The Muzzling of Science in Canada

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Please note that endnotes are indicated by Roman numerals in brackets

Introduction (i)

We are living in the age of science. Our entire life is impacted by and largely based on science: the way we communicate (via the internet), what we eat (scientific farming, GM products), how we clothe ourselves (synthetic fibres), how we build our shelters (new construction materials and processes), our understanding of how we procreate and, for an increasing number of people, the actual process of procreation, how we move from place to place, etc.

At the same time, we are also living in an era in which scientists are being muzzled. It is a paradox: science determines much of our lives, yet scientists are prevented from conducting research and/or speaking about their research. Not all scientists are muzzled, of course, only those whose findings are unwelcome.

The muzzlers are many: corporations, governments and universities. Nor are these three isolated from each other: governments favour large corporations, reduce funding to other bodies and foster “partnerships”, which in turn makes universities eager to search for corporate funding. The same applies to museums. For instance, the Canada Science and Technology Museum was pressured by the Imperial Oil Foundation, which contributed $600,000, to change their exhibit about the oil sands. They found the language too negative, were uncomfortable with the links between wars and oil, and objected that the exhibit showed changes in the landscape caused by oil mining. (ii)

Corporations muzzle their own scientists (iii) and at the same time influence governments as well as universities to muzzle, and of course there are other agencies that muzzle science (fundamentalist religion would be another agent in this activity (iv) as well as others); however, I will concentrate here only on the muzzling carried out by the federal government.

The federal government’s actions are at the leading edge of muzzling—to the degree that the international community has taken note of it and protested. The magazine Nature published two editorials deploring the muzzling of Canadian scientists, while the BBC reported on the same issue. (v) In February 2012, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held a session on the muzzling of Canadian scientists. (vi) In July 2012, a lab-coated crowd of scientists staged a mock funeral for the ‘death of evidence’. (vii) In February 2012, the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, together with the Association science et bien commun, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and the World Federation of Science Journalists wrote an open letter to Harper in which they deplored “the disturbing practices of the Canadian government in denying journalists timely access to government scientists” and asked him for “freedom of speech for federal scientists”. (viii)

Who is being muzzled?

So who is being muzzled? The overall funding for science and technology has increased since the Harper government took power in 2006 (ix), so the muzzling is highly targeted. Only those organizations and individuals which are promoting inconvenient views (inconvenient from the perspective of the federal government) are de-funded, severely curtailed, or completely shut down, or, in the case of individual scientists, fired, demoted, or prohibited from speaking freely—or at all—to the media. This is rarely admitted. However, occasionally it does slip out. So, for instance, Minister Baird defended the shutting down of the National Round Table on the Environment and Economy by noting that its members “have tabled more than ten reports encouraging a carbon tax.” (x) He added “Those of us on this side of the House won’t let them do it.” (xi) He further stated that their advice “should agree with the government”. (xii)

The muzzling of scientists must be put into the context of the systematic and system-wide silencing of dissent by the Harper government. Between 2006 and 2011 at least seventy-nine organizations that work in some way on the climate crisis or for human rights, both nationally and internationally, including women’s, immigrants’ and Aboriginal rights, have either been shut down or their funding has been dramatically curtailed. (xiii) Since that time, at least eight more organizations were abolished: Experimental Lakes Area, First Nations Statistics Institute, National Roundtable on Environment and Economy, National Science Advisor, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (xiv) and the National Council of Welfare. (xv) In the latter case, “The Conservatives didn’t even have the decency to mention the demise of the council in the budget speech. The budget papers included a table in one of the appendices that showed a cut of $1.1 million a year in the council’s budget beginning next year. What the papers didn’t bother to say was that $1.1 million is the council’s entire budget.” (xvi) Within Environment Canada, the Adaptation and Impacts Research Division (AIRD) was “discontinued”, in spite of “its high rate of productivity, its fiscal responsibility, and an auditor’s recommendation that it be given additional support. This division provided research and information on areas likely to experience hazardous floods, windstorms, tornadoes and similar climatic events in light of climate change.” (xvii) In 2012, the Rights and Democracy agency was scrapped, after Harper had created turmoil within it by appointing board members who hijacked the agency’s ideology. (xviii)

During the 2006-2011 period, fourteen individuals who headed important organizations were fired or resigned in protest of government interference. (xix) Since that time, the reappointment of Lucassie Arragutainaq as chair of the Nunavut Impact Review Board was vetoed by Minister Duncan. (xx) There is a depressingly long list of cases in which individuals were prevented from speaking out, within government and at supposedly arm-lengths organizations. (xxi) The muzzling of scientists must therefore be seen as only one of the ways in which dissent from the conservative government’s ideology is being repressed. But it is the one that concerns us here.

