Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Canadian Government Muzzling Scientists

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the still-cranky-about-losing-the-cup dept.

Canada 264

Meshach writes "Scientists in Canada researching why salmon stocks are depleting face being muzzled by the Canadian Conservative government. Quoting: 'Science told Miller to "please feel free to speak with journalists." It advised reporters to contact Diane Lake, a media officer with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Vancouver, "to set up interviews with Dr. Miller." The documents show major media outlets were soon lining up to speak with Miller, but the Privy Council Office said no to the interviews. The Privy Council Office also nixed a Fisheries Department news release about Miller's study, saying the release "was not very good, focused on salmon dying and not on the new science aspect," according to documents obtained by Postmedia News under the Access to Information Act. Miller is still not allowed to speak publicly about her discovery, and the Privy Council Office and Fisheries Department defend the way she has been silenced.'"

cancel ×

264 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Imagine (5, Funny)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891684)

A scientist telling an uncomfortable truth being silenced by conservatives. It's preposterous.

Re:Imagine (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891692)

it also should have been expected.

Re:Imagine (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891824)

We must destroy ourselves so that we may not venture to the stars!

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892666)

it should have been erected? Hush, you with your dirty innuendo!

Re:Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891844)

It's not uncomfortable, its inconvenient .

hah! I kill myself....

Re:Imagine (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891876)

A scientist telling an uncomfortable truth being silenced by conservatives. It's preposterous.

Go on then. Let her tell aboot the feesh. Thankyou kindly.

Re:Imagine (5, Insightful)

myurr (468709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892028)

You needn't be so specific in targeting the conservatives - it's true of all politicians from all sides across the whole world. If a report or scientific study doesn't give the result they want, then they reframe the question and try to bury or hide the original. The EU even do it with national referendums (e.g. the Irish vote to ratify the Lisbon treaty that had to be held a second time as they didn't get the result they wanted).

Re:Imagine (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892286)

True. On the otherhand, I don't recall the actual muzzling of scientist by centrist (right or left wing) governments. Yet North Americans have enjoyed at least two such leaders over the past decade.

Re:Imagine (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892082)

A scientist telling an uncomfortable truth being silenced by conservatives. It's preposterous.

This would never happen in Ame .... oh wait!

What I don't get: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892780)

How exactly is that stopping that scientist?

I go on TV. I speak. I upload it all over the net. Now what?

Will they sue me for not allowing them to break the most fundamental law of free speech?? I'd get them laughed out of the court house.

Why do people have so little spine to not even stand up for their right, when nothing at all is actually stopping them??
It's like that Milgram experiment. Like people aren't actually individual entities but hand puppets.

Re:What I don't get: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892870)

Before you even go on the air, they first bring you into civil court for violating an NDA, and get an injunction to keep you from talking. If you dare risk breaking that injunction, then they file to find you in contempt of court, and then you sit in jail until you agree to not go on TV talk about it.

Re:Imagine (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892992)

The Liberals did the exact same thing. You can't close the fisheries or else that will cost jobs and that will cost you in the next election. But what you can do is take the numbers the scientists give you, double them, and then brag about how under your stewardship things are getting better all of the time. All you have to do is make sure the scientists aren't allowed to talk to the media directly.

Conartist Party Lies (-1, Flamebait)

Bahamut_Omega (811064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891690)

Not surprised at all. Harper is just a few letters away from Hitler, and has an attitude to match it.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (1)

Seidoger (637547) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891696)

Wow, this early on.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891712)

I agree with his poor approach and politics, but seriously, Godwin in post #2 makes your point fly out the window in the face of raucous laughter.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891746)

Instead of comparisons to Hitler, why not to Stalin? This looks like a very politburo-style tactic.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891892)

Yes, give other historical villains a chance.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892292)

Sorry, Stalin is already reserved for hyperbolic Obama comparisons. You can't dilute the brand like that.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891726)

I wouldn't go so far as to godwin it, but it IS amazing what Harper will do given a majority government for the first time.

It's times like this I wish Canada had a strict no-third-term rule like the US has. Harper would have been gone long ago and he'd have little choice but to stop meddling with the system to keep his seat.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (2, Informative)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891932)

Did this really just get modded "informative" for attacking the way the Prime Minister's name is spelled?

