With files from Liza Yuzda
Government scientists across Canada took to the streets today rallying for support as they fight for the protection to speak freely in their current collective bargaining sessions.
In Vancouver, Robert MacDonald with the union representing the scientists, says they are looking for the same freedoms to share information without suffering professionally, as is seen in the U.S. and in Europe. Something they don’t have now in Canada.
“Any type of science is only effective if there is proper scientific and peer review. When we stop the flow of that information into the scienfic community you’re stopping scientific advancement, and that’s going to have a huge impact for years and years to come.”
Not only are government scientists being muzzled, MacDonald says their numbers are dwindling, since 2012 they’ve lost 7,500 from their ranks. He wants Canadians to be aware of this as they choose who to elect in this fall’s election.
If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all
In 2013, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada commissioned a survey, titled “The Big Chill: Silencing Public Interest in Science.” Conducted by Environics, over 15,000 federal scientists were invited to participate in the online survey. The results of the survey were considered accurate 19 times out of 20.
What federal scientists have to say
- 90% scientists don’t feel they can speak freely to the media about the work they do
- 37% report they were prevented from responding to questions from the public and media by public relations staff or management over the past five years
- 24% report being directly asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons
- 48% are aware of actual cases in which their department or agency suppressed information
- 62% feel the best climate change science is not used in policy