How does the muzzling work?

How does the muzzling work? It is helpful to look at a US study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. They issued a paper in February 2012 in which they analyze how corporations corrupt science at the public’s expense. They identify the following methods:

1. Corrupting the Science a) Terminating and suppressing research b) Intimidating or coercing scientists c) Manipulating study designs and research protocols d) Ghostwriting scientific articles e) Publication bias (overreporting positive results, underreporting negative results)

2. Shaping Public Perception a) Downplaying evidence and playing up false uncertainty b) Vilifying scientists c) Promoting experts who undermine the scientific consensus d) Influencing the media by feeding slanted reports

3. Restricting Agency Effectiveness a) Attacking legislation to delay regulations b) Hindering the regulatory process by limiting agencies’ resources and demanding extraordinary burdens of proof c) Corrupting scientific advisory panels by placing members with ties to corporations on them d) Spinning the revolving door: officials shuffle between high-level government positions and regulated industries or corporations e) Censoring scientists and their research by deleting selected evidence or adopting flawed methodologies f) Withholding information from the public

4. Influencing Congress

5. Exploiting Judicial Pathways through multi-million dollar campaign contributions (xxii)

Since I am here concentrating my attention on the muzzling in which the federal government engages, and therefore ignore other muzzling agents, some of the practices are not applicable in this context. Clearly, the last two points are not relevant in our context, although it would be interesting to scrutinize campaign contributions to candidates for MP positions from this perspective. Many of the other points made are helpful in focussing our attention.

So here are some of the ways in which the Canadian government is currently muzzling science and scientists. All of the examples cited are no more than that: one example of a particular type of muzzling.

1. Closing crucial research organizations

The possibly most egregious example is the de-funding of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA). It is a collection of 58 remote lakes where water scientists conduct experiments in a natural environment. It is world-renowned. One of its achievements was the research which led to the Air Quality Agreement between Canada and the US. This, in turn, led to significant reductions in airborne pollutants that came down as acid rain. (xxiii) “According to a recent poll by Forum Research, a whopping 50 percent of Canadians disagreed with the decision to close down the world’s only whole-lake eco-system experimental facility that has made so many planet-improving discoveries.” (xxiv)

2. Drastically cutting budgets of crucial research organizations

Canada’s lead organization for funding university-led research an extreme weather, air quality, climate and marine predictions, the Canadian foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) had its budget drastically cut in the 2011 budget to less than half of what is needed to maintain the level of research it funded over the past decade. (xxv) Given that our economy is highly sensitive to weather and climate changes, and given that the number of extreme weather events has steeply risen in the last decade, (xxvi) this seems disingenuous.

3. Prohibiting and/or policing contacts of government scientists with the media

There is a long list of incidences in which scientists were prohibited from communicating with the media, or in which their contacts were restricted, controlled and policed. Probably the most famous case is that of Kristi Miller, head of molecular genetics for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). She investigated why the salmon populations in western Canada were declining. Science, which published her results, found the study so significant that they notified over 7,400 journalists worldwide about Miller’s study. The Privy Council prohibited her from speaking with any of the journalists who asked for an interview. The Privy Council also nixed a Fisheries Department news release about the study. (xxvii)

In April 2012, Environment Canada researchers who attended the International Polar Year conference received an e-mail that instructed them as follows: “If you are approached by the media, ask them for their business card and tell them that you will get back to them with a time for an interview. … Send a message to your media relations contact and they will organize the interview. They will most probably be with you during the interview to assist and record.” (xxviii)

4. Prohibiting and/or policing contacts of government scientists with MPs

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, notes that the muzzling now includes communication with MPs. “‘I asked a colleague in DFO a fairly innocuous question by e-mail a few months ago,’ May wrote. ‘The reply explained that, now that I was an MP, he would need permission to respond. He promised to let me know when he had the ‘all clear’. I imagine I will never hear from him again.” (xxix)