Re:Conartist Party Lies (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892004)

The moderation itself deserves a +1 Funny ;-)

Re:Conartist Party Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892030)

Moderators, I am a Canadian, born and raised, and I can tell you for a fact that what the Parent says is true about Harper. He may not be exactly like Hitler, but the comparison is striking.

The Conservatives in Canada are just slightly less extreme than the Conservatives in Norway [wikipedia.org] or the Conservatives in America [cnn.com] ).

The Parent should be marked +5% informative.

Re:Conartist Party Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892220)

Just a tiny bit too late. Slashdot's been bombarding me with sets of 15 karma points every day for almost 2 weeks. That's how you know something is wrong with the /. moderation system as I am an evil sadistic bastard.

yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891702)

And our great country gets better....

Same in Australia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891704)

Australia's CSIRO is subject to exactly the same tactics, especially under the previous Liberal/National government. Maybe all the research organizations need to get together and figure out countermeasures?

Re:Same in Australia (0)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892062)

[Citation needed]

CISRO is fairly independent, and I don't recall ever hearing of government interference in communicating results. I'm not even a "Liberal" (Conservative in Australia) apologist. Besides, this kind of openness is what the scientific journals and the goddamn internet is for, isn't it?

Re:Same in Australia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892178)

2009 under Labor [heraldsun.com.au] 2006 under Liberal [abc.net.au] . The Australian Research Council has also been used to apply pressure, through the government reducing ARC independence so the government can influence which areas of investigation receive funding.

Re:Same in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892186)

2009 under Labor [heraldsun.com.au] 2006 under Liberal [abc.net.au]

Re:Same in Australia (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892304)

Countermeasures such as "Go fuck yourselves" and release it anyway?

Leak it via Wikileaks or whatever if you want plausible deniability to avoid losing your job assuming you're in a country with sane employment laws where your employer has to have good cause to get rid of you.

Re:Same in Australia (3)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892696)

You realize that the article in question was published in one of the more visible science journals? All the idiots in the Canadian government did was muzzle attempts at having they lay press talk about the research. That is to be condemned and will turn out to be futile, but you don't need Wikileaks, just a subscription to Science.

Science (the magazine) while not quite as politically involved as Nature (the magazine, not the mother) is still pretty activist. It will be interesting to see if they get wind of it and make it a Streisand Effect issue.

Re:Same in Australia (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892854)

I wasn't aware of the specifics of this case but was primarily responding to the GP who was suggesting there was maybe something scientists could do to stand up against government muzzling of science in general which he claims is occuring in Australia too- I was merely pointing out that of course there is, and I think it's pretty straightforward!

I agree that stifling discussion of an issue is a further problem that needs to be dealt with.

Re:Same in Australia (1)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892642)

What government funds it will eventually control. Politicians are vile, and will not just hand out favors to people who might make them look bad.

Smells like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891752)

Smells like fish, tastes like chicken.

Re:Smells like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891804)

Eventually it tastes like pork. The best parts are in the cheeks. They call it the Soylent Sunday Special.

New Science Aspect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891778)

What is the 'new science aspect' the privy council office was referring to? Maybe signs advertising some sort of 'Canada's Science Action Plan'?

Same Everywhere (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891782)

They use their power to influnce those not in the know and give the powerful even more control.
Those penned fish breed disease and kill the native population.
Get use to stunted, zombie salmon that taste like cardboard.
Because, Thats all you will be able to afford, once the native stocks are killed off.

Paging Detective Thorn (1)

EvilAlphonso (809413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891794)

The Year: 2022. The Place: New York City. The Population: 40,000,000

Harper: 1 (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891800)

Home and native land: 0

Only 4 more years (4, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891812)

of Harperizim. By then 1/3 of us will be in private jails for breaking copyright laws or smoking a joint.

another 1/3 for possessing hacker tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891918)

another 1/3 for possessing hacker tools, keygens and any serial numbers in text files.

Re:another 1/3 for possessing hacker tools (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891994)

And the other 1/3rd for ...

Or maybe not. Harper is dangerously ideological, but he is not stupid. He is skilled at manipulating public opinion and likes to prey upon the vulnerable once he has swayed public opinion (which usually reenforces people's support for him). But it is unlikely that he would ever initiate a campaign of terror that would end up with 2/3rds of Canada's population being in jail. Or even 5% of our population for that matter.

