Canadian Scientists Call Countrywide Protests Against Government Censorship, Found Advocacy Group
from the lab-coat-fightback dept
Back in April, we noted that the Canadian government has been trying to muzzle various groups in the country, including librarians and scientists. It now seems that some scientists have had enough, as the Guardian reports:
Researchers in 16 Canadian cities have called protests on Monday against science policies introduced under the government of Stephen Harper, which include rules barring government researchers from talking about their own work with journalists and, in some cases, even fellow researchers.
Nor are these just a one-off, since they build on earlier protests:
The rallies, on university campuses and central locations in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver as well as other cities, will be the second set of protests in a year by government scientists against the Harper government's science policies.
There's also a new group called Scientists for the Right to Know:
Like last year, protesters have been asked to wear white lab coats on Monday.
In 2012, a Working Group of Science for Peace started to look into the muzzling of science and scientists in Canada. Muzzling is a broad process that may be carried out by governments, industry, universities, and others. However, we quickly realized that the current federal government is actually waging a war on basic science. While other Canadian governments have engaged in muzzling as well, we have never witnessed the type of systematic attack on basic science that is happening right now in Canada.
It's not clear how much impact this new group will make, but it is indicative that at least some people are beginning to move beyond simply wearing white coats at protests to organizing a more active resistance. The big question is how much support it will receive from government scientists around Canada.
We therefore decided to focus at present on the muzzling of science on the part of the federal government. We also decided that we needed to find a means to engage the public at large. The focus of our work shifted, then, from researching the issue to advocating for unmuzzled science. It became clear that the work the group was envisaging would exceed the mandate of Science for Peace - education. We decided to form a new organization frankly devoted to advocacy.