Is it Justifiable for Governments to Muzzle Publicly Funded Scientists?


June 13, 2013 :: Mark Goettel
Moderated by Christina Cuthbertson

Increasingly, the federal Government has been tightening its leash on its scientists and science in general. For instance, most publicly funded research must now have an industrial component. In several departments, researchers are now only allowed to speak about their studies if ministerial permission has been granted. In many documented cases, scientists have been muzzled in speaking to media about their research.

The federal Government contends that when federal scientists speak with the media, they do so under media rules that were changed a few years ago. Interviews may now be permitted days, weeks or months after a request is made and by that time, of course, the story could be old news.

The speaker will argue that there are few issues more fundamental to democracy than the freedom of our taxpayer funded scientists to follow their passion in research and our ability to access the scientific information that they produce. A society cannot make informed choices about critical issues if we don’t have the ability to examine relevant facts in a timely fashion.

Speaker: Mark Goettel Ph.D.

Mark is the Editor-in-Chief, Biocontrol Science & Technology and a presenter for Scientists in School, Southern Alberta Region. He is also a Jinshan Scholar, Visiting Professor at the Institute of Applied Ecology and Research, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, China. He was employed at the Lethbridge Research Centre for 21 years as an Insect Pathologist studying insect pathogens and their role in managing pest insect populations.

Mark earned his B.Sc. in Biology (Honors) at Concordia University 1975, his M.Sc. in Insect Eco-physiology at the University of Ottawa 1977 and his Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Alberta 1987. He conducted post-doctoral research at Cornell University in 1987 & 1988 and spent a year on work study leave in France at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique.

Moderator: Christina Cuthbertson

Date: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch)
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