Re:another 1/3 for possessing hacker tools (4, Insightful)

CyberSaint (1376273) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892086)

Optimist.

Harper doesn't give a shit about public opinion. He's skilled at selling a story and manipulating the shit out of the media. He hasn't actually achieved a damn thing of significance since his first term as Prime Minister. He's managed to convince half the country sitting on his hands and pushing an agenda that bears no resemblance to his campaign platforms is progress. "Staying the Course" my maple dipped left testicle. He's even managed to blame his opposition for him repeatedly sabotaging his own legislation.

I don't have any doubt, if he could find a way to make a buck for him or his corporate handlers doing it, he'd jail every citizen in the country.

~Disgruntled Albertan

Re:another 1/3 for possessing hacker tools (1)

Zeroedout (2036220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892358)

A big fat +1 to you sir.

Re:another 1/3 for possessing hacker tools (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892190)

1/3 in jail for copyright violations, 1/3 for hacker tools and the other half still in underfunded schools saying their muslim prayers

Re:Only 4 more years (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892036)

of Harperizim. By then 1/3 of us will be in private jails for breaking copyright laws or smoking a joint.

BTW is Maui Wowee copyrighted? Do they still plant a fish under a cannabis plant.

Re:Only 4 more years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892552)

Suck my balls then

jumping the gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891816)

As despicable as it is to muzzle a scientific report, no one here has read it and can judge whether or not it was hysteria or fact.
Regardless, as a canadian citizen this disgusts me.

Re:jumping the gun (1)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891874)

Isn't a scientific report by definition made of facts and not hysteria?

Re:jumping the gun (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892104)

That depends on if you include bad science in your definition of science.

Welcome, O Canada, to the Fraternity (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891838)

We here in the United States will try to teach you how to give the Fraternity the finger. For now... until we've marshaled the strength to put a stake through its dogmatic heart.

Re:Welcome, O Canada, to the Fraternity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892722)

We here in the United States will try to teach you how to give the Fraternity the finger. For now... until we've marshaled the strength to put a stake through its dogmatic heart.

You mean like the Conservative mayor of Toronto [thestar.com] (and a very vocal Harper supporter).

Where are Wikileaks and Anonymous on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891850)

not as dramatic as some of their other targets, but a worthy one.

Let the fishermen be the judge (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891866)

I have done stream survey on the west coast of British Columbia. I am a fly fisher, and have an intimate knowledge of what is really going on. The truth is that a combination of factors are ruining what was once one of the greatest fisheries on earth. It comes as no surprise that the Tories would try to put a muzzle on anyone trying to ring the alarm bells.

Intensive ongoing stewardship of the resource is the only possible solution. Yes it is extremely expensive and needs the complete cooperation of all. As things stand we can study the problems till there is no longer a fish problem to study. This is what our federal government would do as it keeps their cronies in work and makes for really good press. The federally funded studies are all centered around how to exploit the the fishing resource more efficiently, not how to preserve it. Every single paper that I have read is centered around a hands off approach to stream management...Let nature heal itself, is the doctrine.

The truth is that the damage has been done and the only approach that can possibly make a difference over the long term is, the clearing of blocked streams, the enhancement of riparian areas, the improvement and restoration of estuary land that is being gobbled up by our greed for real estate. And first and foremost let the truth about what has occurred be made public.The conservative government of Canada is a short sighted bunch of politicos that could not see the forest for the trees. What is needed is a conservation industry that pays our children back by returning what we and our parents have stolen from them with our short sighted greed!

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891942)

Amateur fishermen or commercial fisheries?

'cos the commercial fisheries are fishing the oceans out at the moment, but if you try and actually get them to do anything about it they bleat about traditional industry and having to make a living. Most of them don't seem to understand that the rate they're going they won't be a fishing industry in a few years either way.

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (0)

xkuehn (2202854) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892236)

I'm sorry to say this but you're ignorant. How the hell do you expect to feed 7*10^9 people? Do you want them to eat soy beans? Farming doesn't impact the environment, right?

Now, if you were to say that there are too many people, or that the First World throws away perfectly good food, I'd understand. The problem is not the fisheries it's the public.

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (1)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892320)

It is not a blame game, it is a survival game that we must all buy into or ultimately, as a species, perish.

