Liberals call on Stephen Harper to stop muzzling scientists

OTTAWA – Today, Liberals called on Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to end their muzzling of scientists and create a Chief Science Officer for Canada.

“I have met with scientists and Canadians across the country, and it is clear they are deeply troubled by Mr. Harper’s suppressing of science and muzzling of scientists,” said Liberal Critic for Science and Technology, Ted Hsu. “Canadians expect their government to embrace fair, evidence-based policy. Liberals are committed to re-establishing a respectful relationship with government scientists and making their publicly-funded research accessible to Canadians.”

Liberals today introduced a motion calling on the government to: repeal all rules muzzling government scientists; consolidate taxpayer-funded science so it is easily available to Canadians through a central portal; and create the position of Chief Science Officer, whose duties would include ensuring that government science is publicly available, and that scientists may speak freely about their research. The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to including these measures in its election platform.

“The Conservatives have engaged in a systematic campaign to silence anyone – scientist or otherwise – who takes a position contrary to theirs,” said Mr. Hsu. “We need scientists to conduct research for the public good and share their findings free from political interference, and we are calling on all Members of Parliament to support our important motion today.”


The Liberal Opposition Day motion is as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House: (a) the government has constrained the ability of federal scientists to share their research and to collaborate with their peers; (b) federal scientists have been muzzled and prevented from speaking to the media about their work; (c) research is paid for by taxpayers and must be done in the public interest in order to protect the environment and the health and safety of Canadians; and, therefore, (d) the government should immediately rescind all rules and regulations that muzzle government scientists, consolidate government-funded or -created science so that it is easily available to the public at large through a central portal, create a Chief Science Officer whose mandate would include ensuring that government science is freely available to those who are paying for it, namely, the public, and allow scientists to be able to speak freely on their work with limited and publicly stated exceptions.