5. Delaying media access to scientists when stories break so that public interest declines

David Tarasick was prevented to speak with the media about his study about a record hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic. Three weeks after the study was published, he finally did receive permission to speak – with the head of media relations listening in. Asked whether he was permitted to speak to media, he answered “Well I’m available when media relations says I’m available … I have to go through them.” (xxx)

6. Interfering with the scientific integrity of data collection

The best known – and most egregious example of this – is the abolition of the long census form of Statistics Canada, and its replacement with a voluntary survey. Socially marginal groups are less likely to respond to a voluntary lengthy questionnaire that requires a bit of work to answer than groups with a higher socio-economic status. The census is the one data source that catches virtually all Canadians, and is used across Canada by researchers, businesses, municipal, provincial and federal governments, social justice oriented NGOs, university researchers, and many others. With a voluntary survey, the quality of the information will deteriorate, in particular for poorer groups such as Aboriginal people and disabled people.

According to Statistics Canada former head, the magazine The Economist examined in the early 1990 the performance of the world’s leading statistical agencies and declared Statistics Canada to be the best in the world. (xxxi) This status as one of the world’s best statistics services is unlikely to continue with the abolition of the long census.

The reason the government provided for taking this drastic step was that there had been public complaints about invasion of privacy. This turned out not to be true – in 2006 there were two complaints and in 2001 one complaint. Given that this form goes to over 13 million households, the lack of complaints is remarkable indeed! Close to 370 groups, however, complained – in vain – about the decision to discontinue the long census form. (xxxii) Complaints from the public therefore do not seem to weigh heavily once the government has decided what it is going to do. The head of Statistics Canada resigned after the government lied and said that he and Statistics Canada had told them that there would be no negative consequences. (xxxiii)

7. Stacking a supposedly arm’s length organization with people representing the government’s ideology

In 2009, the Harper government appointed to the board of the Rights and Democracy Agency new members who had opposed the organization’s decision to provide three small grants to Middle East groups critical of Israel’s human rights record. “The resulting discord led to then-president Remy Beauregard’s death from a heart attack in the middle of a contentious board meeting, and caused almost all of the agency’s staff to publicly state their non-confidence in the Harper-appointed board members. A Deloitte and Touche audit conducted into the agency’s operations concluded that the Harper government had engaged in an ‘ideological hijacking’ of the agency.” (xxxiv)

In April 2012, Minister Baird announced that the agency would be closed. “There have been many, many problems at this agency for some time,” Baird said during question period. “These problems are very well known. What we’re simply doing is taking that important project of Rights and Democracy, of freedom, and bringing that within our department.” (xxxv)

8. Manipulate data to put a positive slant on a negative phenomenon

Canada signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, and pledged to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. In 1997, Canada signed the Kyoto Protocol, formally committing itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 1990 levels by 2010. The Harper government unilaterally withdrew from the Kyoto Accord. Between 1990 and 2008, Canada’s GHG emissions increased by 24%. The new goal the Harper government established is to reduce GHG emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. That translates into a goal that is 2.5% above 1990 GHG emission levels – the weakest target in the industrialized world. However, unless people are aware that by 2005 our emissions levels were significantly higher than in 1990, a 17% reduction may sound impressive.

Then look at the chart which appears on a website of Environment Canada.

To the trusting reader, this looks as if our GHG emissions had gone down rather than up since 1990. The trick is that the data are not reflecting absolute levels of emissions, but emissions on a per capita basis and per unit of the Gross Domestic Product – and since both of these continue to grow, it seems as if our GHG emissions are either stable or even declining, when in fact they have been increasing compared to 1990. (xxxvi)

9. Change the legislative framework to weaken data collection

In August 2012, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency cancelled 2,970 project reviews that were stopped by the Omnibus Bill C-38 that rewrote Canada’s environmental laws and weakened federal oversight on industrial development. 678 of the cancelled reviews involved fossil fuel energy and 248 involved a pipeline, including proposals from Alberta-based energy companies, Enbridge and TransCanada. (xxxvii) Minister Kent issued a statement that started as follows: “I would like to take this opportunity to clarify recent reports on changes to the environmental assessment act, which have given the impression that Canada’s environmental protection regime is now somehow weakened. This is simply not the case.” (xxxviii) Others observe that the bill destroys 50 years of environmental oversight and that statements to the contrary are farcical. (xxxix)

Summary of how the muzzling works

The identification of types of muzzling described here is only a beginning. There are certainly other forms that need to be added to this tentative typology of government muzzling. It is interesting to note that there is a remarkable similarity between the types of muzzling tactics employed by US corporations and by the Canadian government.

