Researchers, who used to be free to discuss their science, are now required to follow a process that includes “media lines” approved by communications officers, strategists and ministerial staff in Ottawa. They vet media requests, demand reporters’ questions in advance and decide when and if researchers can give interviews.
Environment Canada now even has media officers in Ottawa tape-recording the interviews scientists are allowed to give.
Yet transparency as well as open communication and discussion are essential to science, Hutchings said, and Ottawa’s excessive control over communication is "really poisoning the science environment within government."
"An iron curtain has been draped over communication of science in the last five to six years," he said.