Research cutbacks by government alarm scientists

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Scientists across the country are expressing growing alarm that federal cutbacks to research programs monitoring areas that range from climate change and ocean habitats to public health will deprive Canadians of crucial information.

“What’s important is the scale of the assault on knowledge, and on our ability to know about ourselves and to advance our understanding of our world,” said James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

In the past five years the federal government has dismissed more than 2,000 scientists, and hundreds of programs and world-renowned research facilities have lost their funding. Programs that monitored things such as smoke stack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change have been drastically cut or shut down.  

This week, scientists went public with concerns that irreplaceable science could be lost when Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) libraries are closed. DFO plans to shut down seven of its 11 libraries by 2015. Already, stories have emerged about books and reports thrown into dumpsters and the general public being allowed to rummage through bookshelves.

The government responded that the information will not disappear. On Monday, DFO told CBC News that “all of its copyrighted material has been digitized and that the rest of its collection will be soon.”

Written By: Julia Sisler
continue to source article at cbc.ca

9 COMMENTS

  1. ” The fifth estate requested interviews with two senior bureaucrats and four cabinet ministers with responsibility for resources, the environment and science. All of those requests were denied. “

    What the hell is going on up there?

    How did the Canadian government get such power? Is the populace on board with the government cutbacks?

  2. I’m from Ajax, Ontario just outside Toronto. I don’t want to get too political here, but let me say a few things about Canadian politics as of late. It’s madness up here, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better any time soon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper exercises remarkably tight control over pretty much everything around here. Media, money, resources, foreign policy. But first..

    The Liberal party recently held a leadership race that looked more like a coronation. In the running were a field of able candidates that included in particular Justin Trudeau, son of the late PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and Marc Garneau – a freaking ASTRONAUT who’s been to the ISS. They had a chance to put a real honest-to-goodness scientist in charge, and instead they handed the reins to Trudeau based on nothing more than namesake, good looks and popularity. Fashion over science, youth over wisdom, beauty over brains, plain and simple. Complete disappointment, totally blew a most tremendous opportunity. Garneau is thoughtful, engaging, intelligent … and he’s been to space and has literally seen the whole damn country all at once! Unfortunately he’s got no chin and is kinda boring…Nah, let’s go for pretty boy instead. Sorry, but they won’t be getting my vote in 2015. Chumps.

    A little further left, they had a wonderful grassroots leader named Jack Layton who really moved the people and who finally brought the third-rate New Democratic Party some real power as the Loyal Opposition in the last election, but he unfortunately succumbed to cancer shortly thereafter. They now have a new party leader Thomas Mulcair who is doing a decent job of constantly attacking our current conservative PM but is otherwise a little lackluster.

    Before I go on a rant here, let me say that I have some conservative as well as liberal leanings, I have voted both conservative and liberal in the past, depending on the leader and the issues, so I, like most level-headed Canadians I know, consider myself centrist more than anything. I don’t really care what party is in charge, as long as they are taking care of things responsibly and with the well-being of Canada in mind.

    But Stephen Harper is a megalomaniac who’s completely out of control. He ran on a platform of accountability but has been BY FAR the most secretive PM in living memory. The letterhead no longer even reads Government of Canada, it is now the Harper Government. Yeah, he’s North Korea kinda nuts. He has muzzled scientists from talking to the media and cut their funding and ignores their findings when it doesn’t suit his agenda, he has changed the census from a mandatory to a voluntary process ignoring time-tested statistical gathering techniques, he’s increased prison funding based on so-called “unreported crime” numbers, is in the process of shuttering more than half of our fisheries libraries, has killed decades-long research projects on pristine lakes and isolated ecosystems, ignored treaties with aboriginal leaders and pretty much handed all tar sands development to foreign oil companies to rape and destroy millions of hectares of land, omnibus bills, mandatory minimum sentences … I could go on and on. He’s on a total rampage. Never mind the usual money scandals that come up in every government, this guy is on a personal mission. Before his election he said “You won’t recognize Canada when I get through with it” and that’s one campaign promise he is keeping.

    Worse, there aren’t any viable alternatives, NDP lost it’s knight in shining armour and Trudeau is in his early 40′s and has all the political experience of a high school drama teacher (unfortunately, this is not a joke). They won’t beat him, at best they’ll draw him down from his current majority to a minority gov’t. But he started in that position, and he ran things like he owned the place then, now that he does own the place he’s shuttered the windows and has setup command, anyone in his caucus who doesn’t toe the line is out. He’s so bad even conservative Members of Parliament are introducing private bills to give MPs more independance from party lines and more accountablity to their constituents. They have to ask parliamentary permission to do the job they were elected to do, and they’re not getting it. Heck, I’d even be willing to entertain a conservative vote, if only they’d get rid of the Supreme Leader and put someone a little more level-headed in charge. (Fiscally, the Cons have a stern little leprechaun named Flaherty as the finance minister, local boy, I think he’s alright, he’s keeping the banks in line; and our Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney just got snatched up by the Brits, so we’re doing OK on the money front.)