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892326)

Yes. Kill all fish so that idiots who help contribute to overpopulation can live. Great idea. Well, in my opinion, it's not a good idea at all. Either way, there simply won't be anything to eat eventually. They are just delaying the inevitable by using a terrible solution (just keep fishing!).

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892418)

"I'm sorry to say this but you're ignorant."

I'm ignorant because I think forcibly slowing down fishing now is better than being forced to slow down later because the tasty species are dead?

Seriously?

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892766)

I'm sorry to say this but you're ignorant. How the hell do you expect to feed 7*10^9 people?

Funny, but this problem will solve itself. It might get messy, but it will solve itself. The question just remains, how much damage do we want to do to the world before the problem solves itself?

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (5, Informative)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891952)

The truth is that the damage has been done and the only approach that can possibly make a difference over the long term is, the clearing of blocked streams, the enhancement of riparian areas, the improvement and restoration of estuary land that is being gobbled up by our greed for real estate.

Her research, as far as I have heard seems to indicate a virus propagating in the salmon population. It doesn't seem unlikely that such a virus could be coming from the salmon farms that the wild salmon often have to pass on their way to spawn. Combine that with the very likely fact that salmon farms are a source of sea lice that have been shown to infect wild salmon fry as they pass by, and you have a good argument that salmon farming is a primary cause of the decline in wild stocks of salmon.

The conservative government seems to not understand an important fact about science and the pursuit of truth, simply that money and the truth are often enemies of each other. If you view the world through dollar signs, you will have a very warped worldview.

Re:Let the fishermen be the judge (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892200)

Her research, as far as I have heard seems to indicate a virus propagating in the salmon population. It doesn't seem unlikely that such a virus could be coming from the salmon farms that the wild salmon often have to pass on their way to spawn. Combine that with the very likely fact that salmon farms are a source of sea lice that have been shown to infect wild salmon fry as they pass by, and you have a good argument that salmon farming is a primary cause of the decline in wild stocks of salmon.

I have caught wild Sockeye and they do not suffer from sea lice the way local fish do. And yes the sea lice problem has increased...but so has the effluent from things other than fish farms.

And yes I agree a productive natural fishery could easily again make chemically stupid fish farming financially ineffective if managed with common sense.

Deploy the submarines we bought from the British out in the open Pacific and sink the Asian drift net factory ships first...If they ever get the subs out of dry dock...But then again a whole industry has sprung up just fixing those boats so if they ever did go into useful service then their would be more unemployment.

I agree that sea lice and farmed fish are a part of the equation...there have been enough government and industry studies paid for by out tax dollars and the fish farm industry to prove that farmed salmon are not the cause to prove that there is more here than meets the eye. Same thing with the paid studies that prove that shitting in the ocean here in Victoria is not a problem. Like the good old lab rats...show me one that does not get cancer from exposure to just about anything. Pay enough money and government funded studies can prove just about anything, especially here in Canada.

My point was that the real damage to the fisheries is from many causes and will not be fixed by something as simple as eliminating salmon farming! Did you know that the Adams run last year was a record? Yet two years before that it was a bust. When the railways put a second track down the Fraser canyon in the early 1900's the canyon had a slide that blocked the fish migration for over one year at hells gate. The Adams is just starting to recover now. Some rivers like the Quesnel have never recovered.

Where the fish come from is just as important as where the go to mature and Sockeye spend very little time in close in coastal waters unless the spawning water in the rivers is too hot. Resident Georgia Straight Coho, Chinook, Cutthroat are much more likely to suffer really severe from the effects of sea lice. And as it turns out they are the fish that are most endangered. Also the fish that spawn in the lower river like Chum are suffering because of the loss of estuarine habitat...like the problems that plague Vancouver Island estuaries...the rivers Cowichan, Nanaimo, Puntlage, Stamp/Somas and the list goes on and on. This does not even take into consideration the myriad of hundreds of once pristine and productive creeks that produce smaller local fish in huge numbers. The answer is not in more useless studies it is in hard work and common sense. And above all stopping the wholesale rape of the seas.

leak the damn thing (1)

heitikender (655816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891870)

What we need, is that someone would leak the report and the whole drama would be moot. Where's A(nonymous)-Team?

Re:leak the damn thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36891884)

FTFA: "Science, one of the world's top research journals, published Miller's findings in January. The journal considered the work so significant it notified "over 7,400" journalists worldwide about Miller's "Suffering Salmon" study."

