This week is Right to Know Week in Canada, intended to acknowledge and celebrate our freedom-of-information laws. Some 40 other countries have a Right to Know Day, but we Canadians get a whole week. And you know what? We need it.
Ironically, this celebration of open information comes on the back of new evidence of unacceptable political interference in the public statements of federal government researchers. In short, the information policies of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper are muzzling scientists in their dealings with the media.
"Deep Spill 2" sounds like a sequel to a Hollywood thriller.
Unfortunately, it is more of a reality show. "Deep Spill 2" is the name of an ambitious series of proposed scientific experiments that should be happening right now. Scientists from around the globe are ready, literally, to dive in to understand what is happening with the oil and gas that are spewing into the Gulf of Mexico with the force of a volcano.
There is one problem, though: BP won't let them.
The Belfast Telegraph in Northern Ireland has leaked news of monumental importance to humanity:
"An American biologist has stepped into the shoes of Baron Frankenstein by breathing life into a bacterium using genes assembled in the laboratory.
The creation of the 'synthetic cell', described as a 'landmark' by one British expert, is a 15-year dream come true for maverick genetics entrepreneur Dr. Craig Venter."
The politicians closing science libraries across the country claim it will save more than $400,000 every year. Official party line says all material from these facilities will be “digitized,” but no one seems willing to admit where the material is now, what resources will be used to undertake that process, and where the material will be stored.
Scientists, learners and activists are calling on us to remind the government that this plan is not acceptable by signing this petition.
Members of the public and the media are invited to join with eminent local researchers in a discussion of the serious crisis in science and research in Canada and what it means for Canadians.
Bob McDonald, Quirks & Quarks, CBC
Jim Wright, Director, Therapeutics Initiative
Siân Echard, English, UBC
Jane Watson, Biology, VIU
Gwenn Flowers, Earth Sciences, SFU
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/184851931718562/