the publishers of Dr. Miller's research:
Canadian Fish Scientist 'Muzzled' by Government - ScienceInsider
A scientific study of fish genes has turned a spotlight on a lesser-known facet of the Canadian government: rigid control over its scientists' contact with the media. In an article published online yesterday, Postmedia News reporter Margaret Munro reported that fish scientist Kristi Miller had been forbidden by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to talk with the media about her genomic analysis of sockeye salmon. The story, based on 792 pages of e-mail and memos that Munro requested under the country's Access to Information Act, has left Canadian science writers fuming about what they call the latest of many examples of unwarranted muzzling.

Miller's paper, which was published in Science in January, is part of an effort to discover why sockeye in the Fraser River in western Canada began dying in record numbers in 2007. It's a contentious and highly political topic in British Columbia, enmeshed in larger debates over the rights of commercial fisheries versus indigenous peoples and whether salmon farms might be in some way responsible for the die-off that threatens to wipe out the $1 billion industry. The reason for the decline is unknown, but Miller's tour-de-force genomic study identified a set of genes expressed at unusual levels in the diseased salmon: genes associated with fighting infection or leukemia. Perhaps, the authors concluded, the mysterious death was due to "a virus infecting fish before river entry and that persists to the spawning areas."

The article impressed other scientists, and media outlets deluged Miller and DFO media officer Diane Lake with requests for interviews, Munro's article says. Like scientists in most government agencies in Canada, Miller must get clearance from her agency's media office before talking with reporters. This time, DFO said no. The reason: Miller's position as an expert for the Cohen Commission, a task force set up by the Prime Minister in 2009 to investigate the cause of the salmon death. According to Munro's article, Miller will be testifying before the commission in August.
 
Nuggler
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

Man, you are one angry left wing zealot.


Lost the last erection. gotta do something whilst the pension dollars keep flooding in..............right??.....sorry........left.:lol :big fukkin laff back atcha...........
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by NugglerView Post

Lost the last erection. gotta do something whilst the pension dollars keep flooding in..............right??.....sorry........left.:lol :big fukkin laff back atcha...........

Seriously though, what does Harpers religion have to do with this policy?
 
Tonington
+1
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

Seriously though, what does Harpers religion have to do with this policy?

Have to agree with RCS. It has nothing to do with Harper's religion. It has all to do with his control freak nature. Scientists will keep to the prescribed talking points, as directed by the Ministry of Truth...errrr Prime Minister's Office rather. That is when they are allowed to speak.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Have to agree with RCS. It has nothing to do with Harper's religion. It has all to do with his control freak nature. Scientists will keep to the prescribed talking points, as directed by the Ministry of Truth...errrr Prime Minister's Office rather. That is when they are allowed to speak.

Valid argument Tonington and I am not here to disagree with you. When the discussuon or debate is made on that level it is all the more enthralling and certainly more credible.
 
jjaycee98
Conservative
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68View Post

If she was working for the gov't, then unless she signed agreements to the contrary, the gov't owns her work and controls her ability to speak publicly about her findings. I don't necessarily advocate "muzzling scientists" but part of accepting funding or working for an organization is that you live by at least some (if not all) the conditions they place upon you. Sometimes that means abiding by non-disclosure agreements that you may not always agree with, but in the end, it is your decision to work for the organization.

Perhaps they think their "employee" came up with totally wrong conclusions and don't wish to be embarrassed by what she has to say. Of what use to anyone is wrong information?

In fact there have been record numbers of Salmon every year since 2007. Most scientist believe there had to be an errant gene within the stock and Mother Nature did what she does best. The weaker stock genetic lines died off and the stronger ones prevailed.
 
Tonington
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by jjaycee98View Post

Most scientist believe there had to be an errant gene within the stock and Mother Nature did what she does best. The weaker stock genetic lines died off and the stronger ones prevailed.

Most scientists do not believe that, where did you hear that? There is no evidence of that whatsoever. As well, there's well over 100 different stocks of Fraser River Sockeye, an errant deleterious gene making it into all distinct breeding populations simultaneously is highly unlikely.
 
Nuggler
#16
My comments re: religion were just to demonstrate in a humorous way, the control freak Herr Harpo is.

Come on!! You knew that, eh.

Google "Dutch Tiller" and see what else he might like to control. That too is meant to be humorous, and in no way impinge on the dirty nasty controlling character of Herr Harpo.............und Flatulance.
 
DaSleeper
+1
#17
Just a question:
Is it possible that the government wants to control the timing of the release of the documents???

eg; when the Ontario government does a geological survey...the results of the survey is only released on a prearranged date so as not to give any mining company unfair advantage in staking claims....
 
Tonington
+3
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

Just a question:
Is it possible that the government wants to control the timing of the release of the documents???

The paper is already published...they are controlling the media access to the expert. Most probably don't understand the highly technical jargon of a molecular biologist.
 
