Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:22AM
Tony Turner (front) is seen in the video for Harperman.
Tony Turner (front) is seen in the video for Harperman.

A Canadian scientist has been put on leave because he wrote and sang a protest song about the country’s premier, Stephen Harper.

Tony Turner, a scientist in habitat planning at Canada’s department of the environment and an expert on migratory birds, has landed in hot water with his employer -- the federal government -- because of his politically-motivated sing-along released on YouTube early in June.

Turner, a public servant, was sent home on Friday and is being investigated for breaching the conflict-of-interest provisions of the public service values and ethics code in writing and performing Harperman, the folk song that accuses Prime Minister Harper of a litany of misdeeds and urges him to “get out of town.”

The song accuses Harper of muzzling scientists and suppressing freedom of the press, and calls for an end to his tenure as the premier. Turner also criticized his policy, saying Harper “squashes all dissent” and “wants the courts to just say yes.”

“Who controls our parliament? Harperman, Harperman. Who squashes all dissent? Harperman, Harperman,” the Harperman song goes on with an accompanying choir.

There are also opposition to the suspension of Turner and the investigation he is currently going through.

“Can’t we make jokes or say anything? Are we all muzzled? This is the politics of fear. I am an activist and singer but mostly I am a citizen and I care about democracy and freedom of speech,” said Diane McIntyre, who sang one of the verses in the video.

Turner has been an Ottawa-area musician since 1994, when he joined Writers’ Bloc, an Ottawa songwriters’ collective.