Effects of muzzling

The effects of the muzzling have been devastating. One analyst argues, “Under Harper, we have become strangers to ourselves, a foreign country run by an angry and hostile regime.” (xl)

With respect to climate change, the muzzling policy has been highly successful. Margaret Munro, an award winning science reporter, said “We used to have a very open system of government, where the scientists were actually free to discuss their research with the media … But it’s now become a very closed system with government taking media and message control to sometimes quite incredible extreme.” Consequently, many journalists have simply given up trying to access federal scientists. (xli) Between 2007 and 2010 there was an 80 percent drop in media coverage of climate change science, according to an internal Environment Canada analysis. (xlii)

Canada used to be an environmental leader – now we have received the Fossil of the Year Award as the most obstructionist nation in blocking progress towards international climate deals five years in a row.

Canada was a leader in government openness – now we occupy rank 51, behind Angola, Colombia and Niger, in terms of freedom of information. (xliii)

What can we do?

This question stymies me. Clearly, we need to continue to protest, in whatever manner is possible for people in various positions. However, that has so far been singularly unsuccessful in stopping the silencing of scientists concerned with climate change and human rights. Protests need to continue, but any potential new government will take decades to build up again what has been destroyed. Shutting up a world-renowned research institute is easy and quick – but building one takes a very long time.

As scholars, we also need to keep track of what is being done. There is no guarantee that any new government would do better, unless we can make the muzzling of science an election issue about which the public cares passionately. If we take 2006 – the year in which Harper became Prime Minister – as the base year, we need a number of indicators that can tell us whether the situation is improving – as is currently the case at the national level in the USA (xliv) – or whether it is deteriorating. Which indicators would be useful (xlv) is an issue that requires reflection and debate. They might include the following ones:

Access of the public and the media to all scientists paid by tax dollars

Are scientists permitted to speak to the public and the media about their work without censorship? Are scientists able to speak without the presence of media handlers?

Are scientists able to express opinions that run counter to government policy without negative effects?

This requires vigilance in observing what happens to critics – are they fired, demoted, discontinued, or rewarded or at least not negatively affected?

Can scientists unrestrictedly submit papers to scientific conferences, journals and other outlets which determine publication solely on the basis of scientific merit?

This would mean that scientists are free to submit papers when they have results they consider worth publishing, and that it is the organization to which they submit their paper that decides, via anonymous peer review, whether it is worth publishing – regardless of whether it confirms or challenges current government policy.

What is the Canada’s ranking in freedom of information?

Have we moved up or down in international rankings?

Are arm’s length scientific organizations free to conduct their research and analyses without government interference?

This also requires vigilance in following information about interference.

However, none of these indicators tell us how many organizations have been closed, derailed, made impotent because of underfunding. Just counting the number of scientific organizations that receive government support or looking at the total dollar amount spent is not useful in this context, because it depends on what the organizations do and how they do it. Are human rights and climate change research activities supported? To what degree? How to measure this?

At this point, I do not know how to answer this question. It is one that requires our collective thoughts and wisdom.

Margrit Eichler is a Professor Emerita -Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto


