Consider just these two points:
- 1) look at the article 'sources' ... and bear in mind that government subsidized cbc.ca is hardly a beacon of truth; and
- 2) what major functioning corporation allows the media unfettered access to any of its employees?
In the first case, comments from unions and disgruntled employees in newspapers in affected small towns are exceedingly biased. In the second case, a challenge: pose as a media representative, call up a random someone in any Forbes company, and ask them for an on camera interview. 99.99% chance you will be directed to the company Public Relations Dept. And that is what the Government of Canada is requesting its scientists to do. Period. Hardly muzzling.
The fact is, the Government is behaving like a proper business. They are being accountable and that includes making sure that those in positions of responsibility are aware of what their staff are doing. They have to be accountable. Why? Because the citizens of Canada, and the Opposition parties, stridently insist on it.
Besides, at the pay rates of government scientists, they should be generating a lot more research and spending less time fretting about whether they stroke their egos with a press interview. Do this research: number of papers per year published by a Canadian Defence Scientist @ $120K/yr versus an Assistant Professor at say University of Toronto, U Waterloo, or Memorial University (choose any Uni really, Assist profs are not making $120K/yr). It becomes apparent that having government do science is inefficient and expensive.
As for shutting down research areas: if industry or academia are doing research in an area, the government should rightfully ask why it should be involved as well. The Government shouldn't be participating in science, it should be encouraging industry and academia to pursue it. And it does although, sadly, here in Canada industry and academia don't really do research unless there's government money sent their way.