It should come as no surprise that the federal Conservatives
scientists are being muzzled.
It's all about suppression.
The following letter by Fin Donnelly, Fisheries critic for the
federal New Democrats, was mailed to Minister Keith Ashfield
on July 29th.
And people question the necessity of an inquiry
into the NL fisheries?
I write to express my concern regarding the muzzling
of federal fisheries biologist Dr. Kristi Miller who was
prevented by the Privy Council Office from speaking
to the media about her west coast salmon study.
Dr. Miller’s article, Genomic Signatures Predict Migration
published in Science Magazine in January 2011. The hypothesis
is that “the genomic signal associated with elevated mortality
is in response to a virus infecting fish before river entry and that
persists to the spawning areas.” The journal Science found this
research to be so significant that it notified thousands of journalists
of the study.
While academic journals often encourage published scientists
to perform interviews, the Privy Council Office has refused
permission for Miller to conduct interviews. According to
media reports, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans wanted
to send a press release about Miller’s study; however, the
Privy Council Office interfered and put a stop to it mainly
for political reasons. This breakthrough study may provide,
at least in part, an explanation as why west coast salmon
numbers have been crashing. That the Privy Council, or any
political body for that matter, would interfere with the intent
to suppress scientific findings or evidence is alarming to say the least.
As you are aware, the decline of the west coast salmon is
an important issue for many British Columbians. For the
government to interfere in the free flow of information is
concerning to the scientific community and Canadians
as a whole.
It is important that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
not silence its scientists, and that they be free of intimidation
by the political process. It is also important that studies conducted
by your department and funded by Canadian taxpayers are able
to be reviewed by the public.
I strongly encourage you to remove the restrictive muzzle order
from federal fisheries biologist Kristi Miller and allow her
to speak freely to the public about her critical findings.
Member of Parliament
New Westminster-Coquitiam and Port Moody
Official Opposition Critic for Fisheries and Oceans