Okay, Explain to me how the paper has been published in a peer reviewed journal, and the Canadian government is "muzzling scientists" by not letting the author of said paper speak about it to major news agencies, when she is a government employee and subject to certain employment restrictions.

The idea that Harper & Co. is involved in some giant fish conspiracy is ludicrous. A better explanation may be that ANY government department moves slowly when it interacts with the press using official channels, and that until the department of fisheries and oceans verifies the papers findings they (and she as an employee) refuse to comment on it.

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891960)

Okay, Explain to me how the paper has been published in a peer reviewed journal, and the Canadian government is "muzzling scientists" by not letting the author of said paper speak about it to major news agencies, when she is a government employee and subject to certain employment restrictions.

She is being muzzled because she is not being allowed to talk about her findings to the public via the press. Her findings are buried in a pay for access science journal that is likely written in language that most in the public will not understand.

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

heitikender (655816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892016)

The canadian language is fine, my friends speaks it and even knows scienco dialect. But that paywall thing is major roadblock :)

Re:leak the damn thing (2, Informative)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892090)

She is being muzzled because she is not being allowed to talk about her findings to the public via the press. Her findings are buried in a pay for access science journal that is likely written in language that most in the public will not understand.

TFA said she was told she couldn't speak because she has to give evidence in a judicial inquiry. Then came much officious huffing and puffing from lefty paranoids about how it was an excuse and that she was being muzzled.

Unfortunately for those theories, TFA also said, near the end of the article, that she will be allowed to speak in August, WHEN HER TESTIMONY HAS BEEN COMPLETED.

So call the PMO paranoid. Make fun of them, if that's your wont - god knows that hasn't been a PMO since the country began that hasn't been stupid or out to lunch is very many ways, both Tory and Liberal. Vote against the Tories next chance you get, if you are so inclined.

But you don't need to invent stuff or pull it out of your arse just to score political points. All it does is make you look strident, knee-jerk, and absolutely invalidates the point you were trying to make in the first place.

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

heitikender (655816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892234)

I'm warning you - if I will still remember to follow this theme in the end of August or whenever that final paper will be out, and she still can't speak her mind, i WILL come back here and reply to you: "Ha! Told you so!" I agree on you, that bad science is worse than no science. Still, I wouldn't muffle anybody. It's like Barbra Streisand effect.

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892296)

I'm warning you - if I will still remember to follow this theme in the end of August or whenever that final paper will be out, and she still can't speak her mind, i WILL come back here and reply to you: "Ha! Told you so!" I agree on you, that bad science is worse than no science. Still, I wouldn't muffle anybody. It's like Barbra Streisand effect.

Apparently, you haven't read TFA *or* my comment. First - the final paper is out and published. That's what caused the media interest in the first place. Second - the whole point of my comment was that she *hasn't* been muzzled because of her science, the results or indeed, for any reason - she's been told she can't speak until her testimony at a legal proceeding has been completed.

It'd kinda like telling your friends that your mother said you aren't allowed to play with them for the rest of your life, when all she did was say you had to clean your room first.

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892750)

I'm curious - what is the point of having her NOT talk to the press before this judicial inquiry (which isn't a trial as far as I can tell) while the information is already out in the public domain? Will the evidence be tainted? Are there precedents for this sort of thing?

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892912)

I'm curious - what is the point of having her NOT talk to the press before this judicial inquiry (which isn't a trial as far as I can tell) while the information is already out in the public domain? Will the evidence be tainted? Are there precedents for this sort of thing?

First, let me make it very, very clear - I don't have access to any information other than what's contained in the article. I have, however, been rather heavily involved in politics at the national level in Ottawa in the past, so I've got a bit of an idea of the mindset. What I'm about to say is my own suspicion - and it's what *I* would be worried about, if I was in that position. I doubt her paper is directly related to what she is expected to testify to before the inquiry - otherwise, she'd not have been allowed to publish it in the first place. So I don't think that's it.

It is, however, reasonable to assume she's going to testify about something related, however tangentially - her research was job related, and her testimony is also going to be job related.

