Saskatchewan ban on public servant interviews

A public affairs spokesperson says Saskatchewan’s health department has imposed a total ban on anyone giving media interviews, on any topic, to any journalist anywhere, for the duration of the provincial election. When I called about a story, I was told that to have a routine bureaucratic question answered, I would have to call the minister himself. The ban will only end with the vote in November.

I ran into this brick wall while researching a national issue that is arguably in the public interest, but which is administrative and has little or nothing to do with provincial partisan politics. Calling across the country, it seemed reasonable to me to expect public servants in every province to be able to simply respond to questions that are not directly political. But in Saskatchewan, I was told, partisan politics currently prohibits public servants from serving the public by answering routine questions from journalists.

Has anyone else run across such a strict and total ban in an election?