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CAUT urges MPs to support motion to unmuzzle government scientists

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is calling on Members of Parliament to support a Liberal motion being debated today to end the muzzling of government scientists.

“Canadians have a right to know what their scientists have to say about the public health and safety, and the environment,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “To serve the public interest, scientists must be free to speak without censorship or control by the government of the day.”

In 2006, the government imposed strict rules on government scientists, limiting their interactions with journalists, researchers outside the government, and the public. A report from the union representing federal scientists found that 90% of their members felt they could not speak freely to the media about the work they do.

“Canadians face major challenges related to climate change, energy demand, public health, and drug safety,” said Robinson. “Today’s motion is critical because government departments and agencies have a vital role to play in confronting these challenges, but can only properly do so when they are adequately funded and their scientists are free to pursue and share their work.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of more than 68,000 academic staff at 120 colleges and universities across Canada.