Depending on how wide-ranging or open the interview is - or how naive SHE is when dealing with the press, or if a reporter is a fan of the 60 minutes school of ambush interviewing - there's a chance she could say something what *would* have potential political and legal consequences, if some of her statements regarding her paper overlap the subject matter of the inquiry. So the safest course of action would be to simply not talk to reporters until her testimony. Seems reasonable to me, and not something to worry about or waste righteous indignation on.

Now - if after her testimony she is still not allowed to talk to the press, THEN you have something that's a news story, and something to get cranked about. But I don't think there's anything here yet.

Politicians of all stripes screw up all the time - sorry, folks, but it wasn't invented by the Tories, the Liberals, the Left, the Right, the Inbetweens, or anybody else.

So why not just take a deep breath, calm down, and wait for something to happen that's worth getting cranked about? It's only a matter of time. There's no need to invent shit.

Re:leak the damn thing (1)

heitikender (655816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892920)

Yes! My bad, I meant to write final paper on whatever testimony she gives. I tried to find an explanation, why are they trying to muffle her or anybody - maybe on the grounds that the science done was badly done - sloppy work of smth.

Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (0, Troll)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891882)

This is a department of the federal government. It is emphatically not an independent university research scientist nor even an independent (from the governent) research scientist. Since they are an employee of the government they are expected to comply with their employers demands. In this case, it mean that you won't get to say much unless you are echoing government policy. In that respect, it's not much different from a tobacco company telling their scientists not to talk about the health effects of smoking.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892000)

In that respect, it's not much different from a tobacco company telling their scientists not to talk about the health effects of smoking.

And the tobacco companies are not exactly a model to be emulated. Besides, the government is supposed to represent the public interest, and it is not in the public interest to suppress the truth. The government is definitely doing the wrong thing here, and probably for political reasons, which is even worse.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892022)

Thus the comparison to the tobacco companies. That being said, I think that a man like Harper believe that the governent departments are there to inform policy decisions rather than the public. Whether he listens to what they say is an open question, but they must not question his authority ... erm, leadership. That's likely also why he screwed around with the census.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (2)

epine (68316) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892196)

I've talked to many people about the census, and the only intelligible reason for him screwing around with the census that comes to light is so that there's less quality data available to organizations doing good work with fewer agendas. I've always heard that the quality of StatsCan data was legendary, in part for having excellent continuity and statistical control. Well, it only takes one man to burn the library of Alexandria, doesn't it?

I'm not so sure this majority will work in his favour. Rome fell when they ran out of other countries to pillage. In Harper's case, the limiting resource is other people to blame.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (4, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892024)

. In that respect, it's not much different from a tobacco company telling their scientists not to talk about the health effects of smoking.

It's completely different. But the morality is simple: they're civil servants. "Civil" means the people of the country, not the government in power. In practice, of course, if you embarrass those in power you will be punished.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892524)

Just to be precise, civil servants serve the people by executing the political directives of elected ministers. They do not receive their mandate directly from the public, and they aren't supposed to take the mandate to serve the people into their own hands. So if the civil servants are directed by bozos, that is, in theory, the people's own fault for electing said bozos. If a civil servant finds himself/herself at odds with directives, there are ways to speak truth to power - but if that fails, you either comply or quit.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892040)

Except for the small part that the government is not a private company, government agencies are supposed to serve the people rather than the current ruling party. That includes getting the truth out so that the people can make informed voting decisions, even if this is inconvenient for the current regime.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892068)

This is a department of the federal government. It is emphatically not an independent university research scientist nor even an independent (from the governent) research scientist. Since they are an employee of the government they are expected to comply with their employers demands. In this case, it mean that you won't get to say much unless you are echoing government policy. In that respect, it's not much different from a tobacco company telling their scientists not to talk about the health effects of smoking.

Hey genius - who is paying for her research? It's the taxpayers of Canada. The same taxpayers the fascists running the government want to keep in the dark about research findings that will have a direct impact on the public well-being.

It's not anything equivalent to working for a private company. That is a stupid comparison.

There is a HUGE difference (4, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892116)

Tobacco= private, can do whatever they want with their money, even suppress the own research they asked for, even if unethical. Departement of Fisheries = PUBLIC, they are beholden to the public interest, and have no right to suppress research done with the PUBLIC money. And this is the big difference.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892148)

This is a department of the federal government. It is emphatically not an independent university research scientist nor even an independent (from the governent) research scientist. Since they are an employee of the government they are expected to comply with their employers demands. In this case, it mean that you won't get to say much unless you are echoing government policy. In that respect, it's not much different from a tobacco company telling their scientists not to talk about the health effects of smoking.

