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NEWS: Harper government silences scientist over salmon study

Postmedia News reports, “Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada’s West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.”

“The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.”

“Science, one of the world’s top research journals, published Miller’s findings in January (and alerted the media to her work). …The documents show major media outlets were soon lining up to speak with Miller, but the Privy Council Office said no to the interviews.”

Jeffrey Hutchings, a senior fisheries scientist at Halifax’s Dalhousie University, says, “There is no question in my mind it’s muzzling. …When the lead author of a paper in Science is not permitted to speak about her work, that is suppression. There is simply no ifs, ands or buts about that. …(This control is) really poisoning the science environment within government. …An iron curtain has been draped over communication of science in the last five to six years.”

The article adds, “The Harper government has tightened the leash on federal scientists, whose work is financed by taxpayers and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, air pollution or food safety. …Environment Canada now even has media officers in Ottawa tape-recording the interviews scientists are allowed to give.”

The full article is at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/mobile/story.html?id=5162633.