“Doctors, scientists, stuff like that, I mean come on!”

So says former Cold FX spokesperson Don Cherry in response to the Marketplace report which exposed how the so-called cold remedy was in reality little more than a placebo. When presented with details from the report that explain away the various claims the company makes about their product, Cherry couldn’t care less about the facts, proving again that product branding is often more important than the product itself.  But his dismissal of the science is what’s’ most interesting as it reflects the broader policy trends within the current Canadian government.

As the Vancouver Sun recently reported, Canadian scientists are now being closely shadowed and monitored to control information flowing between them and the public.  The government claims this is standard procedure, as a sort of quality control method.  Scientists, not unexpectedly, dispute this characterization claiming it is

“the latest evidence of the warped culture of obsessive information control inside the Harper government.”

As a top scientist with Environment Canada says:

“Until now such a crude heavy-handed approach to muzzle Canadian scientists, prior to a significant international Arctic science conference hosted by Canada, would have been unthinkable,”

Although hard to imagine, here in Canada in the year 2012 scientists are not permitted to speak directly to reporters without their government handlers’ permission.  Instead, according to a memorandum describing the new protocol between scientists and the media, they must first send a request to the Environment Canada media office for approval, and only after an indeterminate period will the Q and A session be granted.  Maybe.

The scientist goes on:

“The memo is clearly designed to intimidate government scientists from Environment Canada,” he says. “Why they would do such an unethical thing, I can’t even begin to imagine, but it is enormously embarrassing to us in the international world of science.”

This is not without historical precedent, but as the article notes one would have to go back in time to Soviet era tactics with the KGB to find its’ analog.

Leaving aside Canadians’ astonishing lack of interest in this story, one should ask why the government would wish to pursue this clearly Orwellian form of control.  Is it because scientists have nothing relevant to say on issues of climate or any other issue for that matter?  Or is it precisely because scientists have a great deal to say on issues of climate as well as many other issues?

In all likelihood the CPC understand very well that our scientists as well as the international community of scientists have plenty to say about the climate, which is exactly why the public in their view must be subjected to these unprecedented methods of control.

I’m sorry Don, what did you say?

“I’m not interested in what scientists say because scientists, so what!”

Well, OK, that’s your choice.  Hopefully other Canadians won’t choose to behave in the same fashionably irrational manner.

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