You are so right.. [webatu.com]

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (4, Interesting)

Kashgarinn (1036758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892198)

Of course the difference here is that the government should represent the people and the people's interest, and letting the people know about the research is normal.

If your representatives are willing to block something vaguely important like this, what are they hiding which is really important?

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (3, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892208)

I don't think you (or Canadian government) understands how science works.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892620)

Science doesn't work through interviews. The research isn't being muzzled, it's the follow up interviews by the media. The reason you have something to complain about is because the government did a study and published the results.

Personally, I don't like the situation and I don't think the government should be acting this way. But there is no real reason why we need an interview with the scientists. We have a research paper we can read if we want their scientific opinion. The reason for interviewing them is to get their personal opinion of the situation. What the government is worried about is that the scientists' personal opinion conflicts with government policy. Or, in fact, they may also be worried that the media will take the scientists' comments out of context and use it to create controversy over government policy.

The long and the short of it is that we have a real problem. I don't need the scientists' personal opinion about the situation because I already have their scientific opinion. This controversy over "muzzling" the scientists distracts from the issue at hand, which is that the fishery is in real trouble.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893000)

Publicly-funded science *does* work through interviews. Part of the point of taxpayers paying for scientific work in government isn't only for scientists to publish in obscure journal articles that most of the public will probably never read, but also for scientists to communicate directly with the public. Government scientists do not deliver their results *only* to the government of the day. They have a broader responsibility to the public than whoever is currently in power. That means communicating with the public.

When I worked as a scientist as a government researcher, "public outreach" was stated as one of my specific duties and I could put such activities on my annual report. I even got to go on TV once. Public outreach wasn't supposed to amount to a large fraction of my work, most of which was focused on conventional scientific output in publications, but it was expected that I would talk or otherwise interact with the public when the opportunity arose. That included interaction with the media, who play an important role when communicating with the public. The public was paying my salary. They had a right to talk to me directly or through the media if it would help them understand what I was doing with their money on their behalf. Furthermore, I had to be prepared to explain why what I was doing was worthwhile. To do anything less would be irresponsible as a government scientist. Talking to the media is quite challenging for reasons that have been hashed out in this forum many times, but it is a worthwhile and necessary thing for scientists to do.

All that being said, I'm glad I don't work as a government scientist anymore, because what my colleagues are being subjected to there by the current government is pretty ridiculous. The current government talks proudly about the importance of science to Canada's future, but their actions are almost the exact opposite.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1)

Cant use a slash wtf (1973166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892224)

And are either of those situations supposed to be good?
Not to mention the fact that this is a GOVERNMENT employee. As in, they are doing research with the TAX DOLLAR. If anything, government-employed scientists should be the least likely to be silenced.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892406)

I think that a lot of people are missing the point of my earlier comment:

This is the way the world works, and it will continue to work like that no matter how upset you get about it. Accepting the word of a government research scientist is foolish because there is a conflict of interest. The government wants to promote an agenda and some governments will do anything to make sure that everyone toes the line. This is really no different than accepting the word of a tobacco or pharmaceutical company research scientist because their employers have a product to sell. You have a clear conflict of interest, taking what they say as the whole truth would be dangerous.

Now you can go through life screaming that scientists shouldn't be muzzled, but the fact of the matter is that you're going to lead a very bitter and angry life. It has happened, there is no way to stop it from happening, so it is going to happen again. So face up to the facts and start looking at researchers that are not in a place where interests conflict, which would include most university research scientists.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892702)

So face up to the facts and start looking at researchers that are not in a place where interests conflict, which would include most university research scientists.

Universities don't depend on any state, private or corporate money. Riight.

Re:Notice: "Department of Fisheries ..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892734)

Also, if a bully threatens to beat you up if you don't give your lunch money, it is better to give up and let the bully have the money.

Kind of said it all (3, Funny)

redkcir (1431605) | more than 3 years ago | (#36891984)

The Privy Council Office. If any of you remember what a Privy is, that should explain it. For those who don't see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privy [wikipedia.org] , bullet #4.

Re:Kind of said it all (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892202)

Privy : Means Private ...