(i) I wish to acknowledge the helpful articles that were posted on the Science for Peace listserv or sent to me directly by my colleagues in this organization.
(ii) Spears, Tom. Science museum pressured by corporate sponsor over oilsands exhibit, Ottawa Citizen, January 24, 2012. sponsor+over+oilsands+exhibit/6044901/story.htlm
(iii) Union of Concerned Scientists. Head They Win, Tails We Lose. How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public’s Expense. Cambridge: UCS Publications, 2012,
 Dechene, op.cit.
(iv) For an American example, see Stewart, Katherine. “the new anti-science assault on US schools: The Guardian, February 12, 2012, http://
(v) Gosh, Pallab. Canadian government is ‘muzzling it scientists’, BBC News,
(vi) Gosh, ibid.
(vii) Death of Evidence,, accessed August 28, 2012.
(ix) Nature, Editorial, July 19, 2012, Vol. 487, # 74407, pp. 271-272.
(x) Nature, ibid.
(xi) Visser, Josh. John Baird Happily admits Tories didn’t like axed environment wachdog’s advice. National Post, May 14, 2012,, accessed August 22, 2012.
(xii) Dechene, Paul. “ELA Soon To Be MIA”, Priarie Dog,, accessed August 22, 2012
(xiii) Gergin, Maria. “Silencing Dissent: The Conservative Record”, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Commentary and Fact Sheets, Issue(s): Law and legal issues , Other, April 6, 2011
(xiv) Stechyson, Natalie. Scientists protest federal research cuts with funeral march, Vancouver Sun, hhtp://, accessed August 22, 2012
(xv) Monsebraaten, Laurie. Federal budget 2012: Ottawa axes National Council on Welfare,—federal-budget-2012-ottawa-axes-national-council-on-welfare, accessed August 20, 2012
(xvi) Kerstetter, Steve. Scrapping welfare council is a cheap shot by a government that doesn’t care about the poor.—scrapping-welfare-council-is-a-cheap-shot-by-a-government-that-doesn-t-care-about-the-poor, accessed August 20, 2012
(xvii) Scharper, Stephen, Federal scientists must be free to speak out, Toronto Star, Feb. 27, 2012, p. A11.
(xviii) CBC news. Troubled Rights and Democracy agency to be closed. and Gergin, op. cit.
(xix) Gergin, ibid.
(xx) AANDC Minister Vetoes the Re-appointment of NIRB Chairperson
(xxi) Gergin, ibid.
(xxii) From Union of Concerned Scientists. op. cit., pp. 2-4.
(xxiii) Dechene, op.cit.
(xxiv) Harris, op.cit
(xxv) Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, hhtp://, accessed August 22, 2012
(xxvi) Number of natural disasters registered in EMDAT,, accessed 2011-04-15.
(xxvii) Munro, Margaret. Feds silence scientist over salmon study. Postmedia News, July 27, 2011. html
(xxviii) Munro, Margaret. Government ‘muzzling’ scientists, critics claim,
April 23, 1012,
(xxix) Davidson, Janet. Are Canada’s federal scientists being ‘muzzled’? CBC News, March 27, 2012,
(xxx) De Souza, Mike. “Scientists speaks out after finding ‘record’ ozone hole over Canadian Arctic”,, accessed August 22, 2012.
(xxxi) Sheikh, Munir A. Good data and intelligent government.—ex-chief-statistician-picks-apart-cancellation-of-long-census, accessed August 28, 2012.
(xxxii) Sheikh, op. cit.
(xxxiii) From a talk by Munir Sheikh for Science for Peace in February 2012.
(xxxiv) Gergin, op.cit.
(xxxv) CBC news. Troubled Rights and Democracy agency to be closed.
(xxxvi) Official website of Environment Canada accessed 2011-04-06
(xxxvii) De Souza, Mike. Harper government cancels 3,000 environmental reviews on pipelines and other projects
(xxxviii) Kent, Peter. Ministerial Statement on CEAA 2012, OTTAWA – August 28, 2012,, accessed August 28, 2012.
(xxxix) Duncan, Kristy. Review of C-38′s environmental impact is farcical, August 28, 2012
(xl) Hume, Christopher, “Stephen Harper is blind to science”, Toronto Star, July 14, 2012, p. GT5
(xli) Burgmann, Tamsyn, “Ottawa ‘muzzling’ scientists, panel tells global research community”, Canadian Press, March 1, 2012, accessed August 22, 2912
(xlii) De Souza, Scientist speaks out op. cit
(xliii) Canadian Press. Canada falls out of top fifty in global freedom of information rankings, June 22, 2012 August 28, 2012
(xliv) Union of Concerned Scientists, op. cit.
(xlv) I want to thank Jens Kohler for alerting me to this.
(xlvi) Dechene, op. cit.

