Monday, September 20, 2010

Are Canadian Scientists Being Robbed of their Capacity to Think?

There is an excellent letter to the editor in response to the story that the Harper government was now censoring Canadian scientists who work for us. The Canadian public.
"... the work of these federal scientists is publicly funded. Where is the right of the public to know the results of scientific investigations being carried out on their behalf and with their funds? Perhaps more importantly, no credible scientist will submit for very long to having his or her research results censored by government.

The consequence will be that the best of them find positions elsewhere, either in Canada or abroad, where they can freely report the results of their work.
But there is also another risk. If our scientists are being censored, will their findings be lost? Will they be more cautious in their research, for fear that it will contradict the ideology of Stephen Harper? Or contradict the Old Testament?

Harper's Science Minister doesn't believe in evolution. How can you remove evolution from any scientific research, when it is the basis?

British scientist Jacob Bronowski once said: "Dissent is the native activity of the scientist, and it has got him into a good deal of trouble in the last years. But if that is cut off, what is left will not be a scientist."

If this community is to be silenced, what will be left? Not scientific discovery, but a science based on "proving" dogma.

But then it's not just the challenge of religious dogma that has this government's shorts in a twist, but fear that scientists will continue to dispute Harper's claims that global warming is a myth.
[John] Stone, who retired in 2005 after spending the last 15 years of his public service career working on climate and atmospheric sciences, sees a disturbing trend.

"What bothers me with what I see now in the federal government is what I saw when George W. Bush was in the White House in the U.S., where scientists were silenced and silent," he said, noting his work put him in direct contact with his American counterparts on climate-change science. "My view is that any working democracy needs to have an established and healthy scientific establishment that can freely speak and contribute to public debate."
In an attempt to avoid embarrassment for the minister:
In today's Ottawa, even a study on the break-up of a massive Ice Age dam 13,000 years ago apparently has "implications for the minister." The Canadian co-author of the study didn't get his government media lines cleared for a full week last April, by which point the study had already been released and his international co-authors interviewed.

John Drummond, the Canada Research Chair in Remote Sounding of the Environment at Dalhousie University, said there's a very real issue of information timeliness — something the government communications policy recognizes when it stresses "the capacity to respond effectively ... in a 24-hour, global communications environment." "If you push this to the limit, is the weather forecast a matter for government approval before it can be published?," said Drummond.

"Because if you don't publish the weather forecast on time, it ain't much use." "There is a line and I think it's being pushed considerably to the side where information flow is being impeded," said the scientist. "That's not doing us any good."
I think today's Ottawa is a very frightening place now.


  1. This trend began before Harper arrived, in agriculture GMO cereals where covered up, hormones and anti-biotics in farm animals were also mis-represented. Harper simply has a bigger and more more aggressive silencer.

  2. You're right. Cover-up is legendary. But I think with Harper it's different. He wants to silence anyone who might dispute his ideology.