SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Hundreds of researchers have lost their jobs, with those remaining reportedly forbidden from talking to the media without a government minder.
The government says the cuts are part of a wider, deficit-reducing austerity programme.
But green groups instead accuse Harper of trying to stifle criticism of Canada's development of its oil sands fields in Alberta which hold huge reserves.
On Friday, Canada gave the go-ahead for a $15.1bn takeover by Chinese state-owned oil firm, CNOOC, of Canadian company Nexen to develop the fields.
Environmentalists say it is this desire to extract the oil from the tar sands that is driving Canadian government policy.
In recent years, Harper has weakened green regulations and pulled Canada from the Kyoto Protocol, the global treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental groups say the government has stepped up its attack on climate scientists in recent months, as seen by some of the measures taken so far:
- The elimination of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a body that for years urged the government to take more action on climate change
- Slashing funding for more than a dozen research stations that monitor greenhouse gas and other pollutants
- The non-profit Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences lost all its government funding since Harper took office in 2006; several other climate study bodies also suffered budget cuts
- Nature magazine reported that 12,000 government jobs, including thousands of scientists, will be affected by the latest cuts
Last week, the Climate Action Network, a leading environmental group, ranked Canada as the worst performer in the developed world when it comes to climate change policies, coming in at 58th out of 61 countries measured.
It led Greenpeace to describe Canada as "the poster child of climate inaction".
Inside Story Americas asks: How bad is Canada when it comes to climate change? Is Harper's government recklessly fixated on developing its Alberta oil sands?
To discuss this with presenter Kimberly Halkett are guests: Danielle Droitsch, the director of the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council; and PJ Partington, a policy analyst from the climate change programme at the Pembina Institute.
Several pro-government and business groups, including the Canadian environment minister's office, declined Al Jazeera's invitation to join the panel discussion.