List of organizations which have been cancelled or defunded, and individuals who have been silenced or removed from their posts (2006-2011)
Eighty-nine community organizations, agencies, NGOs, research bodies and programs which have been cancelled, or whose funding has been cut or dramatically decreased:

Aboriginal Healing Foundation
Action travail des femmes
Adaptation and Impacts Research Division (AIRD) of Environment Canada
Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto
Alberta Network of Immigrant Women
Alternatives (Quebec)
Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale (AFEAS)
Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre
Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario)
Canadian Arab Federation
Canadian Child Care Federation
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
Canadian Council on Learning
Canadian Council on Social Development
Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciencesi
Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada
Canadian Human Rights Commission
Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance
Canadian Labour Business Centre
Canada Policy Research Networks
Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women
Canada School of Public Service
Canadian Teachers’ Federation International program
Canadian Volunteerism Initiative
Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition feminine
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)
Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto)
Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
Childcare Resource and Research Unit, SpeciaLink
Climate Action Network
Community Access Program
Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)
Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail  (CIAFT)
Court Challenges Program (except language rights cases and legacy cases)
Court Commission of Canada
Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).
Democracy Council
Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit
Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto
Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto
Ethiopian Association in the Greater Toronto Area and Surrounding Regions
Experimental Lakes Area
Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program
First Nations Statistics Institute
Forum of Federations
Global Environmental Monitoring System
HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs
HRD Youth Employment Programs
Hamilton’s Settlement and Integration Services Organization  (Ontario)
Immigrant settlement programs
Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel)
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Law Commission of Canada
Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre
Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency
MATCH International
National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
National Roundtable on Environment and Economy
National Science Advisor
Native Women’s Association of Canada
New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity
Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).
Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)
Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Ottawa Chinese Community Services Centre
Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)
Pride Toronto
Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec
Rights and Democracy agency
Riverdale Women’s Centre in Toronto
Royal Canadian Mounted Police External Review Committee
Sierra Club of BC
Sisters in Spirit
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
South Asian Women’s Centre
Statistics Canada long-form census
Status of Women
Tropicana Community Services
Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)
Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative – Nova Scotia
Women’s Legal Action and Education Fund
Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program
York South-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto
Fifteen civil servants, scientists, and organizations/watchdogs whose staff have been fired, publicly silenced, or who have resigned in protest:
Lucassie Arragutainaq, chairperson of the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB)
Rémy Beauregard, President, Rights & Democracy  (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development) – died of a heart attack in the middle of meeting after Harper appointed board members who disagreed with the agency to it
Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director General, Canada Firearms Program
Richard Colvin, diplomat, Foreign Affairs
Yves Coté, Ombudsman, Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces
Linda Keen, Chair, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Paul Kennedy, Chair, RCMP Police Complaints Commission
Adran Measner, President and CEO, Canadian Wheat Board
Kevin Page, Parliamentary Budget Officer
Sheridan Scott, Commissioner, Competition Bureau
Munir Sheikh, Deputy Minister, Statistics Canada
Col. Pat Stogran, Veterans Ombudsman
Steve Sullivan, Ombudsman, Victims of Crime
Peter Tinsley, Chair, Military Police Complaints Commission
Earl Turcotte, lead negotiator, Mine Action and Small Arms Team, Foreign Affairs
NOTE: These lists were taken from Gergin, op. cit, and supplemented with the newer occurrences (see Endnotes 14-18). Gergin describes that she collected her information “after extensive consultation of media sources, some affected organizations, and a review of other lists – most notably a list circulated internally amongst supporters of the coalition Voices/Voix. It is likely that there are other organizations which have been cancelled or defunded, and individuals who have been silenced or removed from their posts, but which have not yet received public attention.” Seventy-nine of the organizations and 14 of the individuals are from her list.


  1. Emmanuel M

    You lost me at “If we take 2006 – the year in which Harper became Prime Minister – as the base year,…”

    Clearly, you are not interested in examples of muzzling by governments other than Conservatives.

    I am a scientist and an employee of the NB provincial government. As soon as our new administrators were nominated by the Graham government (NB Liberals) in 2008, the first memo they sent said that we needed their approval prior to talking to the media and that PR had to be present during the interview.

    In brief, I was muzzled by Liberals.

  2. Fred BRAILEY

    I see that RALUT has sent a letter to the PM
    indicating their displeasure with the muzzling of Federal scientists. Has Science for Peace considered similar action?


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