Sunday, 15 July 2012

Scientists: They're not mad, they're angry.

Kady O'Malley's news story about the scientists' march and protest is here.

Slide show of inspiring placards and slogans
. Take note of the inflated planet earth with "scorch" zones, and the chart that explains climate change succinctly in 50 words or less to open minds. I met the scientists who brought these items to the march: they work at a local university, and this was the first political protest they attended.

As Mike Soron said here: It’s extraordinary and inspiring to see the research and scientific community speaking up in this way.

The march and protest was organized to coincide with this well-attended international and interdisciplinary scientific event, held at the Ottawa Congress Centre.
This will be the first time that these five societies have met together, creating a truly international event that spans the fields of ecology and evolution. The meeting will be the premier showcase in 2012 for the presentation and discussion among peers of the latest, leading-edge research in ecology and evolution, and will also be an important forum for outreach and education.
Over 2000 scientists, people working in support of scientific research and graduate students marched to Parliament Hill last Tuesday, bearing a coffin that held scientific evidence the CPC government wants to bury.

Meanwhile, the Harper Regime's decision to slash funding for Parks Canada programs and services but to generously endow one single site, has been trumpeted by none other than Tony *Cashmere* Clement. The tourist attraction is CONveniently located in his riding, of course.

Compare and contrast: the G20 Fake Lake and the Experimental Lakes Area project.
Located in Northwestern Ontario, the Experimental Lakes Area is a series of 58 lakes that have been the site of environmental research for over 40 years. The lakes have served as an invaluable natural laboratory where scientists have been able to study issues such as acid rain, climate change and farm fishing. Scientists at the ELA have been responsible for discoveries that have impacted freshwater systems across the globe.[...]

The loss of this vital facility will be a deep one for Canada. Not only will we lose our place on the world stage as leaders in freshwater ecology science, but we’ll lose our ability to predict how our freshwater will be affected by external factors such as pollution and fish farming — and thus, protect our own water supply.

The closure of the ELA research facility will not only impact the health of lakes and rivers, but for the health of Canadians, as our lakes are our direct source of drinking water.
And last, but not least ...
from virtually the moment the Conservatives took power, scientists in the employ of the government have not been permitted to speak freely to journalists, at least not without the con-sent of media relations officers. This approach, which has much in common with the way cults operate, effectively limits the dissemination, to the public, of the fruits of scientific endeavours. So too does the elimination of the National Science Advisor position, which the Conservatives axed in 2008.

In fact, government control over information, scientific and otherwise, has become so intense that Canada's freedom-of-information ranking has now fallen to 51st out of 89 countries scored by the Halifax-based Centre for Law and Democracy. That places us below such bastions of freedom as Angola, Colombia and Niger.

Yet as totalitarian governments have always learned, evidence has a way of getting out. And when uncomfortable evidence rears its head, the Conservatives have been right there, ready to twist it off. Consider for example, the 2008 Health Canada report on chrysotile asbestos.

After trying, and ultimately failing, to hide the report, Industry Minister Christian Paradis falsely claimed that panel members disagreed about the safe use of chrysotile - a move that prompted the panel's chair to speak out about the "gross misuse and misinterpretation" of the report.

Similarly, after 130 physicians and scientists accused former Health Minister Tony Clement of misrepresenting and suppressing the scientific findings on Vancouver's supervised injection site, Clement proceeded to, well, misrepresent and suppress the findings.

Indeed, Clement convened his own hand-picked panel of experts to assess the site's value, and after the expert panel's report was submitted, two members of the panel lamented that Clement misrepresented their findings. And if that weren't enough, Clement then tried to pass off a poorly writ-ten opinion piece about the site as the equivalent of two dozen published studies - a clear indication of the value Clement places on science.
Source of illustration.


CanNurse said...

Bravo for this, DeBeauxOs! Well said! Sharing...

Beijing York said...

They have been anti-science from the get go. But the omnibus bill that ushered in these latest cuts truly exposed their hatred for environmental science. The only science they will accept, as in how the retooled the NRC, is the science of commercial innovation. Good luck with that! Commercial innovation is built on the foundation of pure sciences that provide new information critical for applied sciences to flourish. What a sorry mess Canada has become :-(

Post a Comment