    We have other small-time parties, notably the Green Party which features an environmental agenda, to whom I will probably cast my next vote, if only to give the underdog a bit of a leg up. (Personally I wish we had a similar but different Purple Party that ran on a purely scientific platform, not exclusively ecological.) I really think the Libs could have had a shot with Garneau in charge, woulda been a personal dream come true – someone who actually uses science and statistics to make decisions, what a novel idea. But that ship has sailed, and I see only dark clouds on the horizon for a long time to come. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. That’s my two cents, I’ve tried to be as objective as I could. I’m sure other Canadians around here might see things differently.

    • In reply to #3 by KrustyG:

      I’m from Ajax, Ontario just outside Toronto. I don’t want to get too political here, but let me say a few things about Canadian politics as of late. It’s madness up here, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better any time soon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper exercises remarkably tight…

      I’m from the Windsor, Ontario area and I couldn’t agree more with this. So sad to see scientific research in this country being stripped to the bone. It is exactly scientific research that moves civilization forward. But remember, Harper is a Christan Evangelist who maintains the world is only 6000 years old. ‘nuf said.

    • In reply to #3 by KrustyG:

      I’m from Ajax, Ontario just outside Toronto. I don’t want to get too political here, but let me say a few things about Canadian politics as of late. It’s madness up here, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better any time soon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper exercises remarkably tight…

      The Liberal party recently held a leadership race that looked more like a coronation. In the running were a field of able candidates that included in particular Justin Trudeau, son of the late PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and Marc Garneau – a freaking ASTRONAUT who’s been to the ISS.

      Hi KrustyG,

      I’m from Montreal and I agree with pretty much everything you said about the current situation of Canadian politics. A few things I’d like to add…

      Marc Garneau is not only a “freaking astronaut”, he’s THE first Canadian to go into outer space. He’s our Alan Shepard, our Yuri Gagarine. Also, you may remember back in May 2013, the Canadarm used on the space shuttle Endeavour was obtained from NASA to be used as an exhibit at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Garneau (who is a liberal MP) should have been there but was not invited for the unveiling of the exhibit. Nasty small minded partisan politics from a PM who says he values Canadian heritage : bullshit!

      I really hate Harper but unfortunately, the Liberal party is clueless to have chosen Justin Trudeau who by the way does little more than garner amused skepticism from the Quebec population (which sabotages the whole point in the choice of a Liberal federal candidate – getting the Quebec vote). Once again the Liberals have shot themselves in the foot. They may yet garner the vote in Quebec for pretty boy Justin but in the event he is elected, he’d be a pathetic alternative to Big Brother Harper who sadly, is the Canadian George Bush.

      Just who do they really suppose that they are

      And how did they manage to travel this far

      As they seem to have come

      Were we really that dumb?

      Frank Zappa – “When The Lie’s so Big”

  3. The current economic squeeze can give governments which both doubt or are openly hostile to global climate change the opportunity to say they cannot afford to make any sacrifices to save mankind when of course we know they do not give a fuck.

    • In reply to #4 by Miserablegit:

      The current economic squeeze can give governments which both doubt or are openly hostile to global climate change the opportunity to say they cannot afford to make any sacrifices to save mankind when of course we know they do not give a fuck.

      The stupid Cameron UK government has just discovered that their cuts to the Environment Agency is going to reduce the expert staff who plan for, and deal with the floods which are affecting much of the country at present. They are trotting out the usual “No front-line staff will be affected”! – So don’t be surprised in future, if emergency crews are running around trying to cope with the absence of plans or preventative measures, as more vulnerable developments continue in the wrong places, – while right wing nuts deny climate change and subsidise oil and gas exploration, instead of the low-carbon alternatives.

      • In reply to #5 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #4 by Miserablegit:

        The current economic squeeze can give governments which both doubt or are openly hostile to global climate change the opportunity to say they cannot afford to make any sacrifices to save mankind when of course we know they do not give a fuck.

        The stupid Cameron UK g…

        David Cameron recently said “get rid of the green crap!” This is the individual who during the election said “Vote blue and get green.”

        He also arranged to have himself filmed riding to “work” on a bike….in front of a chauffeur driven limo which was carrying his brief case and umbrella; note, he was a Government publicity and PR wonk before becoming a politician.

        It insults the intelligence!

        S G

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