November 9, 2015 12:31 pm
Updated: November 10, 2015 9:23 pm

Facebook post from ‘unmuzzled’ federal scientist goes viral

WATCH ABOVE: A Facebook post from the mother of a British Columbian biologist who works for the government has gone viral. Global's Erika Tucker talks to a Calgary author about the significance of the new policy at the heart of the post.


A Facebook post from the mother of B.C. biologist with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has gone viral and offers more details about the changes in the control of information or “unmuzzling” of federal scientists announced by the Trudeau government last week.

Jody Paterson shared the “spirit-lifting” Facebook message from her son on Friday. Since then, it’s been shared more than 9,000 times.

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READ MORE: Scientists hopeful about Liberal ‘unmuzzling,’ but warn could take time

“It is official. At an all staff meeting today with some of the best scientists in the world, certainly the ones who know our coast better than anyone (and I am lucky enough to work for some of them), we were told that it’s ok to talk to the media or anyone about what we do without permission. That’s how surreal it was. That’s how things changed [overnight],” the post read.

Paterson, a former journalist in B.C. who lives in Nicaragua, says she has been shocked by the response and blogged about the experience of going viral over the weekend.


“His post made me feel warm and fuzzy, so I shared it thinking that my own Facebook friends would like a chance to feel warm and fuzzy, too. And then everything went crazy,” Paterson wrote.

“I knew something very strange was going on when, within the first hour of posting it, it had been shared 400 times. The left bottom corner of my screen was flickering and flickering with one notification after another of the post being shared and liked,” she wrote.

The former Conservative government had faced heavy criticism for a policy which made it difficult for scientists to speak with the media.

READ MORE: What scientists being ‘muzzled’ looks like in the real world

Navdeep Bains, the minister for innovation, science and economic development, said Friday the Liberal government values science, and pledges to treat scientists with respect and would be reversing the so-called “muzzling” policy.

“That is why government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public,” Bains said.

“We are working to make government science fully available to the public and will ensure that scientific analyses are considered in decision making.”

Paterson has written also sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to tell him about her son and thank him for reversing the communication policy of the Harper government.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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