Well another week, another story about scientists in Canada being muzzled. This time it’s eggheads up in the arctic studying climate change – a joint project between the Canadians and the Americans. And of course our government told them they had to sign a piece of paper saying they could never discuss their findings in public unless a political staffer in Ottawa said it was okay which is never going to happen.
Now of course the Canadians did what they were told, they signed on the dotted line because, well, they want to eat. But the American scientists went ballistic because, well, they’re Americans and you know what the Americans are like. It’s freedom of speech this and freedom of speech that. And the way they were carrying on you’d swear that they had been transported back in time and dropped behind the Berlin wall at the height of the cold war. Nope, you’re in Canada in 2013. You want to do science in these parts you better get used to it. And get over yourselves. It’s not like scientists are the only ones being told to shut up in this country. No, it’s everyone.
Remember when Canada used to have a Veterans Affairs Ombudsman? He used to go on TV every night and scream bloody murder every time the government abused our veterans. Well, he’s gone. They got a new guy in there now. Do a Google news search, he barely comes up. And then there’s the Cabinet. If scientists have been muzzled, half of the Cabinet has had their voice boxes removed. And then there’s the backbenchers. They have taken to communicating with a series of blinks and twitches like in a hostage video.
So if you are a scientist, don’t take it personally, times have changed. The days of discussing science and your findings in public, they’re over. It is a bygone era like smoking in the supermarket. This is the new Canada. Thank you for not talking.