OTTAWA – The federal information commissioner is being asked to investigate the suppression of scientific information by the Harper government.
The request from the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and the ethics watchdog group Democracy Watch is based on the legal requirements of the federal Access to Information Act.
They argue that the law’s stated principle is to ensure government information is available to the public and that any restrictions be limited and specific.
The Conservative government has brought in a sweeping communications policy under which federal scientists must get permission before speaking publicly about their work — permission that is often denied, delayed or limited to approved talking points.
Calvin Sandborn, legal director of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, says citizens in a democracy can’t make informed choices when taxpayer-funded information is being withheld.
A spokeswoman with the information commissioner’s office says the complaint has been received and that a preliminary examination will take place to see if a full investigation is warranted.