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Background to the protest: Canada's PM Stephen Harper faces revolt by scientists
Death of scientific evidence mourned on Parliament Hill
[url=http://www.deathofevidence.ca/announcement]Death of Evidence Announcement[/url]
Science in Canada is under attack. It's clear that the Harper government does not value science or evidence and is systematically trying to reduce the flow of scientific information to Canadians. We have seen this through the cuts to federal science programs, changes to legislation in Bill C-38, and the muzzling of government scientists. Good government policies and programs depend on sound evidence and our democracy depends on an informed public that knows the facts. Science and evidence are essential so that we can make informed decisions that ensure the best possible future for our country.
No. 11 Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Scientists rally on Parliament Hill to mourn 'death of evidence'
Examples of decisions that have sparked concern for scientists include:
Long-form census In 2010, the government moved to cut the mandatory long-form census, while retaining the voluntary long-form census.
Departmental cuts Budget cuts have hit research at Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Library and Archives Canada, the National Research Council Canada, Statistics Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Experimental Lakes Area The government is closing the Experimental Lakes Area, a world-renowned research facility in northwestern Ontario. (Gibbs says studies done there came to conclusions that differred from research done in labs. "On acid rain, they found that the acidity was toxic to fish at a much lower level than had been found in the laboratory studies and that did end up influencing the policy decisions.")
PEARL The government ended its funding that supported the Polar Environmental Atmospheric Research Laboratory in Eureka, Nunavut.
Organizers of today's rally also see a strategy on the part of Prime Minister Harper "to impede the bringing forward of scientific evidence into the public debate."
Examples they cite include:
The 2008 decision to not renew the national science adviser.
Limiting access to federal government scientists, which some have called "muzzling" and which has drawn international attention
Ending the National Roundtable on the Environment.
Gibbs and Findlay acknowledge the dire tone around today's rally, with its title, Death of Evidence, and the image of a Grim Reaper. But Gibbs argues that the sentiment is fitting. "Unfortunately, things are that bad that a Grim Reaper is an appropriate sort of mascot for this rally."
But she wants there to be room for some optimism, too. "You still have to leave some hope that if the public gets engaged and gets informed, that we can turn this around."
Yes, I consider myself somewhat informed and will be engaging the fuckers from now to 2015.
Well since Calgary is th real seat of power in Canada in 2012, a bunch of pocket protecting nerds protesting in Ottawa will hardly help. If you want to effect a change in this government, ya gotta pray!
Harper government’s assault on reason, scientists, ‘Orwellian’ and ‘alarming,’ warns pollster
In a lecture titled, “1984 in 2012: The Assault on Reason,” Mr. Gregg said he first became concerned when the government cancelled the mandatory long-form census, of which he, as a pollster, was a long-time user, calling its explanation about the need to protect privacy, “creepy” and unfounded.
Followed by the cancellation of the long-gun registry, even though its data was consulted regularly by nearly every police force, and the “massive penitentiary construction spree,” in spite of a “mountain of evidence” that crime was on the decline, Mr. Gregg said he started to see the cancellation of the census as a “canary in the mineshaft.”
But Mr. Gregg said it was the nature of the cuts rolled out in the omnibus 2012 post-stimulus budget—half the staff at Statistics Canada receiving redundancy notices; along with 20 per cent of the workforce at Library and Archives Canada; and 70 per cent of the scientists at Parks Canada; the cancellation of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy; the Experimental Lakes Area project; the National Council on Welfare and the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science amongst others; plus the massive changes to the Fisheries Act and Environmental Assessment regulations—that really confirmed this “Orwellian” and “alarming” pattern for him.
“This was no random act of downsizing, but a deliberate attempt to obliterate certain activities that were previously viewed as a legitimate part of government decision-making—namely, using research, science and evidence as the bases of policy formation,” Mr. Gregg charged.
“It also amounted to an attempt to eliminate anyone who might use science, facts, and evidence to challenge government policies,” he added.
In another “Orwellian parallel,” Mr. Gregg observed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) government has twinned its “abandonment of reason … not simply with unthinking orthodoxy, but also … the willful dissemination of misinformation.”