New book details federal restrictions on researchers

January 28, 2015

The Toronto Star has published an excerpt from a new book by journalist Mark Bourrie, which takes aim at the federal government's policies toward its historians, researchers, and librarians. Bourrie cites records showing how Environment Canada scientists were prevented from discussing their findings on accumulated contaminants in oilsands quarries; they were instructed to tell reporters, "I'm not in a position to answer that question, but I'd be happy to refer you to an appropriate spokesperson" in media relations. The excerpt also details cuts to federal libraries that limited researchers' access to books and trained science librarians. One Health Canada scientist even felt compelled to start his own library in his basement. The government has also made cuts at Library and Archives Canada, limiting access to certain materials and outsourcing some services to the for-profit website Ancestry.ca. It further introduced a code of conduct barring librarians and archivists from activities including attending conferences and speaking at public meetings. Toronto Star