At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, Canada, last week, Canadian government researchers expressed their unhappiness with "growing restrictions on their ability to speak directly to the public and the press," reports ScienceInsider's Jane Lee. At a panel discussion on the issue, a reporter with Canada's Postmedia News said it's become so hard to get an interview with government researchers that reporters don't even ask anymore, and that when scientists are allowed to speak, they are given pre-approved messages to say. University of Victoria researcher Andrew Weaver added that, "It's almost that there's no government science being discussed now in Canada. ... I come back to the sad reality that this is not celebrating the successes of Canadian science."
However, policies being drafted in the US may benefit Canadian researchers, Lee says. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is drafting guidelines that state, in part, that researchers can communicate their work and opinions to the public, she adds. At the panel discussion, Weaver pointed to the NOAA policy, saying Canadian agencies should mimic it.