In this case a group of Ex Cabinet ministers and MP's all appointed by the Prime Minister ...so an arm of the government ...basically a group of politicians

 

Re:Kind of said it all (2)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892306)

FLUUUUUUUUSSSSSSH!

From the abstract (5, Interesting)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892018)

Long-term population viability of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is threatened by unusually high levels of mortality as they swim to their spawning areas before they spawn. Functional genomic studies on biopsied gill tissue from tagged wild adults that were tracked through ocean and river environments revealed physiological profiles predictive of successful migration and spawning. We identified a common genomic profile that was correlated with survival in each study. In ocean-tagged fish, a mortality-related genomic signature was associated with a 13.5-fold greater chance of dying en route. In river-tagged fish, the same genomic signature was associated with a 50% increase in mortality before reaching the spawning grounds in one of three stocks tested. At the spawning grounds, the same signature was associated with 3.7-fold greater odds of dying without spawning. Functional analysis raises the possibility that the mortality-related signature reflects a viral infection.

The DOI is 10.1126/science.1196901.
The genomic signature that their microarray analysis identified suggests: 1) infection by a virus (virus associated pathways activated), 2) a possible connection to certain leukemias (same reason) and 3) osmotic gradient control malfunctions contributing to stress and mortality (same reason). Apologies to those without access - but Science isn't open - but their methods seem very sound. I really don't see the point of suppressing this. All that media attention would change is how polished her presentation is when that commission or whatever gets around to talking to her.

P.S. The biopsies were non-lethal!

Re:From the abstract (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892404)

The entire paper is freely available here: http://homepages.ed.ac.uk/qgjc/2010_2011/Canadian%20Salmon%20genomic%20signature%20Science.pdf

It's fairly old (February), seems a bit late to be suppressing anything...

Re:From the abstract (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892550)

There is a difference between an academic publication accessible to a small number of people, and science journalism conducted by reporters writing for a public audience.
They are suppressing a popularized account based on her explanations to reporters, not the technical account which few could understand.

Re:From the abstract (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892790)

There is a difference between an academic publication accessible to a small number of people, and science journalism conducted by reporters writing for a public audience. They are suppressing a popularized account based on her explanations to reporters, not the technical account which few could understand.

Yes, but the information is out there. It's published in one of the highest visibility general science journals in the English language. Since there are many people who's lives are impacted by this research, and there are other researchers in the field, it's not likely that the information is going to be repressed in any meaningful way.

It's a dumbshit move, typical of politicians and may not even be malevolent, but it's not a very good way to keep the knowledge closely kept.

Re:From the abstract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892934)

Here's the URL [sciencemag.org] for the article (which requires access to Science).

Documentary about Canadian fishing (3, Informative)

jr0dy (943553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892816)

I caught a great documentary one time regarding the way in which he Canadian government is destroying both fish and independent hand-line fishermen - it's called "One More Dead Fish". I highly recommend it - it's a glaring example of Corporatism, outside of US borders for once.

Over Fishing (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892940)

Over Fishing,Pollution,Dams. So what is it we don't already know?

Links for the paper (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892942)

You can read the abstract at pubmed:

Genomic signatures predict migration and spawning failure in wild Canadian salmon. [nih.gov]

Which gives you a link to sciencemag.org:

Science Abstract [sciencemag.org]

Of course, there is a paywall at sciencemag.org. Being as all the researchers are Canadian, there is no NIH requirement for the paper to be released for free. You may need to venture to your local university library to download the paper, but with those links it won't be hard to get. You can get as far as the abstract for free:

Long-term population viability of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is threatened by unusually high levels of mortality as they swim to their spawning areas before they spawn. Functional genomic studies on biopsied gill tissue from tagged wild adults that were tracked through ocean and river environments revealed physiological profiles predictive of successful migration and spawning. We identified a common genomic profile that was correlated with survival in each study. In ocean-tagged fish, a mortality-related genomic signature was associated with a 13.5-fold greater chance of dying en route. In river-tagged fish, the same genomic signature was associated with a 50% increase in mortality before reaching the spawning grounds in one of three stocks tested. At the spawning grounds, the same signature was associated with 3.7-fold greater odds of dying without spawning. Functional analysis raises the possibility that the mortality-related signature reflects a viral infection.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?