The allegation of "muzzling" came up at a session of the AAAS meeting to discuss the impact of a media protocol introduced by the Conservative government shortly after it was elected in 2008.
The protocol requires that all interview requests for scientists employed by the government must first be cleared by officials. A decision as to whether to allow the interview can take several days, which can prevent government scientists commenting on breaking news stories.
As you must have noticed from my usually neutral tone, my goal in life is not to expose hypocrisies or highlight government wrongdoings or be critical of political entities. I simply try to explain their behavior from a different perspective without expressing outrage.
Sources say that requests are often refused and when interviews are granted, government media relations officials can and do ask for written questions to be submitted in advance and elect to sit in on the interview.
That is because I know that states will behave badly, violently and hypocritically when it suits their purpose or when they have specific interests at stake. It is in their job description.
But this one is just a sad case of a conservative government doing something for the sake of their pathetic ideology and for no good reason other than possibly the childish joy of pissing off progressive people in general. Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol will not save the country any money (despite the empty words of a former news reader). It will just tarnish the country's stellar image.
Maybe if somebody explained to them in terms conservatives understand like the importance of brands and brand management they might understand the shortsighted stupidity of their actions.
What is even sadder is that they don't even notice the Orwellian irony worthy of Bashar al Assad behind their defense of that silly protocol.
The protocol states: "Just as we have one department we should have one voice. Interviews sometimes present surprises to ministers and senior management. Media relations will work with staff on how best to deal with the call (an interview request from a journalist). This should include asking the programme expert to respond with approved lines."I know what Montesquieu said about people having the government they deserve but I firmly believe that Canada and Canadian people did not deserve the Harper government.