DaSleeper
+1
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

The paper is already published...they are controlling the media access to the expert. Most probably don't understand the highly technical jargon of a molecular biologist.

Thanks.....
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
+3
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by NugglerView Post

My comments re: religion were just to demonstrate in a humorous way, the control freak Herr Harpo is.

Come on!! You knew that, eh.

Google "Dutch Tiller" and see what else he might like to control. That too is meant to be humorous, and in no way impinge on the dirty nasty controlling character of Herr Harpo.............und Flatulance.

No they weren't. That's how folks like you roll. When you disagree with someones ideology you go for the lowest common denominator in the argument. In Harpers case its the fact that he is a Christian. Now if you were to attack a politician in this manner who was a Hindu or a Muslim (which I am guessing you wouldn't dare) you would be branded intolerant or even racist.

The fact that Harper has yet to use his Christian religion in governing matters not to you, because with Christians intolerance is quite acceptable because they generally don't haul you int of an HRC or throw out the intolerance card.

That's the awesome double standard.

Same thing with the Nazi comment.

When you sink to this level in the debate you look like the other kind of zealot. The uneducated ignoramus who can't muster an argument so instead calls people Nazi's or Bible Thumpers.

As I said before you look like an angry zealot who brings nothing to the table but intolerance and ignorance.

But don't take me seriously, I'm just injecting a bit of humor to spice up your Dutch Tiller comment.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#21
Nazi comment?

That's the way "you people" roll, ain't it?
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

No they weren't. That's how folks like you roll. When you disagree with someones ideology you go for the lowest common denominator in the argument. In Harpers case its the fact that he is a Christian. Now if you were to attack a politician in this manner who was a Hindu or a Muslim (which I am guessing you wouldn't dare) you would be branded intolerant or even racist.

The fact that Harper has yet to use his Christian religion in governing matters not to you, because with Christians intolerance is quite acceptable because they generally don't haul you int of an HRC or throw out the intolerance card.

That's the awesome double standard.

Same thing with the Nazi comment.

When you sink to this level in the debate you look like the other kind of zealot. The uneducated ignoramus who can't muster an argument so instead calls people Nazi's or Bible Thumpers.

As I said before you look like an angry zealot who brings nothing to the table but intolerance and ignorance.

But don't take me seriously, I'm just injecting a bit of humor to spice up your Dutch Tiller comment.

Lowest common denominator? Very well put.

The thing that tends to ticks me off the most is that any actual criticism ends up getting lost in the minutiae of "Nazi/Commi (etc)" blame game that just goes round and round. And it never ends, it's just arguing for the sake of arguing! What's the friggin point?

The government should be critiqued, not because they're conservatives or because Harper is the PM, but because it's the government! Accountability anyone? By reducing the talking points to the level of schoolyard taunting all that ends up happening is that any true discussion, debate and legitimate criticism is stifled. It is very difficult, actually impossible, to garner any sort of respect of an opposing point of view when that opposing viewpoint offers no respect to begin with.

And, in the interest of fairness, I've seen the same type of thing espoused by the other side of the ideological equation, although not to as great a degree. But I don't necessarily believe it's because those who are more conservative leaning in their political beliefs are any more mature by nature, I think it's simply because we currently have a conservative government.

Sorry for the Saturday morning rant but you're comments just echoed so many of the thoughts I've had as I read through many of the threads on this forum.

 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

Nazi comment?

That's the way "you people" roll, ain't it?

Well CDNBear did start a Nazi for a day push-back when the election was on because of all the stupid Harper is a Nazi comments, but then that was to illustrate how ridiculous people were acting.

I'm not a religious person Lone Wolf, but I do find the standards for criticizing leaders based on their faith rather laughable.
 
taxslave
No Party Affiliation
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

The paper is already published...they are controlling the media access to the expert. Most probably don't understand the highly technical jargon of a molecular biologist.

I'm thinking that not only most of the media won't understand the jargon but few of the people that think they have a stake in this will understand if sufficiently to be able to use the data correctly with the result that the media will have a field day with miss quotes and half truths from all sides.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

Well CDNBear did start a Nazi for a day push-back when the election was on because of all the stupid Harper is a Nazi comments, but then that was to illustrate how ridiculous people were acting.

I'm not a religious person Lone Wolf, but I do find the standards for criticizing leaders based on their faith rather laughable.

I sort of find the lines between religious affiliation and political stripe blurred by the rhetoric....
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

I sort of find the lines between religious affiliation and political stripe blurred by the rhetoric....

Have you ever noticed that most of the rhetoric comes from detractors and supporters rather than the leaders themselves?
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#27
"Only a Conservative majority government will...." came from?....
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

"Only a Conservative majority government will...." came from?....

Huh?
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#29
That's what I thought....
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
+1
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

That's what I thought....

Speaking tongues will not conjure your evil left wing spirits, witch.
 

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