In the face of Trump's administration's repression of scientists, a Canadian scientist, Wendy Palen, associate professor of biology at Simon Fraser University, offers advice to her beleagured American coleagues,
Just as the American science community is now struggling with whether to speak out and march or stay quiet and do its work, Canadian scientists wrestled with the same questions. Ultimately, Canada’s scientific community came together to save our research, galvanized support to fight back, and captured the attention and concern of the public. I hope our experience — in the spirit of science transcending borders — can be instructive.
Apparently, scientists in Canada underwent similar persecutions under Stephen Harper's ministry what with ministerial censoring of federal scientists' free speech, ministerial "minders" present at scientists' interviews and conferences, "the government would simply deny permission for a scientist to speak with reporters if that person’s findings ran counter to Mr. Harper’s political agenda," she writes.
Research libraries were closed, and data and reports were destroyed.
The straw that broke the camel's back was when the Harper ministry passed a bill that eliminated and curtailed Canadian protection laws.
Fearing the continued erosion of even the most basic protections for food inspection, water quality and human health, Canadian scientists filled Ottawa’s streets in the Death of Evidence march. That theatrical mock funeral procession became something of a cultural touchstone. It was a turning point that galvanized public opinion against Prime Minister Harper’s antiscience agenda. By the next election, Justin Trudeau’s center left government swept in on a platform that put scientists’ right to speak and the promise of evidence based decisions alongside job creation and economic growth.
So here’s our advice as the Trump administration gears up. Spotlight and champion scientists’ refusal to kowtow to intimidation. I’m encouraged by what has already emerged: When Mr. Trump’s transition team circulated a questionnaire intended to identify staff members who had worked on climate change policies under President Obama, Department of Energy employees refused to release their names. When National Park Service employees were prevented from sharing information on social media, they created alternative Twitter accounts overnight and tweeted the truth about climate change and pollution from dusk to dawn.