Scientists protest in Vancouver against federal muzzling
The group Evidence For Democracy says more transparency needed
About 100 protesters gathered in downtown Vancouver on Monday to speak out about Canadian government scientists who are being hampered from talking to the public about their taxpayer-funded research.
Prominent scientists such as David Suzuki spoke at the rally on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery at noon, saying the Conservative government is shutting down research on controversial topics such as genetically modified foods, farmed salmon and oil pipelines.
"We now have a prime minster intent on pushing the pipeline through across British Columbia before all the scientific information is in. We don't make informed decisions that way. We have to assess the information available," said Suzuki.
"We are threatened with politicians deciding not only whether or not to listen to scientists, but the kind of information that scientists are able to tell us about."
The protest was one of 17 in cities across Canada today organized by the group Evidence For Democracy.
The group is trying to pressure Ottawa to be more forthcoming about communicating what government-funded scientific research is uncovering in fields such as public health, crime prevention, fisheries management and climate change.
We "need to see science supported collectively by decision makers," said conservation biologist Pamela Zevit, who is organizing Monday's rally in Vancouver.
"The practice of science requires this open communication of ideas."
Canada's information commissioner, Suzanne Legault, confirmed earlier this year her office will investigate allegations that the federal government is muzzling its scientists.