government officials preventing scientists from briefing media on climate change in the Arctic that has implications for all Canadians, muzzling scientists prevents public access to taxpayer-funded research
A “strictly factual” technical briefing for the media to inform Canadians that the Arctic ice cover had reached its lowest point in history, proposed by the Canadian Ice Service in August 2012, was delayed and finally cancelled without reasons by the Conservative government.
449 pages of "heavily redacted" documents, released through an Access-to-Information request, reveal that the proposed technical briefing had to go through nine separate levels of approval within the government, all the way up to the offices of the Privy Council (the body that advises the Prime Minister directly on important policy matters) and of then-Environment Minister Peter Kent. The process went on for several weeks when the briefing was eventually cancelled on Sept. 25 by ministerial services. The US National Snow and Data Center finally broke the story on Sept. 19, 2012. Interviewers from Canadian and international media outlets reporting on the story weren’t able to get the perspective of Canadian ice scientists.
Scientists at the federal Canadian Ice Service, part of Environment Canada, wanted to release the taxpayer-funded information. In the words of one document, “What goes on in the Arctic has implications for all Canadians." The Ice Service monitors the vast expanse of northern ice and water, warning of icebergs and navigation hazards and collecting data on ice conditions.
As late as Oct. 3, 2012, when the Arctic ice cap was freezing up again, a senior communication adviser at Environment Canada was still seeking approval to tweet that the “Canadian Arctic ice reached record low in summer 2012.”
Source: Postmedia News